Khounkham District, July 14, 2015IMG 6653

The children of Keng and Koup villages in Khounkham District, Khammouane Province, will have new primary schools when the next school year begins following the donation of new facilities by shareholders of the Theun-Hinboun Power Company.

Ban Keng and Ban Koup are located about 30 km from the main Theun-Hinboun power station, along the road that runs to Konglor Cave. While neither village is greatly affected by operation of the power plant, both have needed improved schools for several years. These have now been provided from a US$3 million development fund donated by THPC shareholders, SN Power and GMS International. So far this fund, provided on top of the $110 million earmarked for social and environmental activities following Theun-Hinboun’s Expansion Project, has also been used to build irrigation systems and strengthen environmental protection systems.

At the request of the district education office, THPC began building the schools in early 2015. Each features five classrooms, a staff room and toilet block. Construction costs for the two schools amounted to over $214,000 while THPC has contributed furniture and equipment worth an additional $11,000. The school at Ban Keng will also serve children in the nearby village of Nam None.

Handing over the facilities to village and district authorities at a ceremony in Ban Keng, THPC’s Deputy General Manager, Soulideth Baomanikhoth, said that while the company had invested in various community improvements in Khammouane and Bolikhamxay, education was a priority for national development and for THPC’s shareholders. “A solid education can give people the tools to build a prosperous life, providing more options for the future” said Mr Soulideth.

THPC has so far built 13 primary schools and five secondary schools in villages around the plant area, and also sponsors pupils attending its private primary and secondary schools in Khounkham town. Several graduates from the Theun-Hinboun school have been given bursaries to study at universities in Laos, while a new scholarship will soon be available at the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok.

The company also supports education outside the Theun-Hinboun area, sponsoring a primary school in Vientiane Province and providing funds for the Educational Development Fund’s Books for Schools project. In April and May this year, THPC staff helped in the construction of new classrooms at a secondary school in Champassak, with the company joining the local community to complete a new block for the students.

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The new school at Ban Kong (top right), funded by THPC's shareholders, was accepted by Mr Khammao Khounsombath of the Khounkham District Education and Sports Office (right) from Soulideth Baomanikhoth of THPC

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