Khounkham District, June 28, 2016
Two new schools and two new health centres built by the Theun-Hinboun Power Company (THPC) are serving communities in Khounkham District, Khammouane.
The health centres, secondary schools and primary schools were constructed over the past year in the new villages of Phaxang and Phakhouak. While they have been open to the public since early 2016, the facilities were officially handed over to local authorities at a ceremony in Ban Phaxang on June 28.
Phaxang and Phakhouak are being built to provide new flood-safe villages for over 750 households along the Hinboun River. THPC has built eight new villages along the Hinboun and Hai rivers as part of the Theun-Hinboun Expansion Project, which was inaugurated in early 2013.
The health centres at Phaxang and Phakhouak cover the populations of six villages and also provide services to other communities in the area. The clinics follow the government Type B standard and come with furniture, medical and office equipment, toilets and medicine supplies. THPC has also organised training sessions for health centre staff on public health management and new techniques.
The new primary and secondary schools also have toilets, while THPC has provided libraries and books, classroom furniture and teaching equipment to foster educational development in the communities. At the handover ceremony, Mrs Surapha Viravong, deputy director of the company’s social and environmental division, said that THPC has invested around US$467,000 in the new schools and health centres. She said that while THPC would continue to support the villagers as they build their livelihoods, the villagers and local authorities would need to take responsibility for managing and maintaining the new public facilities.
Accepting the new facilities on behalf of Khounkham District, district governor Mr Keolandon Chanthaphany said that THPC had done a great deal to boost development across Khounkham, providing various communities with improved housing roads, infrastructure and public services.
Left and centre: Students arrive at the new Phaxang secondary school to take their end-of-year exams in May 2016. Miss Chanpha, left, washing her hands in the rain, said that the new school has a major advantage over their old village school: the roof does not leak when it rains, making exams much easier to sit.
Right: Action for Lao Children and the National Library have helped THPC establish libraries in all schools at project relocation and resettlement villages.