LAOS - Making change happen in BolikhamxayThe stories of Phailana Mounjampy and Phouvilay Thadavong, the teachers from Bolikhamxay province
Phailana is standing in front of her class, smiling and confident. The students are looking up to her and listen as she is explaining the difference between white wine and red wine and how they accompany various dishes.
Seeing her interact with her students and hearing her talk about the service sector with such passion, you would not have guessed that there was a time she did not feel so comfortable teaching.
"In the beginning, I was much more nervous," says the 22-year-old, "but through practice I have become more and more confident." Phailana Mounjampy, The young teacher is giving classes to students of the diploma in Food and Beverage Services at Bolikhamxay Technical School in Paksan. The school also offers a diploma in Food Production which is taught by teacher, Phouvilay.
Phailana (left) and Phouvilay (right). Credit Phoonsab Thevongsa
Both of them were recruited after they respectively completed the diplomas in Food and Beverage Service Operations and Food and Beverage Production Operations at the Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (LANITH). They were recipients of a full scholarship for their studies provided by the LAO/029 - Skills for Tourism Project.
Telling us about their experiences, the young women fondly recollect what they liked most about their time at LANITH.
“I learned the real art behind the service sector, from setting up tables to greeting guests” explains Phailana. “And I started to approach things in a more structured way,” she says. “They were also very strict,” exclaims Phouvilay, adding, “but in a good way. And they treated all students equally, which I really appreciated.”
While Phailana had a clear vision of her future from the start and applied for the scholarship the moment she heard of it, Phouvilay’s path was not as straightforward. Unsure about working in the service sector, Phouvilay submitted her application with some hesitation. Yet, in spite of the programme’s competitiveness and high number of applicants, she made the cut!
With a cheeky smile she recalls the moment she received the offer. "I almost dropped my papaya salad," she chuckles. Much to her own surprise, Phouvilay came to like the course and it sparked a real interest in her for the hospitality sector.
Both teachers hope to kindle the same enthusiasm among their students. Phouvilay goes on to clarify: "Before I started at LANITH, I had no idea about European or international food, I never even tried it before. It really opened my eyes!” It is that kind of passion and curiosity she now wants to instill in her students. “I see myself in them,” she says. “That’s why I want to keep them motivated and show them all the different opportunities that the sector has to offer.” Phailana nods in agreement, “I get so happy when I see my students progressing. That’s the best part of being a teacher!”
The diplomas in Food and Beverage Service Operations and Food and Beverage Production Operations at the Lao National Institute of Tourism and Hospitality (LANITH) were supported by the Skills for Tourism Project (LAO/029), to provide people from disadvantaged backgrounds with the knowledge and skills to find their first job in the tourism and hospitality sector.
The Skills for Tourism Project is co-financed by the Governments of Lao PDR, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Switzerland, and implemented by the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) of Lao PDR and LuxDev, the Luxembourg Development Cooperation Agency.↑ To the top