AAR Japan started a new project in the capital city of Vientiane in March 2012. In this new project, we have been cooperating with Lao Disabled People’s Association (LDPA) with the mission of improving the living environment of persons with disabilities (PWDs) by increasing their accessibility, and supporting their small-scale businesses for income expansion.
|June 28th, 2012 – Staff members of the AAR Japan Vientiane office that spearheads the new project in Laos (On the left is Noriyasu OKAYAMA and third from the left is Yumeka OTA)|
In response, AAR Japan has been moving forward with the construction of a multifunctional center for persons with disabilities since April 2012, as a base to spread the idea of “barrier-free” in Laos. In the center, an exhibition room of a barrier-free living environment will be set up and samples of slopes, bathrooms, and sliding doors are going to be displayed. Moreover, by having workshops that target PWDs and their families, administrators, and general citizens, we are planning to raise awareness of the project. The multifunctional center is planned to be completed this fall.
|June 27th, 2012 – Pictured about is the multifunctional center that is under construction in the capital city of Vientiane. The construction began at the end of April, and the framework has been completed as of now.|
After going through the specialist’s training on mushroom cultivation, the trainees started the actual work right away. Fertilizers such as rice bran, sugar, and magnesium sulfate are added to sawdust that acts as the culture medium and then evenly mixed. Then, the mixture is stuffed in bags and sealed. These bags are placed inside barrels that are tightly sealed and sterilized by heating for 6 hours, when the mushroom spores can be placed for growth (inoculation). This time, we planted oyster mushrooms, but in the future, we will grow different kinds of mushrooms depending on the cultivation season. After about a month upon inoculation, the mushrooms will start to sprout, and 3 months following that, they are ready to be harvested. The amount of mushrooms we can harvest from one bag at a time is 100~150g. We can harvest 3 or 4 times from the same bag during these 3 months.
|May 29th, 2012 – As part of the training, the trainees place the bags stuffed with mushroom culture inside a barrel and heat it for sterilization.|
We have produced 260 bags worth of mushrooms during the training. When we began their sales on July 4th, the local people came to buy them right away. The sales of the mushrooms started off really well at the price of 20,000 LAK (approximately 200 JPY) per kilogram. According to a customer, these mushrooms were were much fresher and cheaper than those sold at the market (cost is about 24,000 LAK per kilogram at the market, since the sellers must pay for space rental fee). Over the course of half a month since July 4th, there has been a harvest of 14 kg, equaling sales of 280,000 LAK (approximately 3,000 JPY). This particular group of trainees officially began cultivation and is now preparing another 2,500 bags of mushrooms.
|June 29th, 2012 – “It is encouraging to set up a business with fellow trainees,” says Khantaly, who participates in the mushroom cultivation training despite being unable to use the left half of her body.|
AAR Japan will continue to support PWDs in Laos by improving their living environment helping them boosting their income.
|May 28th, 2012 – In the mushroom cultivation training, the trainees first learn about the cultivation process before hands-on work.|
|May 29th, 2012 – The trainees evenly mix various ingredients and chemicals with the sawdust, which acts as the culture medium.|
|May 29th, 2012 – Khantaly fills a bag with the medium and seals it.(center left)|
|May 30th, 2012 – The bags are placed inside a barrel and sealed, which is then sterilized for 6 hours.|
|May 31st, 2012 – The mushroom spores are planted in the sterile cultural medium (inoculation)|
|July 5th, 2012 – After the spores are planted, the mushrooms start to grow in the stacked bags in about a month.|
|July 5th, 2012 – The mushrooms that were inoculated on May 5th 2012 were harvested for the first time on July 4th. Since then, they have been growing very well. On the right is Yumeka OTA of AAR Japan Vientiane office.|
|July 5th, 2012 – Local residents immediately came by to purchase the mushrooms. Noriyasu OKAYAMA of AAR Japan Vientiane office hands a bag of mushrooms to a customer. (far right)|