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Students on a break at the Hadnam China-Laos Friendship School, which China Southern Power Grid funded to build. XINHUA

VIENTIANE - Two China-Laos Friendship Schools, built with help from China Southern Power Grid, are transforming education in northern Laos.

Poppy plantations line the winding road through the Golden Triangle mountains to CSG’s Nam Tha 1 hydroelectric power station, 350 kilometers north of Vientiane. Completed in 2018 with an installed capacity of 168 MW, its annual output is expected to reach 720 GWh while providing green electricity to more than 2 million people in the border regions of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos.

The plant is the first overseas build-operate-transfer hydropower project to be carried out by CSG under China’s proposed Belt and Road Initiative. Construction of the plant provided reliable road access to villages around Hadnam, CSG’s center of operations in the region.

In 2020, CSG spent $ 460,000 to build two new schools in Hadnam and nearby Vanglek.

“I came to teach here in 2003, when there were no permanent buildings and no running water,” said Ounkham Phikchaphon, 37, principal of the Hadnam school. “The new school building is a great learning environment. We hope to build a high school soon.”

The plant not only provides electricity to the local population, but CSG is also committed to actively maintaining good relations with the community through various public welfare activities.

The two schools were very popular on the Laotian side.

In April, Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh awarded a Special Development Medal to CSG in recognition of the company’s outstanding contribution to local well-being.

“My old classroom had mud walls and a thatched roof that leaked when it rained. I am very grateful for this school. It is much better than before,” says Namlin Sidthideth, a middle school student from the Hadnam China Friendship. -Laos School.

Namlin’s house is 90 km from Hadnam. Some families of students live even further away, testifying to the importance of the school over a very large area.

The school in the village of Vanglek was located at the foot of the mountain, surrounded on three sides by steep cliffs. It was small and dangerous.

For the new school, the CSG has chosen a large grassy area bordering the asphalt road. The new Vanglek China-Laos Friendship School is beautiful and spacious, with excellent facilities.

Moldanoy Sensoulin, the 36-year-old principal, has been teaching in the village since 2012. She says the old school was in such bad condition that it had to close sometimes due to bad weather. Two classrooms accommodated only 30 students. The new school is comfortable and the number of students has increased to over 100, including a kindergarten.

Khamphai Xaiyaseth, the 57-year-old former village chief of Vanglek, came to see his three grandchildren at school. He shares his joy: “It’s great to have this power plant here. Now the school is beautiful and we love it. My grandchildren can study well here and can become teachers here when they grow up too! “

Villager Xiengla Khamphamek has a 3-year-old son in kindergarten. He dropped out of school, but hopes his children will have a better chance of going to college. “I am very grateful to the CSG and China. They have helped us so that the children can study better in school. I am very grateful.

“I want them to learn Chinese and study in China someday,” he said.

Xinhua

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