Scholarships and Support for students in Laos

by Global Vision International Charitable Trust
Vetted

Dear Supporters, 

Every year, GVI Laos organizes a challenge to raise money to support our current and future programs, and this year was no different.From 23- 27 May we hosted our Annual 5am for 5 days Charitable Trust Challenge

The objective of this challenge was for volunteers to commit to waking up at 5am for five days to give Alms to local Monks and Novice Monks. This was done to raise funds to support our education and community programs, including the expansion of our Women’s Empowerment Program, educational sponsorships, infrastructure and basic needs and medical support for our students and the local community.

What is Alms Giving?

It is a tradition practiced by many local Lao people and is characterized by the giving of donations, usually food, to Monks and Novice Monks at approximately 5am every day. Local people kneel respectfully at the side of the road, with a scarf over their left shoulder. Processions of Monks and Novice Monks from local temples pass by carrying their Alms bowls. The locals raise their baskets (commonly filled with sticky rice) to their forehead; blessing their offerings before carefully placing a portion in each Monk or Novice Monk’s Alms bowl as the numerous processions walk by. Lao Buddhists believe that Alms givers gain merit which you take with you into your next life. For Novice Monks, collecting Alms is also vital as Alms are their main source of food.

This May, GVI Laos’s passionate in-country volunteers and staff were sponsored by families, friends, former volunteers,GVI alumni and generous international donors to participate in this traditional practice alongside the local community.

We chose to give Alms at temples where many of our Novice Monk students live. It was wonderful to see their faces light up at the sight of their teachers waiting to give Alms; showing their respect for the local traditions. Each morning, the volunteers sat side-by-side with the local community and received blessings from the Monks and Novice Monks following their donations. On three occasions, volunteers were invited into temple grounds to donate Alms and receive blessings from various Monks and Abbotts (Head Monks).

After 5 days of early rising, the volunteers were exhausted but extremely honoured to have had the opportunity to be immersed in Lao culture while helping to raise funds for our projects in Luang Prabang. A huge thank you to everyone who contributed! With your support, we were able to raise $2000 USD that will allow us to maintain and develop our education and community development programs in Luang Prabang and surrounding areas.

With Gratitude, 

GVI Laos

Links:

Thank you from our female-only class!
Thank you from our female-only class!

Dear Supporters, 

We can't believe that it is already the end of April, but we are so pleased to let you know that things are going very well here in Luang Prabang. This is how we have used your generous donations so far this year. 

Sponsorship

  • 1 student's annual tuition fees at Mekong English Centre
  • 2 student's for the first quarter at ARDA English Centre
  • 1 student's annual tuition fees for Chinese School

General Support

  • Monthly food supply for 8 of our sponsored students 
  • Transportation for our 8 sponsored students to return to their village to visit families
  • Basic needs support for 3 long-term novice students who were leaving the temple
  • Classroom rental for the first quarter for our female-only class
  • Assistance so that a student could get his documents that he needed for an educational scholarship. 

The impact that your donations make to the student's lives is amazing. We are so grateful to you, that we are able to continue offering so much support to these deserving and dedicated students. All of the students that we are able to support are afforded such peace of mind knowing that they can focus on their studies so that they may become better equipped to study further and be more employable. 

Soon we will be starting out annual 5am for 5days challenge. We join in the local alms giving ceremony for 5 consecutive mornings in an effort to raise enough money for the sponsorships that are due later in the year. 

With Gratitude, 

GVI Laos

Links:

Using our new computers in the classroom
Using our new computers in the classroom

Dear Supporter, 

Thank you! We have managed to buy 8 brand new computers for our students to use and we all couldn't be happier. 

We have been using the laptops in our Novice Monk classes, female only workshops, the children's English classes and the adult college classes. The focus of the lessons is computer literacy. Many of our students come from rural Laos and have never before used a computer so we must start with the basics such as parts of the machine, terminology and basic functions.

We have been teaching the students how to type, put together and present presentations using PowerPoint, research and write college reports, watch educational videos, create CVs and cover letters, use the Internet and how to appropriately use social media. It's been busy!

As well as teaching the students computer literacy, we are also using the laptops as a tool in our English language classes. Do you recall that we purchased an entire new set of English textbooks last year? Well, we are in the process of installing the interactive DVDs that came with the books onto each of the laptops. This means that the students can take quizzes and use the listening activities provided. 

It is rare in Laos to use, or have access to, technology in the classroom, so we are thrilled to be introducing our students to new, exciting ways to learn using manipulative and a kinaesthetic approach. 

Thank you for making this possible!

With Gratitude, 

GVI Laos

Thanks to YOU!
Thanks to YOU!

Links:

Look at our new textbooks!
Look at our new textbooks!

Dear Supporter,

This month GVI Laos has introduced an element of excitement and relevance to their classrooms by putting money raised at our recent Charitable Trust Challenge towards upgrading our textbooks.

Twice a year we hold Temple Hunt Challenges to raise funds for specific programs and resources. This year we decided to fundraise for new sets of textbooks that are more contemporary, relevant and up to date with the latest TEFL research. This March our volunteers and staff, sponsored by friends, family and supporters of our project, formed teams and took to the streets of Luang Prabang in a race to find all the temples listed in their booklets.

The day was a huge success and we were able to raise $1262.06 USD. After researching and purchasing the student and teacher copies of beginner, elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate and advanced sets of the ‘Face 2 Face’ series, they travelled from the US in the suitcase of one of our Field Staff Members. This month these textbooks have entered the classrooms!

These wonderful textbooks provide our volunteers with comprehensive guidance on teaching each topic. They include useful techniques for teaching grammar, listening activities, role play activities that draw from the communicative approach to TEFL and exciting relevant content for everyday use of English.To account for the large numbers in our classes, our staff and volunteers have been busy creating eye-catching sustainable resources to correspond with each unit that will be used by volunteers and students long into the future.

Currently, the textbooks are being used in 8 of our classes at Pha O temple, all of our free Novice Monk English classes and in our 2 girls’ only classes. 

It is wonderful to see how the money donated and the efforts of all involved can have such a positive impact for our students and re-inspire them to learn and engage in the English language.

Thank you for your support and generousity!

With Gratitude, 

GVI- Laos

Our new textbooks
Our new textbooks

Links:

A visit out to Ms. Keo
A visit out to Ms. Keo's home

Dear Supporter,

Recently the volunteers who joined us in Luang Prabang have been able to experience a number of cultural and religious activities, which helps them to better relate to the students that they teach, strengthen their understanding of Laos culture and provides a different perspective of their students and surroundings.  

GVI Laos partner and Luang Prabang entrepreneur, KK, gave a culture talk about women’s changing role in Laos. She detailed her story about searching for self-determination while living in a deeply traditional Lao society where the woman’s role is still often confined to the private sphere. Drawing on her story, she was able to give volunteers significant awareness regarding gender roles in Laos, and provide an understanding about the cultural and social barriers faced by women in relation to education and economic participation.

Ms. Keo is a Lao teacher who has joined us on the National Scholarship Program (NSP). Ms. Keo has been conducting Lao lessons twice a week for the volunteers. This rare opportunity to learn Lao from a native speaker has been a wonderful cultural experience and has allowed volunteers to put themselves in their students’ shoes; providing them with valuable insight into the difficulties of learning a language. Volunteers have then applied this new understanding to the lesson planning process and adjusted teaching techniques to reflect this.

Ms. Keo also gave a culture talk about the education system in Laos and the realities associated with balancing the pressure to securing basic needs and seeking an education in a developing country. Additionally, the volunteers also had the unique opportunity to visit Ms. Keo’s farm located in a village across the Mekong River where few tourists explore. They were shown around the farm; they learned about the process of growing mushrooms in a sustainable way, how to fish with a net, and discussed the benefits and difficulties associated with farming in Laos. They then received a Lao cooking lesson and left with full bellies, tired feet but happy hearts.

Finally, volunteers and staff were lucky enough to be invited to two temples. The first was at Wat Boupha Vipassnaram where they participated in the daily chanting and meditation. The second was at Wat PasaViet, where volunteers were invited by a student and ex-novice to attend their candlelight ceremony for the beginning of Buddhist Lent. 

These experiences have allowed volunteers to better relate to their students and strengthened their understanding of religion and culture in Laos. 

Thank you for your continued support!

With Gratitude, 

GVI-Laos

Buddist Lent ceremony
Buddist Lent ceremony

Links:

 

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Organization Information

Global Vision International Charitable Trust

Location: Exeter, Devon - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.gvi.org
Project Leader:
Kate Robey
St Albans, Herts United Kingdom

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