Jack explores the new reading room through comedy
“I like reading the funny stories because it helps me to develop my imagination and bring some relief. By reading stories at the library, I’ve learned a lot about Lao Language and improved my reading proficiency,” said Jack, a grade nine student in the Houaphanh Province.
Jack’s school is taking part in ChildFund in Laos’ Gender and Language Education for Ethnic Students’ Empowerment (GLEESE) project.
Literacy levels among children and young people from ethnic minority groups in Laos remains relatively low. The GLEESE project is designed to make sure that every child has the opportunity to go to school.
This project specifically focusses on supporting children in the Sopbao and Xamneua Districts in the Houaphanh Province to boost school attendance, leading to more young people completing a secondary education. One way that ChildFund is doing this is by building new and renovating existing school facilities and libraries.
The project built a new library at Jack’s school. The library is equipped with enough books for ten schools – five in Sopbao and another five schools in Xam Neua. These libraries have encouraged the students to read more and learn to enjoy reading. The project supports teachers and students to work together to make sure the library is stocked with books and that it is kept tidy. A long-term management plan will make sure that the project is sustainable.
One grade eight student, Minta said: “I enjoy reading stories about peace, harmony and the environment. I go the reading room about twice a week. I like reading books with a large group of friends because it is enjoyable to read together, and we take turns telling each other funny stories.”
The school library helps children and young people from ethnic minority groups to learn to speak and read in Laos. By learning both their own and the national language, they are better equipped to fully participate in and contribute to their community.
“The reading room really improved my ability to read Lao. I’d want to see a reading room like this in other schools so that friends may read fun books together and enhance everyone’s reading skills,” said Minta.
The GLEESE project is providing quality education for all levels of learning and connecting children from the community with teachers that can help them learn and access books, school supplies, classrooms, and boarding arrangements for those that need them. With this support, more children can go to school.