Pak Khan Village
Villagers sent their preschoolers to an old wooden house. Originally built in 1968, it was once the home of a USAID worker. Despite its state of disrepair, it housed a thriving preschool program; from 2000 to 2005 preschool attendance had increased by 73%!
Like many of the villages we build in, Pak Khan is home to three ethnic groups; Lao Luom, Lao Teung and Lao Soung. Each group speaks its own language. When children enter primary school they are taught in paso lao, and our preschools are preparing the children by teaching them paso lao as well.
Despite being the Xieng Nguen District Center, this village has neither been on the radar screen of either the public or the international community. The NGO's left years ago, and the only visitors to town are from the bus that travels from Luang Prabang to Vientiane.
While there are a number of government employees in the area, the majority of villagers make their living by farming.
We were impressed with the region's recognition of the importance of preschool education. Their program was thriving with over 30 preschool children in attendance. They needed a new and safe environment to continue growing the program and preparing the children for primary school.
We signed an MOU in late August 2005, the old wooden building was immediately torn down, and construction began in mid-September. The preschool was complete and full of children by December 2005.