With a friend, I visited Pa Nor village, an ethnic indigenous community 20 km to the south of Luang Prabang city. The Khmu is one of the largest ethnic groups based in the northern part of Laos. Compared to a tribe like Hmong, Khmu is considered a poorer group among the poor. These days the village does not have enough water, especially during the dry season. Women have to wait in a queue at a tap (which is dripping) over night. If you would like to see what I mean, I attached some photos we took from a visit to the village last month.
From the first visit (1st March 2010), I came back with the feelings that I can’t just “do nothing” after having seen another group of human friends living in such a poor condition, so my friend and I decided we will help them now. Since that first visit we have made a few more trips to the village (6-10th April everyday and 19th April). These visits were spent sitting and discussing with the Village Committee, and from these discussions we have learnt that the needs of the village are: Improved water system, Skills training, New Primary School for Grades 1 and 2 (which fortunately, has now being built with some international assistance), Community center, Temple and First Aid resources.
My friend and I decided we will respond to their urgent needs (first and secondary needs) of the village – which are water and skills training for income generation.
For the water system, on 27th April, we met with Mr Boontan, Deputy Village Master and Mr Onn-chan, Village Committee Member for Education. They said that they have already located a new source of water with the help from a researcher at the Provincial center. With funding contributions from each and every family in the village, we shipped in and helped them buy this piece of land. The next step for the water is to install 3-km pipe which will cost around 10,000 Euros.
For now, to help them with income generation, we are planning a sustainable skills training project. We hope to initiate and run skills training sessions with the community utilizing the existing village networks which include the women’s association. From our observations there appear to be two key raw materials in the village; job’s tears, and bamboo. We plan to hire trainers to conduct a series of training sessions on these two materials. With additional skills, they could manufacture paper from the raw bamboo and sell for over twice the amount. We will need to mobilize around 1,000 Euros x 3 sessions for each skill. We also plan to buy the materials and put on some seed money for them to get started.
In total, we would need approximately 3,500 Euros to run this project for 6 sessions.
Following this skills training project, later on we will deliver our water proposal to a bigger donor for them to consider installing a 3-km pipe from this land.
Thank you everyone for your kind heart, trust in us and your support….
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