Working with Baraka Community Partnerships we have been involved in Laotian projects since 2012. Baraka work in the northern province of Luang Prabang where despite growing numbers of tourists and increased Chinese influence, rural communities are still stuck in a poverty trap and have great challenges accessing basic necessities such as healthcare, clean water, sanitation and education. We have been working with Baraka to address the imbalance in a couple of villages
Biggest achievement to date
Nong Kham School
In 2012 we funded a new school at the village of Nong Kham situated in a remote area on the banks of the Ou river. Exodus clients from our volunteer trip spent a couple of days working alongside the villagers to help speed along the building process and their manual labour certainly helped motivate the villagers if not entertain them. The school funded entirely by Exodus, our clients and Baraka Community Partnerships, is a two-classroom structure with a separate toilet block that will house about 40 children.
Vang Lei Village
In this village, again on the banks of the Ou river, we helped to install a new water system with over 10km of pipes, ensuring all year round clean drinking water for the villages 75 families. The system was funded by Baraka and Exodus and once again our clients got their hands dirty on our volunteer trip in November 2014 to put the finishing touches to the system.
This was a three year plan and the next phase saw the provision of a classroom for the woefully underequipped pre school. The locals had nicknamed the existing structure “the chicken coop” for obvious reasons! The new classroom was partially sponsored by the fundraising efforts of Exodus’ marketing director Jae, who climbed Kilimanjaro in August 2015. The children now have a brand new, safe school building where they can play and study in peace and safety. Also included is a toilet facility with running water that will improve hygiene. The school anticipates the new classroom will result in increased attendance.
Finally, the third and final stage to be completed was the building of toilet blocks throughout the village. This simple but important measure has already made a huge difference. The villagers have gone from very few communal toilets, barely sufficient for 70 people, let alone the 70 families they were supposed to support, to having a newly completed toilet block for every household in the village. The sanitation benefits should help reduce disease and illness. For the women and girls especially the toilets represent an improvement in safety levels, and the whole community will benefit from the installation of this basic human right.
What’s made this project so successful has been the involvement of the villagers. Motivated and galvanised by the opportunities, they have been truly engaged and enthusiastic throughout, as borne out by the fact much of the labour intensive process for laying the seven kilometre water pipe was undertaken by volunteers from the community. It is because of their attitude this project has been so successful.
How You Can Help
If you are on one of our Laos trips you can visit the Luang Prabang library in the centre of town and buy some books (approx. $3.00 each) that will be distributed by Baraka’s local partners Community Learning International. Please let them know you are with Exodus.
You can also make a day trip to Vang Lei and check out our work here and meet the villagers, have a village meal and visit the school. Let us know before you travel if you are interested and/or talk to your Tour Leader on the trip.
Any extra funds will make a huge difference to help us reach our next goal of building a new class room for the school at Vang Lei. Any money you donate will be match funded by our charity partner Baraka Community Partnerships, essentially doubling your donation.