Lai Chau is a Province in the north west of Vietnam with a population of more than 400,000. The capital of Lai Chau is Lai Chau (City), which is around 9 hours by car from Hanoi.
The regional gross domestic product per capita (data 2011, at prices 1994) was close to 4 million VND (or less than USD 200) compared to a nationwide average of more than USD 1,370 (2011).
The village Pha Bu is situated in the Pa U community in Muong Th district, 35km 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Due to the lack of infrastructure, but also due to old traditions and outdated farming techniques, most of the 50 families in the village are extremely poor and have neither awareness nor financial means to support their children’s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 „La Hu“ whose total population is estimated at only 7,000. Their language is Tibeto-Burman.
There are around 40 children aged between 6 and 11 in the village.
The old school – a wooden building with a tin roof – was destroyed at the end of 2015 in a storm. Given that the nearest school is some 30km away, a temporary school was built.
It did not offer any protection from either the cold, wind or rain.
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 two classrooms (each with an area of 25m2) and a toilet.