Son La is a Province in the north-west of Vietnams. It has a population of almost 1.2 million. The capital of Son La is Son La (City), which is more than 9 hours by car from Hanoi.
The regional gross domestic product per capita (data from 2011, at 1994 prices) was 4.3 million VND (approx. USD 200) compared to a nationwide average of more than USD 1.370 (2011).
The village of Pa Puoc is situated in the Chieng Yen community in Van Ho district, 40km away from the district’s center. The roads are in very poor condition and slopes, streams and other obstacles make it impossible for a car to reach the village.
Due to the lack of infrastructure, but also due to old traditions and outdated farming techniques, most of the 76 families in the village are extremely poor and have neither awareness nor financial means to support their children’s education.
The population belongs to the ethnic minority group “Dao“ whose total population is estimated at around 620,000. Their language is Hmong-Dao.
There are more than 40 children aged between 6 and 11 in the village.
The old school was a 20-year old wooden building that was massively impaired by termites, as a result, was on the verge of collapse.
Due to the lack of proper roads and the transportation issues, a steel-based construction with a solid foundation was chosen.
The new school consists of three classrooms (each with an area of 25m2) and a teachers’ room (15m2) which is necessary given that teachers have to live in the village during the week.