We were the first foreign visitors to this neatly tended village in March 2005. Pak Nga was the Education Department’s number one priority for a preschool at the time.
They understood the importance of preschool and had a program in place. The preschool had been held in a small room at the end of the old wooden district education office, and the Education Department knew they needed a place of their own.
In July 2005 we signed the MOU, and construction began the following month. The preschool children and teachers moved in to their new facility in November 2005.
The word is spreading! Mr. Onechanh Souvannalith, Head of the Luang Prabang Education Department told us that many village leaders are knocking at his door asking for preschools. They want this important head start for their children. This is a great compliment to our mission.
Pak Nga is a poor village, remotely located approximately 65 kilometers north of Luang Prabang. The village residents make their living through farming or working for the government. Pak Nga is the administrative center for Phone Say District.
There was a temporary preschool program in place, and they had seasoned preschool teachers. But they lacked an adequate facility and teaching materials. During our first visit to the area, while we were briefed at the district education office, we could hear the children singing and clapping in the adjacent room. The preschool children were a bit apprehensive of our visit, but sang and recited what they were learning in preschool. They were obviously happy to be in preschool, and they loved learning.
During our February 2006 visit, the children were less apprehensive, and their smiles widened as they sang and danced for us. Their new preschool was filled with children who are excited about learning!