Visit Luang Prabang’s Deaf & Mute Community Training Center for affordable textiles, tasty food, or a quick tune up.
When asking about the area of Luang Prabang south of Stade de Luang Prabang (aka “the Stadium”), most people mention the Bowling Alley or the Hospital. However, there are other reasons to take a ride to the Ban Phoumock area. Coffee lovers can get a strong caffeine fix. Textile lovers can visit a weaving, spinning, & sewing center. Both moto riders & cyclists can have their rides looked after. Even restaurant or hotel owners can stock their kitchens. All conveniently located in one facility, the Luang Prabang Deaf & Mute Community Training Centre, peacefully distant from the bustling peninsula.
Laos is home to many socially responsible efforts such as those undertaken by Pedal with Purpose. However, the approach at the Deaf & Mute Training Center is different. Eleven years ago, the Training Centre opened with the humble goal to provide government education for differently abled students from Northern Laos. Today there are about 80 students between 8 & 20 years old training with the goal of education to self-sufficiency. The students residing there receive schooling according to government requirements & professional training. Graduates are able to provide fully for themselves.
Skills Training for Success
In the morning, students attend government schooling. After lunch, the Training Centre truly comes alive. The weaving & textile studio fills up with the sounds of the sewing machines & working looms. In the garage, mechanics follow along as their instructor guides them through more complicated fixes while checking over completed tasks like tire replacement, oil changes, or bicycle gear fixes.
The garden onsite is a nod to the idea of self-sufficiency. While it has existed as long as the Centre, it hasn’t always been so large. The garden grew as the need grew. Now, not only does the garden allow the opportunity for students to learn how to raise produce for their personal use, but it is also used to teach business skills. Daily harvests serve 3 purposes; student meals, meals served to the public at the cafe, & to sell to local businesses.
Two years after the Training Centre opened, their textile program started. The main floor of the textile area holds 12 floor looms. In the corner is a spinning wheel where students take the yarn they have learned to dye & spin it into use for the weavers. Behind that, windows open into the sewing machine area. Consequently, such a complete program means students can make truly one of a kind products from start to finish.
Finding the Luang Prabang Deaf & Mute Community Training Centre
However you choose to get there, it’s easy to spot the signs for the Training Centre; just look for the hand logo! Tuk tuk drivers know the Bowling Alley so use that as a good reference location if that is your mode of transport. On the other hand, it’s very easy to find on foot, moto, or bicycle. If you’re coming from the Stadium, take the first left towards the Bowling Alley. Just before the Bowling Alley, on the same side of the road, you will see the hand logo signs. You can contact them here for further information. Operating hours are Monday – Saturday 8am-5pm. They regularly have shopping events that are advertised through their Facebook page.