The end of the long Summer Holiday is in sight and soon we will be back to our normal opening times and introducing a new, exciting program as well as welcoming 6 new students to the Laos Children’s Workshop.
During the last two months the workshop has been open from 9:00am until 9:30pm and has been a sanctuary for the many students who … having no homes to go to … have remained at the Orphanage and, with little else to keep them occupied, have spent much of their time in the Workshop.
School holidays are an essential break designed to allow school children throughout the World to relax, recharge their batteries, clear the clutter from their brains and have fun while they are still young enough to do so and the Workshop embraced those principles by suspending formal activities during this period while at the same time, giving the students full use of the facilities for their own amusement.
The cameras were in constant demand as the boys hiked to local waterfalls or walked down to the banks of the Mekong, filming their adventures and when not out and about, the computers were running full steam ahead with You Tube Videos providing a popular source of entertainment.
The Friday Film Night has continued as usual and is always fully attended … although it is debatable as to whether or not they come to watch the movie or just to get the FREE POT NOODLES that are always served after the film! This weekly treat has been funded by Stig Dronnen for the last 2 years and is very popular.
The holiday program was just right and the students have utilized the facilities to the maximum … but without doubt, the highlight of the summer holiday was a 3 week visit by Stig Dronnen from Norway, accompanied by his daughter Anna and her boyfriend, Nassim.
Stig, as usual, arrived bearing gifts a plenty and the workshop (and the boys) gratefully accepted 2 x Core i5 computers complete with 22inch monitors. These are capable of running the latest CC programs which are vital for the senior students to keep up to date with the latest software.
Along with the computers, Stig also gave us 2 x Graphic Drawing Tablets which will complete our arsenal of excellent facilities for the growing number of graphic designers and animation artists that we are cultivating, enabling them to release their creativity and realize their full potential.
Add to this, two Go Pro action cameras, extra RAM boards for the older computers and a bag full of Power Banks, USB memory sticks and a couple of Surge protectors for the new computers, Stig once again demonstrated his total commitment to helping the Workshop and the youngsters who study here.
Not to be left out, Stig’s daughter Anna, gave a truly professional presentation to the students on Graphic Design followed by setting them a design project to complete.
The project was not easy but there were some very good entries and the following week, Anna and Nassim, having marked the projects, awarded prizes to the best Poster Design, the Best Logo Design and the best Promotional Video.
As per last summers visit, Stig took all the students to the local swimming pool for the day …
as well as hosting two parties at the Workshop and spending a lot of time sitting in the attic, talking and interacting with the boys.
Stig also sponsors 8 of the older students, paying for them to attend classes at the Mekong English Center, where they study English 5 evenings a week and during the summer holiday he also pays for a number of the students to study mathematics at an advanced level at a summer school in the town. Add this to the financial support Stig provides to help with everyday running costs and it becomes clear that the Workshop could not function at the advanced level that we do now, without his invaluable support.
Your dedication Stig, in supporting the Workshop and the 24 young Orphan children who study here is valued beyond words and we all of us appreciate it very much.
Next month we will lose four of our Senior Students as they leave the Orphanage and hopefully go on to Higher Education. This will be a very sad loss for the Workshop as all four students were 11 year old, founder members … in the original group of students … when the workshop first opened 7 years ago. All four have applied for University and have already taken entrance examinations in a number of subjects, including computer science and we wait eagerly for those results to be published later this month … but they are fine young men, full of confidence and despite their disadvantaged back ground, I am confident they will make the grade.
Stig, with his usual generosity, invited these four young men to dinner in the town in celebration of their graduation and their achievements and contribution to the workshop over the years … and what a wonderful and most memorable evening it was. When we staggered out of the restaurant … which stayed open very late especially for us … the town was in darkness and the streets deserted and had it not been for a most friendly Tuk Tuk driver who had agreed in advance to stay late, we would have had a very long walk home!
It goes without saying that everyone enjoyed Stig’s visit and He, Anna and Nassim … who also spent a lot of time in the workshop, interacting and bonding with the boys … will be welcome back at the Workshop any time they like.
That about sums up the last couple of months and all the boys will agree that it was a great Summer Holiday! However, they are now gearing up to start the new term on 1st September … and are ready to go back. In the Workshop we will be introducing some new subjects, catering for the more advanced students as well as taking in 6 new students to replenish our dwindling numbers. The departing students will be sorely missed but there are many others ready and able to take up the reigns and they are all excited at taking on the role of TOP STUDENTS … and I am absolutely confident that they will do a sterling job.