Why we are Helping and how YOU can get involved

The remote villages of Laos have never recovered from the 'Secret' war of the 1960's. While rich in culture and tradition, their education, healthcare and hygiene conditions are severely lacking. The average lifespan is only 56 years and average age is only 20.8, caused by poor quality water, poor hygiene and general poverty. BUT with your help we have already made a difference in the lives of over 2700 villagers.

We have built schools in the villages of Pha Yong and Had Chanh, and a 3rd school located in Done Lom is under construction. We have also distributed over 200 water filters systems and completed hygiene training for three entire villages. Each family is required to take this course before a filter is provided, in order to promote a longer, healthier and happier life. A new water source including a dam, water tank and taps has been completed, as has our first bank of hygienic toilets.

It doesn't stop there. We have requests for 34 new projects and with your help, will do what we can to support as many requests as possible.

You can help in so many different ways. Before you do though, note that less than 5% will go to direct overhead costs, contrary to many NGO's who's overheads can reach 80%. Sponsors for every project will receive emailed pictures and details of how the money was spent.

Here are some examples of how you can help with your financial contribution.

- $55 buys a water purification filter for a family of 8.
It will also include your name on the water filter and a picture forwarded to you with the family and the filter unit.
- $12,500 US buys a school for grades 1, 2 and 3. Perhaps you would like to sponsor or assist us to sponsor a school.
- $4,000 US (approx) buys school tables and desks for a three room school and a two-room kindergarten.
- $700 US (approx) pays for a teacher for one year
- $50 US buys education for one child for one year including school fees, 2 uniforms, shoes, backpack and school supplies.
hygienic washroom facilities rane depending on the number of stalls and start at about $3000, but are critical to prevent more disease.

If you would like to become involved and to help the people of rural Laos help themselves lead a more fulfilling life, please email us at AdoptaVillageinLaos@gmail.com. Official Tax Receipts are not yet possible although we hope to receive charitable status this summer. Meanwhile we would still love to hear of your interest.

Please help............we cannot do this alone....

Meanwhile, please enjoy our updates below.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Huephen Village - Fresh, Clean Water!

My last tour of duty in Laos was to distribute water filters to Huephen Village, located about 1 hour north of Luang Prabang. The villagers has showed me their three water sources and all had completely dried up except for one that was only about 6" deep and perhaps 1 square meter - this one was drying up very quickly too. After a study and lots of fundraising we were able to raise the funds to go ahead with the project. Meanwhile, a number of families were forced to move in search of water.

I am pleased to announce that they now how water flowing into their tapheads. This project is not quite complete because we are still waiting for the concrete on the storage tank to dry but we have completed the dam, several km's of pipe, and 5 tapheads. The pipe has been temporarily diverted around the water tank but the project should be complete in a week.
Above: The Dam (about an hour trek each way from the village)

Above: The Water Tank

Above: The smiles!

We spent considerable time going over the basics of hygiene plus how to maintain the water filters and then distributed one to every family.
Thanks to all of our amazing sponsors who allowed this to move forward. Without you, who knows what would have happened to the villagers - perhaps a ghost town? As mentioned, this was my last planned task for the trip, although I did venture down to the Capital city of Vientiane to see what they had there in terms of products and services. It certainly isn't Bangkok but it has a beautiful riverfront park that opened a few months ago plus some sightseeing and more selection for shopping.

Final Distribution of Water Filters for the Season

My Last week in Laos was indeed an interesting one and it was a strong reminder of why I was there in the first place, not that I ever forgot of course. Most of my work is generally drudge work requiring lots of planning, organizing, purchasing, banking, accounting, fact gathering, proposals and many, many other things that tend to fill up my days. BUT it is moments like these, I cherish and many of you will too. First up was during my last visit to Pha Yong Village. I had not been there in about a month and I knew the chief had been trying to get a letter of request down to me in Luang Prabang for 24 rolls of barbed wire to be able to build a fence around the school and field and keep the water buffalo and pigs out of the school yard. Mike and I were happy to sponsor this and so I arranged for the delivery. Once I returned to the village I was so pleasantly surprised to see that the fence was up already - it was a bg school yard and they had done it the day before. As the chief explained, each villager was also required to supply one wooden post and two bamboo poles. When asked how long it took them to build the fence and gates, his response was that it took just over two hours! Whoa....try THAT in Canada - we would probably get three quotes, haggle over the price and complain that it was taking too long! It was a last minute thought to take pictures of the fence as we were riding away so this is just a small piece of it. Next up was a water filter distribution. I had been told earlier that a number of families had moved out of Ban Huephen in search of water for their families. It had been in our plans to provide a new water source for them but more about that later. I had extra filters and was determined to distribute them before I left. I had visited a 1300 student high school that was bursting at the seams in terms of classroom sizes and the structure itself due to termite damage. In one of my much earlier blog entries I included some pictures of this wooden high school. Just two weeks before I had visited the location with a potential sponsor to satisfy a request to complete a two room addition (separate building) to the school and noticed some serious degradation to the support beams of the school, to the point where one of the beams had already shifted sice I had been there the previous time. I couldn't bear it so I personally paid for and ordered new massive support beams that had to be hand made and told them to use any extra money from that to put towards a cement floor in the new addition. On this trip I was there to teach about proper hygiene to the students and teachers and to disribute some of the extra water filters. Somnuek Bounsa (the general manager of Le Belair Hotel) delivered them with me in his truck and we were both shocked when we arrived. As soon as our truck stopped on the grounds, we heard the school bell ringing (actually it was the rim of an old truck tire) and the kids running and lining up both sides of a pathway leading from our truck. It took us a minute to realize they had something planned for us. All the students and teachers lined up both sides of us that led right up to one of the new rooms and they were clapping in unison for us. Inside the large room, bacci had been prepared for us. All the teachers, all the graduating students and select students from other grades had been invited to attend and each student was asked to prepare a question for me. After bacci, I was asked all sorts of questions about Canada, about me and one of the teachers asked my age and if I was married - of course the entire room knew that she was looking for a husband and erupted in laughter. Her face went various shades of red. Here are some highlites; One of the questions asked during the question and answer period was if we provide support for university and within an hour these four boys had already neatly written CV's and letters of request to us. This is just the first stage. I now have to give them more details on the rules and subsequent competition. We gave out 6 water filters to this school. After we left the high school we went to a secondary school and dormitory to deliver more filters. We were met with lots of enthusiasm here as well. I will be back with more water filters for this dormatory. There is no water there at all - the kids have to go down to the river to bathe. Although, there is a new trench that has been dug and we are told that the school should be getting water soon. We delivered the last two water filters to the derelict hospital I included in two of my earlier blog entries. They have to bring water in since there is none on the premises but at least the water can be used for drinking water with the help of two new filters. Their request for a well and new latrines is being considered as an Adopt A Village In Laos for next year. You will notice one of the patients lying in bed in the background. They actually had four patients at the time in a 10 bed hospital. I wonder what happens during their busy season.