After School clubs for DRR
Phak is an 11-year-old girl studying in year 5 at the Primary School located in Hongsa District, Xayabouri Province, Laos. Phak is the eldest of two children, and her younger sister who is 8 years old is disabled and does not attend school. Phak lives about 2km from her school near her family’s field crops and walks to school alone every morning. Her routine is to wake up at 6 am and to arrive at school by around 7:30 am.
Phak is a regular participant in Save the Children established DRR Child Club. The activities she enjoys the most at school are playing with friends, dancing and singing. Phak and her classmates attend DRR after school child club, learning about their environment, hazards and how to handle these. They write songs, dance, and draw pictures to represent risks and disasters. Bouaphan, Phak’s teacher said that they conduct DRR activities twice a after school. Students make disaster plans to identify risks and how they will handle these for example if there is a storm or fire, common hazards in northern Laos.
Phak says the DRR Child Club is fun. “I like dancing with my friends and learning what to do in a disaster. I tell my mom what to do if there is a fire at home. If there was a fire and my parents were not home I would know how to put it out myself with a bucket of sand, before I go to tell them or another grown up.”
She also shared that “It is a bit difficult walking so far to school everyday. I try to walk on the correct side of the road and not run to avoid an accident. I want to finish school and not rush to get married and in the future I want to be a teacher.”
Phak’s mother said: “I am happy that my child can participate in extra school activities like this [child club].” She stated that she listens to Phak’s knowledge on DRR relating to reducing risk and planning for disasters in their household.
Save the Children Laos is conducting Disaster Risk Reduction activities at the primary schools. A national DRR curriculum has been introduced in grades 3, 4, and 5, as well as in children’s club, which meets outside of school hours, reaching those who cannot attend school due regular hours.