The US immigrant story is common. You come from somewhere, you have nothing, only grit, and hope that your children do better. You adopt the United State as your new home.
Noupheuak Bonglamphone did just that. Like thousands of refugees, she found hope in the United States to give her family a chance at a decent life. She lived long enough to see some of the sacrifices she made take shape in her family. More than half her grandchildren are adults now, and able to focus on their dreams and grow their families in comfort.
Early this year, Noupheuak’s children traveled back to her home village in Laos and were heartbroken over the conditions the village children learn in. The school houses are either unfinished or damaged by weather and flooding. Desks are weathered, the schools have no bathrooms, and goats often wander in to disrupt the classroom.
Noupheuak’s kids decided it’s time to pay it forward to their country of birth and do something to help their mother’s village. They decided to make a better learning environment by focusing on building a school that can withstand weather and flooding that would last decades.
Noupheuak’s immigrant story is less about her and how her family made it. Her story is to give back and make the lives of children she won’t even know a bit better.
Build an improved and lasting school for the kids in the village under one roof. The vision is:
1. One school with three rooms. One for 1st and 2nd grade, One second for 3rd and 4th, and then one for 5th grade.
2. The school is enclosed and protected from the weather, dirt, and animal visitors!
3. The school is raised above the ground to prevent flood damage.
1. Provide bathrooms in the school so children don’t need to run home.
2. Any other school supplies to encourage play and learning.
Where is this school?
Noupheuak Bonglamphone came from a tiny village called Ban Lam Phan (Bahn-lum-pun) in the rural province of Savannakhet, Laos. 84 families live there, and the school serves 64 children.
Ban Lam Phan is located by a river to provide a lifeline to the village but also poses a high risk of flooding.
Learn a Bit More About the Students:
Photos of the Current Buildings:
Photo 1: The oldest school built in 1989 still in use today by First Graders.
Photo 2: Worn-down desks and benches.
Photo 3: Second school building that is split to serve 2nd and 3rd grade in one room, then 4th and 5th in another.
Photo 4: The four teachers in the village with a few students.
Photo 5: Some of the kids excited for new sandals!
Things We’ve Accomplished:
1. Donated school supplies.
2. Donated sandals.
3. Paid for window and door installations.
4. Replacement of desks and chairs.
Who’s Running This?
A group effort by Noupheuak’s family living in Vancouver, WA and Portland OR.
- The Bonglamphones
- The Inthathiraths
- The Maknarakhams
- SUSAN LY
- Sengdhuan St. John
- Sismphone Xaiyavong
- Reppin Laos
- Michael Demidenko