Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Feed the children - the smart and Lao way

We do have numerous NGOs here and consultants, spending tens of hundreds of overpaid well paid hours on project plans and concepts how to ensure that school kids have good food. And then, sometimes things just happens while people take their faith in their own hands and just act.

This happend in a school in Sokpaluang. The kids from a secondary school (so I was told) just didn't like the lunch the school was providing. They complained the food was bad. So they went to a nearby restaurant and talked to the owner. This place isn't a very cheap place, and usually is has a lot of falang guests. Not the first place school kids might choose.

In Fact, they did, maybe because they though if Falang eat there the food must be better than in their school. But there was this budget problem: they just can't afford the dishes from the menu. "No problem" said the owner, a very smart Lao women. Since her shop has a focus on fried chicken, she talked to her supplier if he could deliver smaller chicken wings. He confirmed, and she created a menu for the school kids: Chicken wings, rice and a healthy fruit shake. The dish is sold for 10.000 KIP.

You may think this is too much, and chicken wings aren't the most healthy food. That might be right, but: It is way better than what they get at school. They will spend the money anyway, but maybe for chips, chewing gums and sweets. And: they learn that something good has a value. You pay a bit more, but you get something better.

The kids go there everyday, with permission of teachers and parents. They behave well - or better learn how to behave in a restaurant - and they enjoy the school break and can take a rest. No institution involved, no consultant. Somethings good things just happen.


  1. Hey, so sorry to do this, as I don't mean to sound pessimistic or discredit the notion that there are vigilante philanthropists in Laos, because there are. Did this school happen to be Kiettisack? It's located two houses down from Ban Gai. If so, this is one of Vientiane's most expensive private schools and the parents of many of the students earn even more money than some western NGO workers, and certainly more than the owner of Ban Gai. These families can definitely afford to pay Ban Gai's full prices. The owner of the shop is a very kind and generous lady. If the secondary students are coming from Kiettisack it sounds like she's being exploited by students who don't know the value of money. If the students are coming from a less affluent Lao school, then good on Ban Gai.

  2. No of course its not Ketthisak, it is the Secondary school near the German Embassy if I understood it right.. Actually some teachers from Ketthisak go to Ban Kai, but many go to a more local coffee shop - I heard they can't afford the Ban Kai coffee.