A lot of progress has been made at Nambark Ethnic School in the last year. The construction of a two-story dormitory, an indoor bathing room, and a new toilet block is complete. Rural students in Northern Laos, especially members of ethnic minorities, often struggle in their pursuit of secondary education. Some high schoolers travel long distances to attend the Nambark Ethnic School, where they live for most of the school year.
The facilities currently serve more than 200 students, many of them female. UNICEF and the World Health Organization report that 1 in 3 people worldwide lack access to a toilet, and ⅓ of schools lack adequate sanitation. Stigmas about menstruation, especially in developing countries, lead many young women and girls to miss school rather than face humiliation because they lack a sanitary and private toilet facility. According to the Rustic Pathways Laos Country Manager, Paradon Simphouvanh, “most of the students come from remote areas and some have never known how to use toilets before, because their lifestyles are so different.”
Paradon and the other staff members at the school are committed to the students’ quality of life and future opportunities. “This donation has really helped them to have a better place to live and to lift up the standards of education,” he says. He hopes that “when the students graduate, they have the opportunity to get their government education fund and help themselves and their families, with a good education that will help them get a good job.”