Annual Formal Case Study for 2012
Luang Prabang, LAOS
22nd February 2013
A new achievement for GVI Laos in 2012 was the commencement of the Construction Project with our first volunteer starting in August. Since the beginning of the Construction Project we have had 4 volunteers – a small start but the work undertaken has been authentic and needed for 2 of the temples in which GVI volunteers teach English. The Construction Project has enabled GVI Laos to further support the temples in practical ways. To date all of the construction work has been based at temples and volunteers have worked alongside Novices and even an Abbot – the Head Monk. This has been a unique feature of the Laos Construction Project for volunteers to work so closely with the Buddhist communities.
The first project was the refurbishment of the two classrooms at Wat Mano. The school at Wat Mano is the primary Novice Monk School. GVI has been teaching English at Wat Mano for over 2 years. Primary aged Novices complete their primary schooling at Wat Mano before commencing their secondary education at either Wat Pha-O or Wat Sipphouthabaht.
Due to lack of funds, the Primary Novice School had seen no improvements to the standard of the classrooms. The 2 classrooms at Wat Mano were in very poor condition – no wall covering, holes in the floor, poor lighting. The construction project involved the lining and painting of the classroom walls, repairing the floors, strengthening and painting the tables and benches.
The 2 weeks’ work was carried out just in time for the return of the 25 new students to the 2012-2013 academic year. GVI has continued to teach English at Wat Mano throughout 2012 – 2013.
An aim of GVI is to work in partnership with locals and through this project, several partnerships were formed. The Director of the primary school and the Abbot of Wat Mano approved the work under GVI’s management and a local carpenter worked alongside the GVI volunteer. The outcome of this project was brighter and better equipped classrooms for the Novices to study in and the Teachers to teach in. A blog story on this project can be found at www.gvilaos.blogspot.com
The second and third construction projects were undertaken by 2 brothers and one volunteer respectively who worked alongside the Novices from Wat Pasa Viet on a range of jobs – building a well, making bricks, laying cement. The jobs were dirty and hard work and volunteers and Novices were covered in mud and cement by the end of each day.
The volunteers worked shoulder to shoulder with the Novices and experienced firsthand what hard work is involved and how resourceful the Lao people are. In the west, very few people would contemplate making bricks rather than just purchasing them but in Laos at Wat Pasa Viet all the bricks used were made by hand with one brick mould. Pride is taken in removing each brick from the mould and seeing no cracks. The Novices learn many trade related skills during their time in a temple which serve them well for their futures.
One of the jobs undertaken during the volunteers’ project time was working on the digging of a well. This project is now finished and means an extra water source for the temple, very necessary in the long dry season.
A considerable advantage to the temple in having volunteers involved in construction is that the costs of small scale projects are covered by GVI. As all temples rely solely on donations from the community, GVI is supplying much needed funds that ordinarily would be delayed by the temples having to raise the money themselves.
The Construction Project work during 2012 is dedicated to the benefit of all the Novices and Monks that live at the temples where volunteers have had the priviledge to have an inside view and an up close encounter with the Sangha at these temples. Thank you to the Abbots, GVI and the volunteers for making this possible.
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