Students give Laos village gift of fresh water

Students give Laos village gift of fresh water
NTU students digging a 2.5km-long trench to aid in the delivery of water in Na Phong village in Vientiane, Laos.

LAOS - More than 400 villagers in a remote area of Laos will no longer have to trudge up a mountain to get fresh water, thanks to the efforts of a group of young Singaporeans.

The Nanyang Technological University (NTU) students spent six months building pipes, trenches and tanks to deliver water about 2.5km from a mountain stream to the Na Phong village in Vientiane province.

The project began last December as part of the school's Overseas Exposure Programme and was completed earlier this month.

At a ceremony recently to hand over the system in the village, its 46-year-old chief Phaithoon Hanvilat said the readily available water would improve the residents' lives and help them grow their crops.

He said: "Sometimes during the dry season from March to June, we would get a bad harvest for the year and there was nothing much we could do about it.

"The joy we experienced when this project was confirmed is beyond words."

More than 130 NTU students travelled to Laos in groups for several weeks at a time and slept on mattresses in the villagers' homes.

Civil engineering student Jeremy Su, 23, said: "It was like a homestay. All of the meals were in the village too."

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