Just the facts....

: Complete

School: Phiasou Complete Primary School

Country: Laos

District/Province: Bountay, Phongsaly

Village: Phiasouk

Donor: The Spangberg Family

Partner: Room to Read

Year: 2011

Grades: 1-5

Students: 184 Students

The Phiasou Primary School opened September 25, 2012


Phiasouk Community Profile

The Phiasouk Complete Primary School is located in the southern section of the Bountay District. The school is 740 km northwest of Vientiane, a 30 hour drive from the capital city. Phiasouk Village is located in the lowlands of Laos and has 104 households representing a population of 520, of whom 275 are female. The people living in this village belong to an ethnic minority called the Khmu, most of whom have poor Lao language skills, especially the children. The principal economic activities include farming, raising livestock, and textile production. Farming, which consists largely of rice production, is carried out principally during the rainy season from June to October. The weather is generally good all year round, with a relatively mild winter from December to March followed by a dry season from April to May. Houses are constructed primarily of wood and the village lacks communal toilets, reliable running water from wells, and electricity.

The Ho Chi Minh trail, part of which runs through Laos, was a major target for American bombs during the Vietnam War. As a result, many provinces in Laos were heavily bombed and/or covered with landmines. Phongsaly Province was less affected by the Vietnam War than some other provinces in Laos, but unexploded ordnance still exists and the removal of these dangerous munitions is an ongoing task.

The Need for a New School

Phiasou Village has a complete primary school that offers grades one to five and serves pupils from four villages. It has a school library that was sponsored and organized by Room to Read Laos in 2008. This school has four buildings with seven classrooms. The roof of one of the existing classroom blocks is made of old sheet metal that leaks when it rains. Its walls, made of wood and bamboo, are badly decayed and a dirt floor contributes to an uncomfortable learning environment. The building overall is in extremely poor condition and cannot be used during the rainy season because rainwater soaks the classrooms. These deficiencies significantly reduce the opportunity for children to receive a quality education.
This school was originally funded and built by the villagers themselves. Every year the villagers use their limited funds to maintain the current buildings but they do not have the resources needed to construct a proper school for their children. In the past, the government has supported this school by providing teachers but school construction and maintenance were left to the community. The new school building will replace the old structure and upgrade its existing library room.

Coinstruction of the School

Construction of the Phiasou Complete Primary School was s tarted on December 22, 2011. It was co-funded by Room to Read Laos and the community of Phiasouk Village, with strong support from the Phongsaly Provincial Education Service, the Bountay District Education Bureau and government authorities. The building took eight months to complete with labor provided by volunteers from the community and the school was ready for use on September 15, 2012. The completed school, covering an area 8m wide x 28m long, is a sturdy brick structure erected on a concrete foundation, with steel-reinforced ground and roof beams and a green sheet metal roof supported on a hardwood frame. The building exterior has been painted a cream color with purple trim on the window shutters. Each of the four rooms is 6m x 7m in size and has a painted white interior, a wood ceiling, and windows with hardwood shutters. Three of the rooms are used as classrooms and the fourth room serves as the school library.
As representatives of the Phiasou community, we would like to express our great pride in knowing that our community has obtained the contributions needed for construction of the Phiasou Complete Primary School. The old school, a wooden structure, had suffered storm damage over the years and was in very poor condition, despite our numerous attempts to repair it. Teaching even had to be suspended on occasion because of concerns for the safety of the students. As a result of these problems, our community united with Poortunity ofr All and Room to Read to focus on constructing the new school building with all our energy and heart. Since the people in this area are farmers and construction took place during peak farming season, occasional delays were unavoidable but we identified the best way to deal with these problems as soon as possible so that construction could continue. The school construction has now been completed and we are proud of the beautiful new building, for which there is nothing comparable in the village. Room to Read saw the insufficiency of our educational budget, identified our needs, and gave us the funds to build the school as well as books and educational materials for the library. We would like to express our great gratitude to Opportunity for All and Room to Read for their support. Building this school has been the best experience in our memory and will never be forgotten. We promise to protect this school building to ensure it will always be in good condition and we will encourage the guardians and parents to enroll all of their children at this school.