Volunteers Make An Impact in Northern Laos
The project: to help the village of Naluang in northern Laos build a new school
The Clay School Project was one of the first volunteer tour programs by Fair Trek. At the time, the village of Naluang had only one small primary school for ages 4-8; older children in the village had to walk for almost 2 hours to the nearest secondary school.
Seeing the obvious need for a larger school in Naluang, Fair Trek collaborated with the community to design a new school that would also be good for the environment. International volunteers traveling with Fair Trek’s partner organization, World Volunteer, worked together with local villagers in Naluang to build the clay school, which now accommodates over 30 children in the village.
Clay, mud or adobe buildings have been used for centuries around the world, from China to Africa to the Middle East. Today, this conventional technology acts as an inexpensive, simple, ecological and sustainable method of construction. It is also widely applied in modern architecture due to its free-shape feature.
The advantages of clay are amazingly diverse! First and most importantly, clay construction is cost-effective – in fact, clay construction is one third the cost of concrete construction. Second, clay walls help control humidity levels, as well as insulate heat and sound inside. Additionally, clay is natural and has no artificial or chemical substances which might cause headaches, eye, nose, and throat irritations. Lastly, everyone can get involved in a clay construction project!