Social Cycling Programs

A FairTrek Community Initiative

As part of Tiger Trails’ responsible travel and community initiative ‘FairTrek’, we are expanding fundraising programs and efforts to assist rural communities on the outskirts of Luang Prabang. FairTrek currently provides various types of support to villages throughout Laos, including construction of housing for the school teacher in Nong Khuay and developing community workshop initiatives in Long Lao Mai.

We have identified 3 programs that need financial support. The programs selected for the first round of support have immediate, long lasting impact. Our hope is to supplement our current funding of these plans through the generosity of cyclists and moto riders. Upon booking tours with BikingLaos or MotoLao, clients have the option to donate $50, $25, or $10 per person per tour to these causes.

Community Workshop and Teacher’s House in Huay Fai Village

FairTrek are proud to launch the first Recycled Water Bottle Build in Laos!

Current progress on the Recycled Water Bottle Build in Ban Huay Fai, left to right; interior of the roof at present, beginning construction of the structure, aligning bottles to illustrate the future composition of the walls
Current progress on the Recycled Water Bottle Build in Ban Huay Fai, left to right; interior of the roof at present, beginning construction of the structure, aligning bottles to illustrate the future composition of the walls

The building and surrounding space will be an area with exhibitions of local crafts, as well as a place for tourists to participate in skills or handicraft lessons. On the far side of the building is a picnic area with a Strawberry Wall.

Roof weaving,  black smithing, cookery and preserving, bamboo bow making, rattan ball making, and coconut leaf hat making are just some of the lessons or workshops villagers will use the space for. Families within the community are excited to share their skills with the tourists. Funds raised by teaching classes and demonstrations goes directly to the families.

This program empowers the community, particularly women, and creates opportunities for Micro businesses. There are over 80 families in the village. With this scheme, every household has the opportunity to benefit.

In addition to the community Recycled Water Bottle building, the village has asked us to  construct a house for the school teacher. At present, from Monday to Friday the teacher lives with a host family, but it would be beneficial to construct a basic one room structure so the family is no longer burdened with host duties.

Plans for Huay Fai beyond the Recycled Water Bottle buildings include a social enterprise scheme for the production of sustainable high quality bamboo water bottles. The community workshop site will be used to train interested villagers to manufacture the bottles. Revenue generated from the sale of the bottles will be distributed to the families and the community fund for improvements to village infrastructure including health care. Funds are required for tools, training, and design work.

Trekking into Ban Houy Fai
Trekking into Ban Houy Fai

Huay Nok Water Supply Project

This project is an absolute necessity for the 468 people of Houay Nok. Due to the drying of their primary water source and continued problems with limescale, villagers are at present walking a considerable distance to collect their daily water. At present the water supply and the water tank in the centre of the village cannot provide enough safe clean water for the community. A plan has been put in place to utilise a secondary source 2km away from the village.

Construction of the concrete water tank that we must source material for and laying 2 km of plastic polypipe from the source are only the beginning. An ‘off the grid’ ram pump must be included to assist in the delivery of the water uphill and into the main tank in the village. Due to the lack of use of the existing standpipes, it will also be necessary to service the pipework from the tank to the standpipes.

During a recent inspection of the site and look at the developmental needs of  the village, the Chief has given his support to the project and informed us that due to the urgency of the project the village would be very happy to provide all the resources at their disposal to help achieve the project goal.

The whole village are ready to help.

It was apparent at the inspection of the village that there is a great deal of potential for Houay Nok. Very easily, the village can increase its capacity and reinvent itself as a very convenient homestay village owing to its proximity to a great jungle trail that connects Houay Nok to Houay Fai and the Nam Khan River. Once on the Nam Khan, it is only a short kayak journey from Luang Prabang.

Currently this project is 50% complete. A new tank at the source has been made and a portion of the pipe has been laid.

Eye Tests and Glasses for the Elders of San Oudom

San Oudom is a community 35 km from Luang Prabang that has little access to health care. The village has an aging population and the one and a half hour trip to the city for medical checkups is arduous and uncomfortable.

FairTrek has found an optician who is willing to travel to the village and conduct eye tests on all community members over the age of 55. Additionally, he will distribute eye wear to people who would benefit. We are hoping to have the resources to offer financial assistance in the instance any serious eye conditions are diagnosed.