Lao New Year 0189
Set at the confluence of two rivers that almost surround the town, and beneath a temple-topped hill, Luang Prabang is a wonderful patchwork of traditional Lao wooden houses and hints of European architecture - reminders of when Laos was part of the French colony of Indochine. Golden-roofed wats (temples), decorated with mosaics and murals of the life of Buddha, sit under the gaze of wrap-around teak balconies and 19th century shuttered windows. All of this is set against a backdrop of verdant greenery and rugged mountains.[1]


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Volunteers and students at MEC


Focus: 'Laos is one of the poorest countries in the world. It has been proven that to drag a country out of its poverty, people must be educated - this includes both boys and girls.' The Mekong English Language Centre provides English language classes for as little as US 80c per lesson in order to ensure that as many students as possible can afford to study there. Established in 2005 by Claus Haumer the Centre has grown to 450 students and now operates out of two locations in Luang Prabang. It is hoped that graduates will be sufficiently proficient in English to eventually find employment in Laos' burgeoning tourism industry or with non-government aid organisations.

Skills: Experienced English language teachers or 'kind and generous people with no teaching experience whatsoever'.

Intake status: Open

Costs: US $150/month contribution to the Volunteer Co-ordinator's salary plus $200-350/month for budget guesthouse accomodation. Travel and health insurance compulsory (or $33/month extra). Training is included.

Accommodation: Own room and private bathroom in a centrally located guesthouse.

Locality: Ban Pongkham village (within Luang Prabang township).

Contact: Inlaeng Vongsouvanh (Director) tel: 020 5557 0683 email:

Claus Haumer (English Trainer) tel: 020 5616 0619 email:


Village children at a Book Party


Focus: Big Brother Mouse started in 2006, publishing "books that make literacy fun!" Now they also publish books that provide older readers with access to the information, ideas, and pleasure that people in many other countries take for granted. Until now, few books were published in the Lao language. Many people in Lao villages never saw a book. Big Brother Mouse is already rectifying that but still has much more work to do.

Skills: Good conversational skills in order to help with English language practice sessions[4]

Intake status: Open

Costs: Nil

Accommodation: Own arrangements

Locality: Near Wat Nong (Temple), Luang Prabang (Old Town)[5]

Contact: email: tel: 071 254 937