Somsamay Secondary School in Xaythany district, Vientiane, now has new classrooms for an additional 100 students so they can enjoy a better learning environment.
The handover of the new school building and furniture took place in the community on November 4 in the presence of Australian Ambassador to Laos John Williams, local authorities and other guests.
The 330 million kip (US$40,903) project was funded by the Australian Embassy’s small grants programme (DAP – Direct Aid Programme) and WIG’s long-running programme to build and repair schools across Laos. The school community, including parents and other villagers, helped to build the new facilities.
Speaking at the handover ceremony, Ambassador Williams said the project was in keeping with Australia’s aid priority in Laos, to improve education outcomes for all Lao children.
“We want all Lao children to get the education they need to achieve their full potential,” Mr Williams said. “In our view, there is no more important issue in Laos’ socio-economic development. It’s not just about the quality of teaching they receive. The environment in which children are learning matters too.”
The construction of a new school building was needed to keep pace with the growing population in neighbouring villages. More than 100 new students have enrolled at Somsamay Secondary School this year thanks to the additional space and new facilities.
Ambassador Williams praised WIG’s ongoing support for poor communities across Laos, and noted the long history of collaboration between the Australian Embassy and WIG in fundraising and aid delivery.
Australia’s DAP is a flexible scheme to fund quality small-scale projects that will deliver “practical and tangible” benefits for poor communities in Laos.
In 2015, Australia funded 19 projects in eight provinces from the 200 DAP proposals received. The projects ranged from sustainable water supply for remote villages in Oudomxay, national awareness campaigns to promote road safety and combat violence against women, and support for hygiene education and mobile libraries in northern Laos.
Last year, Australia’s small grants scheme helped refurbish school buildings and dormitories in Luang Namtha, Xieng Khuang, Vientiane and Luang Prabang, and upgraded health facilities and equipment in Savannakhet and Vientiane provinces.
The DAP also supported a $A20,000 renovation of facilities at the Vientiane Autism Centre to help provide better quality services, education, therapy and specialists to a greater number of children who live with autism in Laos.
The Vientiane Youth Centre for Health and Development, Foundation for Assisting Poor People in the Lao PDR and the Health Centre in Thapene village in Luang Prabang all received DAP funding to purchase new medical equipment.
Source: Vientiane Times