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Sustainable spaces of learning


Posting Date
Photos from Dorn Bouttasing and Green Community Volunteers

In Laos, the Green Community Volunteers (GCV) set out to build an earth brick house, to be the abode of learning for children, women and elders alike. The bricks are made from raw earth found in the village, mixed with husk and water. Mixed mud is used to hold together the bricks to form the structure. The practice of making an earth house is not very common anymore. The earth house in the village of Phonsavanh was built by community members volunteering, many of them are from the ethnic groups, such as Khmu, Hmong and Lao Loom. The children, who will soon be studying in the earth house, also helped; for them, it was play to mix the raw earth materials and the mud for plastering the walls. 

The main intention of GCV is to provide a learning habitat for the children and community members of Phonsavanh, to pass on cultural knowledge and practices, and foster exchanges of learning. The earth house will be a place for conducting story-telling workshops, educational film discussions, traditional and innovative forum theater, photo exhibits and writing workshops. It will serve as a resource center, as well as a place to hold community discussions on cultural practices around land use, land governance, on environmental issues and others. 

The construction of the earth house was derailed by storms and heavy rains, which caused the group to re-build those parts that were washed away. When the COVID-19 lockdowns happened, construction all but stopped. When the villagers were able to move about again, GCV paid a small sum to the workers to alleviate the crisis that everybody went through.

By choosing the earth house, GCV and the community aims to create a sustainable and environmentally-friendly learning space that is open for all groups, and where, together, they can nurture new environmental stewards and local research groups for the community. 


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