Just the facts....

: Complete

School: Samphanxay Complete Primary School

Country: Laos

District/Province: Bountay, Phongsaly

Village: Samphanxay

Donor: The Spangberg Family

Partner: Room to Read

Year: 2011

Grades: 1-5

Students: 202 Students

Samphanxay Primary School opened September 1, 2012


The New School


Samphanxay Community Profile

Samphanxay Village is located in the eastern section of Bountay District . The village is 665 km north of Vientiane, a 17 hour drive from the capital.

Samphanxay is located in the mountains of northern Laos and has 224 households representing a population of 945, of whom 523 are female. The main ethnic groups living here are the Hor and Phounoi. The main occupation is rice farming, supplemented by raising livestock and growing tea, peanuts, and rubber for export to China. Rice cultivation is carried out principally during the rainy season which lasts from June to October. The weather is generally good all year round, with winter, from December to March, being quite cool compared to other areas of Laos. The dry season runs from April to May. Houses are constructed primarily of wood or bamboo and the village has communal toilets, reliable running water from wells, and electricity. The area also offers beautiful scenery for sightseeing as well as interesting cultural attractions.

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 a certificate from the government certifying that all unexploded ordinance has been removed from the area is still required for all construction sites.


Reasons to build a new school in Samphanxay

Samphanxay Village has a complete primary school, funded by the U.S. government, that serves pupils from three villages. A complete primary school offers the full number of grades, one through five. This school has one concrete building with four classrooms and a school library that was sponsored and organized by Room to Read Laos in 2008. The school is overcrowded to such an extent that grades one and two must share a classroom.

The villagers are committed to doing even more to ensure their children receive a good education and thereby improve their prospects for a better future. They would like to partner with Room to Read and the local education authorities in the construction of a new school. This will be done by contributing labor, timber, wooden forms, and backfill soil. They have also promised to take responsibility for all aspects of security and to providing a place to accommodate children during construction. The villagers, teachers, and pupils are very enthusiastic about having this new school. They also expressed their gratitude to Opportunity for All and Room to Read for the visit and they are looking forward to supporting this new school.

Samphanxay Community Profile

Construction of the Samphanxay Complete Primary School was started on December 22, 2011. It was co-funded by Opportunity for All, Room to Read Laos and five villages, 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 1, 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 rooms are used as classrooms and the fourth room serves as the school library.

Excavating the site for the school

On the successful completion of the school in Samphanxay Village, we would like to express our deep appreciation to Opportunity for All and Room to Read for providing us with funding for the new school building. We never believed that we would someday be granted funding to build a permanent building until the Room to Read staff visited and convinced us that, with help from the community, it was possible. Our community made a commitment to cooperate with Room to Read by providing labor and in kind support to build a safe, permanent school for our children. The entire community contributed to Room to Read's Challenge Grant and understands why their involvement is so critical to the long term success of the project. We promise to maintain this school in good condition and we will motivate parents who have school age children to send them to school. Finally, we would like to express our sincere thanks to Opportunity for All, Room to Read and to everyone who contributed to making this construction project a success.
A Community Member