Education

Making Change in the Mekong

3 Apr , 2018   Video

Film for Change Aotearoa New Zealand produced this short film about my work in Laos establishing computer education programs to raise awareness of opportunities to support sustainable, grass-roots education efforts in Laos to change peoples lives. Other volunteers and I work with Lao teachers to provide free education for impoverished students and you can read more […]

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Culture

Lao people display incredible strength, living with 80 million unexploded bombs

22 Nov , 2017   Video

“This Little Land of Mines,” a documentary by American University Student Fellow Erin McGoff, is now accepting donations through the Independent Filmmaker Project. As the production enters its second phase of filming, it is looking for support from viewers who want to see the development of the full-length documentary. “This Little Land of Mines” documents the […]

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Culture

Boun Lai Heua Fai (Festival of Light Boats) 2017

18 Oct , 2017   Video

ພາບບັນຍາກາດບຸນໄຫຼເຮືອໄຟ ທີ່ຫຼວງພະບາງ 2017 Boun Lai Heua Fai (Festival of Light Boats) 2017, the most beautiful time of year in Luang Prabang with the temple all lit up to celebrate the end of Buddhist Lent.

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Culture

Cats and dogs left over after rain

15 Oct , 2018   Gallery

Well the rainy season in Laos has ended and it was a bad season. There is a lot of damage to roads and of course, there was the Dam collapse in Attapeu on 23 July. It’s not raining cats and dogs and more but there are a lot of cats and dogs in Laos. They […]

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Travel

Fishing on the border

8 Oct , 2018   Gallery

Bokèo is a northern province of Laos. It is the smallest and least populous province in Laos. For most people they enter Bokeo when crossing via land from Thailand. I love going from Luang prabang up the Mekong River to Huay Xai, in Bokeo Province and into Thailand, it is a magic few days. I […]

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Travel

Stunning Laos – Together we thrive

31 Jul , 2018   Video

A beautiful video of Laos showing the stunning scenery and people that fill this magic country. Video by: Cedric Jean-Baptiste They say travelling is one of the best ways to grow and whilst true this only occurs if you reflect on the experience and learn from it. After going through hours of footage, this is what […]

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Travel

Beautiful Laos – Paradise seen from Heaven

5 Jul , 2018   Video

Filmed by: Christoph von Toggenburg Laos is covered in wild jungles, mirroring lakes, colourful rice paddies, beautiful temples, ancient ruins, amazing waterfalls and slow rivers. This short film takes you on a journey across Laos, captured from the air, showing this unique country from an entirely unseen perspective. Celebrating our engagement, my finacée Valentine and […]

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Education

Making hand washing stations in Luang Prabang, Laos

2 Jun , 2018  

As part of the community projects I help with at LEOT, we are often improving sanitation and washing facilities. Handwashing stations at schools are often lacking. Niew is our project man as well as helping administer the school in Luang Prabang. He recently returned from the capital Vientiane, where washing stations are manufactured. He went […]

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Education

Napao Primary School,Laos get painted

31 May , 2018   Gallery

Last month, Jeannette school staff, a Government education official and myself surveyed Napao primary school as we were told it needed supplies and a good paint. Painting a school not only instills pride in teachers and students but makes the rooms lighter as many rooms do not have good lighting. We found donors for the […]

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Education

A dream comes true to study in France

25 May , 2018  

Alounny Thammavongsavanh is a student studying at LEOT and she has written this short story. I’m 17 years old and I live in PhanLuang village. I’m a student in my final year at Pasathipatay school. It’s a bilingual school. I have been studying French for 10 years at primary and secondary school and then I […]

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Culture, Travel

Phousi Mountain – Luangs Prabangs sunset vantage point

7 Apr , 2018  

Phousi Mountain or Mount Phousi as some say is a hill located in the centre of town in the heritage area, located on the peninsula between the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. The “sacred hill” is about 100 meters high. Many tourists climb the hill about 5.30pm to view the sunset so it gets rather […]

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Education

Rural villages need more books

2 Apr , 2018  

I joined in a visit to a remote village school to take them books. The Luang Prabang libary runs a book bag program at the library on the night market street. People can purchase books and put them in a bag and when there are enough they are taken to a village. The books are […]

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Culture

Special guests in Luang Prabang

2 Apr , 2018  

I was very lucky to recently have my mother and brother travel to Luang Prabang to visit me. The week was wonderful and we saw some of the spectacular sites Luang Prabang has to offer as well as spending time helping at school.   We also visited the famous Pak Ou caves and the Luang […]

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Travel

Finding magic on Luang Prabang’s doorstep.

1 Apr , 2018  

I have always enjoyed crossing the Mekong on the car ferry or boat to the ‘other side’. I often go for a walk over here in Chomphet District in the Village of Xiengmene. Chomphet district is a poor area and many projects are needed in this area. See recent posts for recent projects in this […]

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Culture, Education

Help Novice Bountay help a village school

31 Mar , 2018  

Novice Bountay is an inspiring person. He has been a student at LEOT (a free charity school) for 2 years now and excels in our computer class. Like other Novices, he goes to Buddhist high school each day and somehow manages to find time to study English, photography and a number of other interests. Read […]

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Education

What’s David doing in the office

31 Jan , 2018  

A teacher snapped this photo of me sitting at my ‘new’ desk one of a few pieces of furniture donated to us that we needed. I am very much focused on getting the computer lessons ready for the new teaching term starting soon. We teach Microsoft Office and general computer skills such as safety, internet […]

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Education

Everyone likes a free lunch in Laos

28 Jan , 2018  

With school opening very soon we have been busy in recent months revising and updating teaching materials and running a host of teacher training. With an increasing number of visitors popping into school, from seeing the small sign on the street, we did a role play one lunch time with each teacher introducing the school […]

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Culture

Watch the new covert war doco through the stories of Hmong elders

26 Jan , 2018  

Not many people know about the secret war in Laos and the way it affects local people’s lives today in 2018. Many centres have a UXO centre which have information, bombs, and interesting videos. If you visit Luang Prabang you can be sure I’ll take you to the small, interesting UXO centre. The recent documentary by […]

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Education

Two bikes donated to school

18 Jan , 2018  

Helen and Dan came to Laos on their bikes from England and didn’t fancy taking them home. They were looking for a good cause and came across our school website so I met them on Saturday afternoon to gladly accept their generous donation on behalf of the school. We have 300 students and nearly 30 […]

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Culture

Long Chieng – off-limits for 50 years

13 Jan , 2018  

Abandoned in 1975 in one of the last acts of the war, Long Chieng was once the busiest airport in the world and has been off-limits for 50 years. Home to Lao Air Force T-28 bombers and Pilatus Porters, Helio Couriers and an assortment of helicopters, mostly flown by Air America and Continental Air Services. […]

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Education

Students register and muck in for the new term

7 Jan , 2018  

Students have come from around Luang Prabang this past week to register for English and Computer classes for the new term starting in a few weeks. The school has been closed to students this last term as we await the signing to renew our license. During this time we have been developing the computer teaching […]

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Culture

Checking out new house builds in Luang Prabang

9 Dec , 2017   Gallery

Here are the teachers having some fun with sunglasses. One is currently building a house for his family in a local village and we drove our motorbikes there last week to share lunch and check our progress. Impressive progress has been made. It is amazing how much can be done in just a few weeks. It’s […]

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Culture

Weddings and Baby parties

4 Dec , 2017   Gallery

November has been a month of baby bacis and wedding parties. A Baci is ritual used to celebrate important events and occasions, like births and marriages and also entering the monkhood, departing, returning, beginning a new year. It involves chanting by an elder and tying strings around a person’s wrist to preserve good luck, and […]

Culture

China-Laos ties rise to a new level

2 Dec , 2017  

An Asian elephant from Laos is off landed to begin its life in a zoo in Dongguan, South China’s Guangdong Province on May 7, 2016. Photo: VCG Laos and China ties are strong and continue to increase. Article published in globaltimes.cn “Speaking Chinese will open up new opportunities for me. With many Lao people keen […]

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Education

Developing computer lessons in Laos

30 Nov , 2017   Gallery

These past few months the teachers and I have been busy working on refining the lessons and teachers guide for the coming year. The Introduction course is entering its third year of teaching now and the Elementary Computing course its second. It will be the first year it is taught to all students at that […]

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Education

A Happy Life – a story by a Lao teacher

27 Oct , 2017  

Chanh is an inspiring teacher at LEOT school where I volunteer. Here is his story of finding the opportunities LEOT brings. My given name is Bounchanh Sengdala, but Chanh for short. I was born in a poor family from a remote area. Fortunately, my family gave me a great opportunity to pursue my dream in […]

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Culture

The Giving ການໃຫ້ – a short film by novice monk students

25 Oct , 2017   Video

Another short film made by students in the summer 2017 film class @ My Library in Luang Prabang. MyLibrary has been around since 2003 started as an English support centre free for anyone to drop in and learn. As they say, it is an example of  “what happens when you give motivated users the materials […]

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Education, Travel

See what happens to this little girl

18 Oct , 2017  

I love this three-minute video that reminds us of the pleasures in life. It always brings a wee tear as I see the impact this mans simple generosity has had on people’s lives – especially the little girl who was finally able to go to school. Too many people live in these harsh situations and […]

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Culture

Vietnam Secret Ops Army Medic to Receive Medal of Honor from Trump

7 Oct , 2017  

President Donald Trump on Oct. 23 will award the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Gary Rose, an Army medic who was involved in secret operations in Laos during the Vietnam War. The Huntsville, Alabama, man during an assault on his unit in the jungles of Laos continued to treat wounded troops after being wounded himself, […]

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Travel

Wat Pa Houak, Phousi Mountain, Luang Prabang

2 Oct , 2017   Gallery

I have often seen this little temple at the base of the hill to the famous Phousi mountain. Phousi mountain is right in the middle of town and a popular place for tourists. There is a 150m walk to the top, a favourite spot for watching the sunset over a beautiful Luang Prabang. From the […]

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Education

School awards day 2017, Luang Prabang, Laos

1 Oct , 2017   Gallery

On a hot Saturday morning students, teachers, volunteers, and officials flocked to school for the annual awards day where students receive their much-admired certificates for their achievements from the prior year. The school year starts in September each year in Laos. The day started off with some fun games which everyone always enjoys and this […]

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Culture

Laos and Cambodia eliminate trachoma

1 Oct , 2017  

September 21, 2017, Helio.com Trachoma, the leading infectious cause of blindness worldwide, has been eliminated as a public health problem in Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, according to a WHO press release. WHO launched the Alliance for the Global Elimination of Trachoma by the year 2020 in 1997, and in 1998 the World Health […]

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Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash

Travel

Bus connects Nan and Luang Prabang from Oct 2017

27 Sep , 2017  

Luang Prabang in Laos will be connected with Nan by a bus service from Oct 1. (Post Today photo) State-owned Transport Co will introduce a minibus service between Nan and Luang Prabang next month. General manager Jeerasak Yaowatsakul said the new minibus service starting on Oct 1 would take about eight hours on a 373-kilometre […]

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Culture, Education

Lao teenagers beating poverty as novice monks

19 Aug , 2017   Gallery

Many of the students at the school I work at in Luang Prabang are novice monks. It is certainly a sight to behold – a classroom bathed in bright saffron robes beneath a sea of shaved heads (and eyebrows). People outside Laos find it interesting as to why so many novice monks come to school without […]

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Culture

Chinese bring safe drinking water to Laos village while building railway

16 Aug , 2017  

Parts of Laos do not have clean drinking water. The Chinese are building a railway through Laos over the next 5 years. One company has been recognized for helping a local village of 250 people providing safe drinking water. Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-09 00:38:46|Editor: Mu Xuequan VIENTIANE, Aug. 8 (Xinhua) — China’s Sinohydro Bureau 14 Co., Ltd […]

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Travel

Trip to Tad Sae waterfall

22 Jul , 2017   Gallery

I got an unexpected invite to join friends and their neighbours for a trip to Tad Sae waterfall this Sunday. I had heard these waterfalls, one of two in Luang Prabang, had been dry but now as it’s the beginning of rainy season I thought there may be some water on this hot day. Unlike […]

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Transferring skills to teachers in Lao schools

Education

Helping English students at a local school – Luang Prabang, Laos

14 Jul , 2017  

I helped out a small class of eager high school students with their English lessons last week.  During the high school break, these students are taking a holiday class to improve their English skills. They go a small school set up in someone’s home in the center of Luang Prabang where two small classes of […]

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Travel

Kayaking the Ou and Mekong river to Luang Prabang

4 Jul , 2017   Gallery

I decided this week to take a day off and go kayaking down the Mekong River from just north of Pak Ou caves. I’ve visited the caves a few times before but never via the Mekong or kayaking. So I joined a tour and set out by tuk-tuk about an hour north of Luang Prabang. […]

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laos-blood-donation

Culture

Giving blood – Lao Red Cross

25 Jun , 2017  

Recently I took a morning off work to catch up on a few errands. One of these was to make time to give blood at the Lao Friends Hospital Visitor Centre n Luang Prabang. It was a simple process and everyone was very friendly. I had a finger pricked and tests were taken and a […]

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Education

Fun games to learn team skills

17 Jun , 2017  

The programme that supports and helps inspire our students had their final gathering for the school year. So much fun was had as they played a game together where one person in each team was blindfolded. All three has to hold two pieces of string attached to a rubber band. All three had to use the rubber […]

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Culture

A day in a Buddhist Temple in Luang Prabang, Laos

11 Jun , 2017   Video

I love this temple, it always feels very peaceful. Tourists know Tak Bat as the age-old and picturesque daily Buddhist Alms Giving procession of the monks. This is a glimpse into daily life as a monk or novice and also a reminder to tourists how to behave at a temple and when observing Alms Giving. The […]

Novice monks trip in Luang Prabang Laos

Education

Student visit to Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden

4 Jun , 2017  

The Pha Tad Ke Botanical Gardens had an open day and we took some students across the Mekong River and downstream a little to these wonderful gardens that were opened about 2 years ago. You can see a diverse range of Lao flora and how people use plants in everyday life. They have a wonder […]

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Students complete computer exam in Laos school

Education

Students completed computer exams with good results

28 May , 2017  

This past week students have completed the end of year computer exams with very pleasing results. The exam consisted of a multiple choice test followed by a practical exercise where they had to create a  Word document utilising the skills they had learned this past school year. The elementary computing classes who come to school […]

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Education

Chasing your dreams

19 May , 2017  

This year school implemented a new mentor programme to support and inspire students in their life and work ambitions. A key aim is to provide extra support for those interested in helping students get better jobs. The Dream Catcher Mentor program meets each week during lunchtime. This week we had Teacher Mai come and share her […]

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Travel

Getaway to Northern Laos – Muang Ngoi

16 May , 2017  

This lovely photo was taken on the Mekong River in Luang Prabang before I was fortunate to be able to get away for 2 days to Nong Khiaw about 3 hours North Fron Luang Prabang. Nong Khiaw is a very small town divided by a bridge. It is very beautiful and most people take a […]

Education

A very cool music school in Luang Prabang

29 Mar , 2017  

The Music for everyone school (MES) give free music lessons and free use of instruments to help people who are interested in music so they can follow their interests. It is run by the very passionate Max who works with a team of Lao staff who run lessons in the three classrooms. They have fourteen acoustic […]

Education

Female Pilots breaking barriers

10 Mar , 2017  

Way to go girls! I hope your story inspires other Lao girls.

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Travel

Beware the voluntourists intent on doing good

3 Mar , 2017   Video

The term voluntourism refers to the growing phenomenon of individuals travelling to developing countries to carry out volunteer work.  They go for a week or two for a “project” — a temporary medical clinic, an orphanage visit or a school construction. Many go to teach English during high school, college vacations or during an OE/gap year. […]

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Culture

A glimpse into life in Luang Prabang

27 Feb , 2017   Video

In this 3 minute video, I show you a few scenes around Luang Prabang, life at the school where I volunteer and a brief insight to a village up river we got to by ‘long boat’. I will return soon to continue developing computer teaching programmes, running teacher training workshops and assisting Lao teachers in […]

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Food

What is the most delicious noodle soup in Laos?

21 Feb , 2017  

One of my greatest pleasures in Laos is eating some of the local soups. Kao soi is a must try. It’s available almost everywhere and a few street places are my favourite. Kao soi is a soup made with wide rice noodles, coarsely chopped pork, tomatoes, fermented soy beans, chillies, shallots, and garlic, then topped […]

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Culture

Women’s invisible burden

21 Feb , 2017  

The struggle for dignified and meaningful livelihoods in the informal sector in Lao PDR Key Facts: Women represent more than 90 per cent of vendors in fresh food markets across the country. Market vendors earn 100,000-500,000 LAK (12 – 62 USD) on a daily average. Women market vendors in Vientiane have faced exorbitant rent and […]

Education

What does teaching computing do to reduce poverty?

14 Feb , 2017  

    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. There are a number of education facilities in Laos and both Government run and private. The Lao education system is improving slowly and making good progress. The […]

Food

Where else can you dine like this?

24 Jan , 2017  

When I get time off, what better way to spend an afternoon than chilling out in a river hut? Just outside Luang Prabang, 30 mins up the Mekong river are a number of huts where you can relax and eat great Lao food and cool drinks. It does feel like a bit of a special treat to […]

Culture, Food

Nightlife in Laos – Eating at a Beer bar

21 Jan , 2017  

So what do local restaurants in Luang Prabang look like? Here is your intro to a local “Beer bar”. I enjoy the odd night out to a local restaurant to enjoy a meal and sometimes a few beers. The food is usually excellent and one of my favourites – sweet and sour whole fish (usually […]

Education

Two students get 100% in recent computer test

18 Jan , 2017  

We teach Saturday IT classes and two students who come to classes to learn more advanced Microsoft Office skills have achieved 100% in their recent test. David put together the programme in 2016 after consultation with local businesses in Luang Prabang. The course focuses on Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint and other topics such as anti-virus, safety […]

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Education

Teacher Lu’s story

10 Jan , 2017  

The School in Luang Prabang teaches English and Computer Studies to Lao students from disadvantaged families. The school is free and funded by donations. This is the story of Lu, the newest teacher at the school. “My name’s Lu. I was born on 12th March 1991 in a small village in the countryside, Xamneau district, […]

Culture

The UXO problem in Laos

22 Dec , 2016   Video

This is a great video by the COPE Centre Laos explains the unexploded bomb problem in Laos. The US Airforce in 1963 dropped the 1st bombs on Laos in what would be a 9 year Secret War. The daily reality is that 300 people a year are injured or killed by bombies (the small bombs released […]

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Culture

Cambodian Fishermen Hanging Up Nets as Laos Presses Ahead with Another Dam

15 Dec , 2016  

At the local fish market here along the banks of the Tonle Sap, the morning harvest is enormous. Prized catfish, among other species, dominate sales as buyers for restaurants pile in for the biggest and best on offer. Early business is brisk for the fish farmers who bred and reared their fish securely in ponds. […]

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Culture

Decades on, millions of unexploded American bombs left behind still kill and maim in Laos

5 Dec , 2016   Video

Special correspondent Mike Cerre offers a glimpse of life in Laos today and the mission to end the deadly legacy of the Secret War.

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Education

Lao students enjoy computer studies

21 Nov , 2016  

Well the last few months has flown by. My main task has been to write the stage 2 curriculum in computing and train the Lao teachers. The reality has seen me also fixing many computers for students and teachers, and even other schools. I visited local businesses to discuss what IT skills they need of […]

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