Dongnasok School in Vientiane and Nahin School in Khammouane were buzzing with excitement last week as the students from Vientiane College Access program paid them a visit to donate school supplies and materials. The ACCESS students had bought the materials from money raised at their Design for Change project event – ‘Fair Share’, held in July.
At Vientiane College, the ACCESS Program started the DFC process in March. ACCESS is a two year program funded by the American Embassy to benefit underprivileged children from rural provinces. There are three classes and a total of 60 students who have been involved in DFC this year. In the FEEL stage they chose the problem of many schools in Laos being under-resourced. In the IMAGINE stage, they brainstormed many ideas about how they could help or improve this problem.
They decided to hold a fundraising event to raise money for Dongnasok School in Vientiane and the Nahin school in Khammouane province, and the ‘Fair Share’ event was born. After this successful event, they had to calculate how much money they raised at the Fair Share. The students then purchased school supplies and sports equipment for the students and staff at Dongnasok and Nahin schools.
The ACCESS students made a daytime trip to Dongnasok where they engaged the students in activities planned by ACCESS students and presented the purchased school materials to the school.
The ACCESS students had another amazing opportunity to take an overnight field trip to Khammouane province, to visit Nahin school and present their donation of school supplies. The ACCESS students and teachers were greeted by Nahin staff and students with handmade flower necklaces, a delicious lunch made with local foods, and a formal presentation by all students. This was followed by a field day of sports, using the new sports equipment that was a part of the donation.
The students would like to thank their supporters – Vientiane College, Love Life Ice Cream, Talat Lao, Patoo Industries, and Design for Change Laos.
The students at Sompanya school are once again undertaking the DFC process. Last school year, the Sompanya youth volunteers completed two projects - Inclusion and Cleanliness in the Bathrooms. The Education Development team facilitated the DFC process last time, so for this project, the ED team is mentoring 4 Lao teachers to lead the process themselves This time the students are tackling the issue of a lack of outdoor areas and activities to do at lunchtime or after school. They want more spaces to play and activities to do outside.
In the feel stage they said what specifically bothered them about their school playground and what kinds of things they’d like to see. They were super excited at the idea of improving their environment and having places to play and learn that were outside the classroom. They voted on their ideas and selected smaller projects to move forward with, such as, painting a mural on the new wall coming into the school, creating a maze, and improving the football field.
Last week they continued thinking about these issues, examining who is involved, where and why the problem occurs. Each group walked around the school to examine the space available and see what they had to work with. They continued IMAGINING also and getting more specific about how they were going to make their dreams come to fruition. At this stage they are voting which ideas from their IMAGINE brainstorm they are going to implement.
From September 28th to October 1st, Chomphet School in Xieng Kuang province implemented DFC at their school with 32 youth volunteers. It was a chance for the teachers to practice facilitating DFC after their initial introduction and training in Vientiane in July. The Education Development team from PADETC went to Xieng Kuang to support and mentor the teachers as they carried out the implementation, and Hans from Patoo Industries was there to film the process as part of the media package for Education for Sustainable Development (ESD). Design for Change is being implemented in 4 schools in Vientiane and Xieng Kuang as part of an ESD project between the University of the Sacred Heart in Japan and the Ministry of Education in Laos, with PADETC providing technical support.
The students brainstormed many problems that bothered them around their school - but finally voted on several small problems to tackle such as, how to encourage their friends not to use drugs,and how to reduce rubbish in the school… The FEEL, IMAGINE and preparing for DO stages were completed on the weekend, and the DO and SHARE stages were carried out on the Monday to encourage as many students in the school to participate and share in the DFC action.
The teachers were able to lead the stages quite confidently using the Lao language DFC curriculum, and the PADETC team reflected with them before, during and after the process to consolidate the training and the important skills and messages around facilitating DFC projects.
The students of the VC ACCESS program all got together last Saturday before the end of term, and have started the process of producing advertising and gathering donations of items to sell.
Their initial problem in the FEEL stage was that the children were upset by a lack of resources at many Lao schools. The DO stage will include an event called “Fair Share” at Vientiane College to raise money for the materials to donate to Dongnasok School. The event is scheduled for July 22nd. The students are making progress and it looks like the event in July will be well attended. The flyer is also in this month’s Talatlao! More information to come soon, or join their event on Facebook for updates!
Last year Sunshine School was the first school in Laos to participate in the DFC Global Challenge. This year teachers At and Tock led grade 5 and M1/2 English groups through the stages of “Feel, Imagine, Do and Share”. Grade 5 spearheaded a playground cleanliness campaign and M1/2 undertook to raise awarenes about toilet hygiene. More share details and slides coming soon!