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"Rural Sustainability Program" Classes

The Sai Nyai Eco-School has been running its full program since February, 2009. We have typically have sixteen students per cohort, aged 17-22 staying with us this year, coming from various villages throughout our district. They are a diverse group of people, comprised of Jru (Laven), Brou (Ta-oy), Brao, Souay, Phou Thai and Lao Loum ethnicities. Our class quickly became a close family so, although everyone is eager about their learning, their is no shortage of warmth and laughter to accompany it.

opening ceremony

The opening ceremony, attended by government and family members along with our new students.

Our 2011 Class.

Straw-fired clay pots: an appropriate technology for villagers

Above is our study tour to make pots.

Making compost using effective micro-organisms (EM).

sun-dried bananas

Making sun-dried bananas using a solar dryer.

mushroom house

Student-directed Learning

The mushroom house we are constructing (March, 2009) with the students. By May, the house was almost finished and the final stages of the roof were being put up:

bamboo roof adobe house

Green Business in Laos

Through teaching by doing, we are providing our students with opportunities to fundraise for their education through developing green businesses appropriate for rural Laos. Their first major project, in keeping with value-adding to their major local cash crop, was to make and market an organic peanut snack. Here is a photo of their first exhibition:

organic peanut snack

This is the label of their product, developed in May 2009:

organic peanut snack

organic peanut snack

Starting in April, 2009, we have begun producing a natural soap, using palm oil, lye and water. We have since then been experimenting with adding different therapeutic and aromatic ingredients to the soap such as tamarind, turmeric, lemongrass, mint and castor oil. Here is a picture our trying out our first successful soap:

natural soap making

In this picture our students are boiling castor oil from castor beans:

castor oil making

Our garden is getting much more interesting as well. We are growing bananas, corn, peanuts, lemongrass, castor beans, black beans, long beans, pumpkins, cucumbers, ginger, turmeric, galangal, winged beans, lablab, parsley, cilantro, mint, loofah, garlic, cardamom, papaya, mango, amla, tamarind, sesame seeds, cassava, mustard greens, amaranth, green onions, pineapples, and a multitude of other species. We are also feeding over 20 chickens. Here is a picture of the garden that is closest to the boy's dormitory:

sustainable gardening



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