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Dorms help youth in Laos continue their studies

Chanda (second from the right) sitting in the new dorm with her friends
Chanda (second from the right) sitting in the new dorm with her friends
February 6, 2012

Plan Laos has built 6 dormitories in northwestern Laos to help boys and girls continue their education after primary school, even though their homes are far away from the nearest secondary schools.

Many students discontinue their studies because they have no reliable transportation from home to school. If they walk, it can take many hours to reach their schools, consuming time and energy.

New dormitory

The new dormitories – in communities in Pha Oudom district of Bokeo province – include cooking facilities, water, electricity and even household items like mattresses, pillows, blankets and kitchenware.

“It is warm here, and I feel safe,” said Chanda, one of the ethnic minority students who has moved into the new dormitory. “I like studying with friends in the dormitory. I am sure we can do better in our studies because it’s easier for us to study at night.”

Before the dormitories were built, students lived in bamboo huts, which provided little protection from the cold of winter or the persistent rain of the wet season.

“I was living with 5 other students in a small hut. We had to study with a dark kerosene lamp at night, and bear the cold wind coming through the wall,” Chanda said.

Students make their own rules

The new dormitories can accommodate 240 students and will primarily serve students from ethnic minority groups. Plan supported the students in drawing up their own “house” rules, so that they could be responsible for maintaining the premises.

In Pha Oudom district, only 55 percent of students complete their primary education, and there are only four secondary schools serving the district’s 89 villages. Plan Laos started the Basic Education Program in this area in 2009 to improve the education environment of primary and secondary schools.

Plan will support the construction of more dormitories, as well as teacher training to improve the quality of education.

Learn more about Plan's work in Laos.

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