Hello, I am Novice Jailee. I am 17 years old. I am from a very poor farmer’s family. I have been living in the Pasaviet Temple since 2009. WOW! I am going to tell you some people who are special to me. I call them volunteer teachers. They are very talented and kind. Thank you so much for being wonderful teachers. I will remember them all forever. I have really enjoyed studying with you all. They have taught me so much. My English has improved a lot. I would like to say thank you so much for sending your volunteers to teach English in Pasa Viet and for being kind. Thanks a lot for helping us to learn English and being kind all the time. I wish you all the best for the New Year. May all your dreams come true.
Novice Jailee has been one of GVI Laos students for the 3 years that volunteers have been teaching at Wat Pasa Viet
Do you remember when you discovered the joy of reading? The power of a book to open doors to another world?
A proud achievement of GVI Laos for December 2012 was the installation of a small library in one of our classrooms at Wat Pasa Viet. A plan made between Satu Porgi, the late and respected Abbot of Wat Pasa Viet and the Manager of Laos GVI to establish a library at the temple has been fulfilled on a small scale at this stage. Whilst starting off small with one cane bookshelf stocked with reference, non-fiction and fiction books kindly donated by GVI volunteers, this small beginning sets the scene of things to come. Novice Jailee, a conscientious student and Novice holds the position of Head Librarian with Novice Jasmin being the assistant librarian.Most students in Laos learn to read from a teacher with a blackboard. The school may have some shared textbooks, but many children have never seen a book. Certainly they've never owned one, and they've never had a chance to discover the fun and power of reading. Wat Pasa Viet Novices are now the custodians of over 80 books. GVI Laos is proud of this achievement that increases the capacity for success in expanding the future opportunities of our students.
Donations received from the Charitable Trust has been sent to several of the temples where GVI volunteers teach English.
One of the temples that was a recipient was Wat Pha-O. This temple is outside Luang Prabang in a rural environment. It is a large and important temple that is home to over 270 Novices. The donation was presented to Monk Ongeo, the Abbot of the temple. Monk Ongeo stated that this donation would be put to the use of digging a bore to access water. The photos show Monk Ongeo with the donation and the work that has already commenced in digging the bore.
Other smaller donations included whiteboards for 2 other temples – Wat Na Luang and Wat Mano, and a third whiteboard was given to one of our Lao teaching partners, Mr Nii who conducts English classes in his home village in a traditional Hmong house.
A further donation was given to one of our favourite temples, Wat Pasa Viet, for the purchase of a wheelbarrow and cement for the Novices to firstly make the bricks and secondly build a fence on a section of the temple’s property.
The remainder of the Charitable Trust Challenge money will be held in reserve for future needs of sponsorships and scholarships to students and general support for the temples. Sincere thanks to all the volunteers, friends and families that donated to our Charitable Trust Challenge. Your money is doing good work to benefit others
Not only are we teaching English, but we are now also making improvements to the environment that the children are being taught in.
GVI Laos began its first construction project in August 2012 with one volunteer, David Bartlett. David was here for 2 weeks during August. The project target for this first time was to refurbish the classrooms at Wat Mano. The school at Wat Mano is the primary Novice Monk School. GVI has been teaching English at Wat Mano for over 2 years. Primary aged Novices complete their primary schooling at Wat Mano before commencing their secondary education at either Wat Pha-O or Wat Sipphouthabaht.
Due to lack of funds, the Primary Novice School had seen no improvements to the standard of the classrooms. The 2 classrooms at Wat Mano were in very poor condition – no wall covering, holes in the floor, poor lighting. The construction project involved the lining and painting of the classroom walls, repairing the floors, strengthening and painting the tables and benches.
The 2 weeks’ work was carried out just in time for the return of the 25 new students to the 2012-2013 academic year. GVI will be continuing to teach English at Wat Mano throughout 2012 – 2013.
A special feature of Wat Mano Primary School is the collaboration that has occurred between GVI and Mylibrary. Mylibrary is a well resourced and active library in Luang Prabang that also works with establishing libraries in schools. Mylibrary and GVI have worked together on a computer project at Wat Mano where the computers supplied by Mylibrary assist in the teaching and learning of English. Mylibrary supplied the computers, desks and programming whilst GVI installed a secure room for the computer space.
An aim of GVI is to work in partnership with locals and through this project, several partnerships were formed. The Director of the primary school and the Abbot of Wat Mano approved the work under GVI’s management and a local carpenter worked alongside the GVI volunteer. The outcome of this project are 2 brighter and better equipped classrooms for the Novices to study in and the Teachers to teach in.
A blog story on this project can be found at www.gvilaos.blogspot.com
For details on the projects on offer in Laos, see the website at http://www.gvi.co.uk/volunteer-in-laos
And we’re off and giving….Well, in case you hadn’t heard, GVI Laos is running the most awesome Charitable Trust Challenge ever! 13 volunteers and staff are getting up in the dark at 5am to give alms to the passing parade of some 150 Buddhist monks and novices in the daily ritual known in Lao as Tak Bat. Why would they do it? To inspire their friends, family, colleagues and strangers to donate to the Charitable Trust Challenge, which in Laos raises money to provide educational sponsorships and scholarships to disadvantaged young Lao students.
So, how is it all going you ask? Amazing! Day One saw everyone up really early, dressed resplendently in their sins and scarves (traditional alms-giving attire). Local elder, Chanpheng, had laid out mats along the road and provided ritual silver bowls to aid in the alms giving. Volunteers were loaded up with biscuits to offer – sticky rice being just a little too challenging for the uninitiated! – and participants proceeded to drop the little parcels into the collection bowls of the passing saffron procession. Tak Bat in Luang Prabang is sometimes distorted by tourists who fail to show proper respect (http://landlopers.com/2012/05/27/alms-luang-prabang-laos/ ) for the tradition and instead use it as another tourist attraction to be exploited. GVI are proud to reverse that tendency by ensuring volunteers are dressed in traditional garb, seated properly, follow all protocols under the watchful eye of the village elders, and refrain from the photo circus so common during the ceremony. It’s a delight to see!
So Day Two of a total of 5 mornings has been ticked off, and volunteers were rewarded this morning with a stunning sunrise on the journey home. With merit-making in abundance and £2555 raised by volunteers and staff – representing 50 donations to date and 51% to target – it has been a successful Challenge so far and looks set to be one of Laos’ best yet!
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GVI Charitable Trust Manager