Scholarships and Support for students in Laos

May 20, 2014

5am for 5 days Challenge

Dear Supporter,

It's that time of year! Our third annual 5am for 5days challenge will run from May 12th-16th 2014. The annual challenge gets to the heart and sou of Buddhist Lao culture and Luang Prabang ritual practice.  For 5 days (teaching days Monday – Friday), in-country volunteers and staff will give alms to monks and novices.  Although this is something many volunteers elect to observe or take part in at least once during their project, our commitment to a 5 day alms-giving stint is in line with local habits; most locals, especially women, give food to the procession of passing Buddhist temple inhabitants every single day, with starts at early as 5am!

It is the biggest fundraising event of the year for the team and is vital for being able to continue supporting our students for the full year. GVI Laos raises money to provide sponsorships for English tuition, scholarships for Secondary and Tertiary education and general support for medical issues for disadvantaged students.  In addition, the annual CT Challenge provides an injection of much-needed funds in support of the Lao community and temples with which we are connected.  

To find out more and keep up to date with the challenge through the week, please do follow the GVI Laos team on facebook ( or twitter (

All the best

GVI Laos


Mar 4, 2014

Xayadeth Holidays Classes

Dear Supporter,

In January, the students at Xayadeth College were given a month of holiday time between the 2 semesters. The GVI staff came up with the idea of offering holiday classes so the students would not lose an entire month of studying English. We encouraged the students who needed more practice and assistance to attend these classes so they could receive extra help from a trained GVI teaching volunteer.

Our holiday classes were small in size but this benefited the students by having more individual support from the volunteers. We are proud of the students who took this opportunity to continue learning over their holiday break. The second semester of the school year started in February and we are already looking forward to holding further holiday classes in the future.

Recent donations have also been used to sponsor 8 students to attend MEC (Mekong English Centre) for 12 months, 1 Novice for Maths classes and classroom rental for 2 Novice Classes. All this has helped to assist further tertiary education opportunities for these students who would otherwise not have the chance.

Thank you for making this happen!

All the best

GVI Laos

Dec 31, 2013

Thank you from Luang Prabang

Kho khob chai than

Thank you from the team in Laos for all your support in 2013! We thought for this report, we would give share with you a the life of a novice monk in their own words, so you can fully understand the culture and context of this project.

If you become a Novice Monk, first you have to study about the Pali language, second, Buddhist teaching and third, meditation. All this things are very important for Novices.

When you become a Novice, you must change everything, such as clothes, body and mind. Buddhist people are not allowed to suggest another person should  believe in Buddhism. If people want to know, they have to learn by themselves. Buddha says every religion is very good, and people can choose what they would like to believe. After you become a Novice for a long time, it depends on you which subject you want to study next. Like me, now I'm studying English, Japanese, and Chinese. I also study the Lao language at the Monk’s school. At the Monk’s school we have twelve subjects, sometimes making me crazy about studying so many things. 

Novices and Monks usually practice meditation. When they practice meditation, they have to be calm and peaceful. For example, while they are practicing walking meditation their mind must not be thinking about their family, work or the world. If they don't have an empty mind they can't call it meditation.  They have to stop thinking about their work, family and friends. But they have to think about the present moment and be aware of their body and their breathing. 

On the weekend, Novices usually work around their temples. At their temples, they have a leader Novice when they work around the temple. He usually gives advice to the small Novices. Some Novices sweep around the temple's yard, some Novices clean around the temple, and some Novices cut the firewood in the forests. Some days they work very hard, but some days not as hard. Most Novices get very tired except the old Monks because they study about Buddhism instead of working. 

The lives of Novices and Monks in the temple are very busy. They spend many hours working, studying and practicing meditation.

I hope this shows the amazing attitude the students have towards life and studying, given the opportunities and scholarships that your support and donations provide. The students have such a passion for learning that it makes it hard to not be motivated and inspried by their attitudes and commitment.

Thank you for your support and see you in 2014 with more students and novices!

All the best
GVI Laos


Dec 3, 2013

Xayadeth Students Graduation Ceremony

Dear Supporter,

Recently, the graduation ceremony for the Year 3, 2012-2013 students was held. This special event held in the Performance Centre of the Luang Prabang Museum is a significant day for the Xayadeth students. After studying for 3 years part-time and upon successful completion of assessments, the graduating students received a Diploma of English.

GVI assisted with the students education at Xayadeth include volunteers ctively observing students’ learning and address gaps in students’ knowledge. GVI volunteers are taught in their training sessions to consider teaching techniques that encourage maximum participation and challenge for all students in all language areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening and through the support of Trust donors, we have an extensive range of resources and text books to support the set curriculum of Xayadeth College.

I hope you will join the GVI Charitable Trust in congratulating the graduating students of 2013. We hope that these students’ lives are enhanced by the teaching and support they received from GVI volunteers and donors.

Thank you for making a difference this year for these students. We hope to continue with your support and see more students graduate next year!

All the best

Sophie Birkett


Sep 6, 2013

Fishponds and Floorboards

Dear supporter, 

Fishponds and floorboards were the order of the day for our construction volunteers during July 2013!

The School for the Deaf requested that GVI assist several of its students to build an extra fish pond 5m x 3m. GVI was thrilled to offer this unique experience of working alongside Lao students who have deafness to our 2 British female construction volunteers. 

The School for the Deaf in Luang Prabang teaches its students both the standard Secondary School Curriculum and a life skills program. It aims to ensure that its students are both educated and trained in practical skills before they return to their villages at the end of their period of time with the School. The students raise several species of fish which serve as food for them and they hope to eventually be able to sell mature fish as an income earner for the many expenses the school incurs.The second construction project was less glamorous but necessary and long overdue. A skilled volunteer undertook the challenging job of repairing and replacing broken floor boards in the classrooms and administration room of the Primary School for Novices at Wat Mano.

This completed job now means that the Novices’ or Teachers’ feet aren’t in danger of slipping through the holes! Thank you for supporting this project

Many thanks

Sophie Birkett


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Project Leader

Sophie Birkett

GVI Charitable Trust Manager
St Albans, Herts United Kingdom

Where is this project located?

Map of Scholarships and Support for students in Laos