Khun Nam Jon School
February 2017 – Khun Nam Jon is a remote village just over the mountains from Laos. They have only had a school for ten years. This location is farther into the mountains than we have ever gone. It took well over an hour to get there in a 4-wheel-drive vehicle. The road is very difficult during the dry season and nearly impassible when the rains come.
The school serves about 50 students from two villages, kindergarten through 5th grade. The two teachers make the difficult trek twice a week, staying in huts during the week and coming back down on the weekend. They are young and dedicated instructors living and working in very difficult conditions. When we learned of this school, we knew we had to support them.
“Khun Nam Jon” roughly translates to Head of the Water at Jon village. One thing this hill-tribe village has in abundance is nearly limitless drinking water. That is a big deal and one less challenge for the children. Otherwise, life is hard. The residents are subsistence farmers growing mostly rice. It is all very labor-intensive. Most villagers value the education their children can get here. Beyond 5th grade, however, things get difficult and choices must be made.
The next school, Ban Sawa is 10 km down that treacherous road. There they can attend 6th-9th grades. The only way down is dirt bike, 4-wheel-drive truck or foot. Ban Sawa has rooms for those students who are willing to make the journey. Some do, and they stay during the week, coming home on weekends. It’s a tough decision for the parents because not only are they separated from their children, they also lose a valuable labor source.
Thainitiative is funding transportation for 14 students to make the journey to Ban Sawa school twice a week. In addition, we have funded much-needed repairs to some of the school building including the teacher’s quarters and the kindergarten, which are in poor condition. It is very difficult to find instructors willing to endure these conditions. Khun Bank and Khun Joi are rare and dedicated teachers. The least we can do is make sure they have a sound place to sleep and the kids should have a classroom without holes in the walls.
Our long-term goal is to raise money for a larger truck that can seat 20 or more students. Right now, the only transportation available is a pickup truck and the kids ride in the bed. Not ideal, but it gets the job done.
Khun Nam Jon ‘Thank You’
We are grateful to all the folks who are supporting our ongoing project to provide the hill-tribe children of Khun Nam Jon village with transportation to Ban Sawa school in the valley below. Your generosity is making a difference in these kid’s lives by allowing them move past 6th grade. The children made this video to express their appreciation directly to you.