Child Aid | School gardens
As part of the two Child Aid projects, 10 primary schools in Bolikhamxay Province participated in the school garden programme. The aim of the school garden concept is to encourage students and teachers to produce food for their own in-school lunch meals which are well-balanced in terms of nutrients. HPPL staff worked with school classes throughout the entire process of establishing and running the school gardens, and children were democratically involved in all decisions and activities: The layout was planned together, and the children planted vegetables and built shelters for small animals such as ducks and chickens themselves. Once everything had been set up, children and teachers regularly devoted time to tend to their gardens. These practical activities outside the classroom were complemented by theoretical lessons on organic agriculture, animal raising, nutrition, health, environmental education, and mathematics (constructing and budgeting).
This kind of pedagogy is still uncommon in Lao PDR where traditional lecture-style schooling is the norm, with little stimulation of the students. Through the school gardens, children have the opportunity to be physically active, implement theoretical knowledge in practice, and receive one guaranteed nutritious meal per day. This also takes pressure off the parents, and the children are encouraged to take their learnings home and spread it in their families and communities.