Last month, Singaporean students from the Nanyang Technological University installed a solar panel system at the Ban Hua Hin Primary School in Laos’ Nga district.
The team of 22 students from the university’s environmental club Earthlink NTU spent two weeks working to install the system including lights and fans. The system is now capable of producing enough energy to light up three classrooms, benefitting 72 students and 78 households who use the school as their community centre. The school previously did not have electricity and depended on the availability of daylight to conduct lessons and other activities. The team also conducted English lessons and environmental awareness programmes for the villagers.
The systems were handed over to the villagers on 26 June 2015 at a ceremony officiated by Ban Hua Hin village chief Mr Bounluiey Xaiyanivong and NTU Director of Students, Associate Professor Lok Tat Seng. Mr Bounluiey Xaiyanivong lauded the project, saying that the students would now have more time to study and villagers would be able to use the school after classes for meetings.
Maybank is the main sponsor of the project, through its eMpowering Youths programme that aims to empower youths to help reduce poverty in ASEAN communities. The project was coordinated by the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) of Singapore.
This is the third year that Earthlink NTU has returned to Laos to conduct school electrification and education projects. This year, they also revisited previously installed solar panel systems to conduct maintenance work. Each year, about 1,000 Singaporeans visit the Lao PDR for community service projects.