Thursday, November 28, 2013

Community teachers in remote villages

Pheomeo teaches her class. (c)UNICEF/2013/S. Nazer
17-year-old village-teacher Pheomeo smiles when she was asked how she felt when her former pre-school students started primary school: "I was very proud and happy. When my children started there I went to watch them. I saw they knew how to sing the Lao songs, and I saw how much more confident they were than the other children who hadn't come to my class."

Most community based pre-schools claim similar outcomes. When entering primary school, children from pre-schools were emotionally and socially more developed than those who had no attended.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Toilets for all

World Toilet Day, 2013 (c) UNICEF/2013
Weaving his way through a menagerie of chickens, ducks, dogs and pigs, past his family’s wooden stilt house and a dirt playground, fifth-grader Somkhan, 14, points at two small concrete outhouses at the side of the school grounds.

“This is where we go to the toilet now,” he says.

Two taps for hand washing stand close to the basic latrines, which serve the primary school in Don Xai village, a remote community of 50 households nestled in the dramatic landscape of mountainous Phongsaly province – one of the poorest in land-locked Lao PDR.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Community preschools: Reaching out to the most vulnerable

Saphieu, 5 ©UNICEF/2013/S. Nazer
Five year-old Saphieu, in a remote Akha-speaking village in far Northern Lao PDR, beams at her teacher when she is congratulated for the tower she has built with brightly coloured building blocks. The teacher has to make sure Saphieu is looking directly at her as she is deaf, and never speaks.

"I have to pay extra attention to her," explains the community teacher, 17 year-old Pheomeo. "I have to make sure she sees everything, and often I write things down for her. But she is very smart and picks everything up very quickly. Often, when I demonstrate something on the board for the children to repeat, I turn around and she's already completed it."

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Community Based School Readiness

A photo essay on a recent UNICEF trip to Luang Nam Tha Province in Northern Lao PDR, visiting 'Community Based School Readiness' programmes in remote, non-Lao speaking villages.

Photos & Text by Simon Nazer