Does anyone know of small community organizations that take on volunteers in Laos? I have searched online, and only found formal volunteer programs that have big fees. I can organize accomodation etc. myself..I will be in Laos soon, and any thoughts would be appreciated!
#1 megz has been a member since 6/11/2008. Posts: 2
Have a look at 'Stay another day Laos' (http://www.stayanotherday.org/). Also, we worked in a local school near Vang Vieng and at the Organic Farm there which is free but no accom or food provided. Short term available, its not the best organised but we had a great time. Check out http://www.laofarm.org/ I think for 3-4 months you would have to be willing/able to teach at the school but email them to find out. Also know of a great orphanage in Cambodia that needs teachers (its free also) if you make it that way - www.acodo.org.
Good luck, Nat
#2 natisafunkymonkey has been a member since 6/10/2008. Posts: 5
It seems unreasonable that you should have to pay 'big fees' to work as a volunteer.
If you can email me a brief resume plus some other details (email@example.com), I will try to help you organise something.
#3 agarlao has been a member since 13/6/2008. Posts: 30
Nat, and Megz (assuming you ended up going)-
How long did you work on the organic farm? Can you tell me more about this experience? I am thinking of going to work on the farm next year, so it would be cool to hear about what your experience was like!
#5 zwizki has been a member since 30/11/2009. Posts: 3
If you want to work on a farm, I'll bet I can arrange work on my father in laws farm and he'll probably let you stay at the house free of charge as well. A real homestay!!! I wouldn't want to do it, but if you want to see how the other half lives...
#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
There has been a discussion about this recently (this week)on the Trip Advisor/Laos forum, including comments on the Organic Farm volunteer option. Go to the forum and search for 'Volunteer opportunities in laos' or similar.
#7 agarlao has been a member since 13/6/2008. Posts: 30
We are heading over to the organic farm ourselves in a few weeks... will let you know how it goes.. We visited ACODO orphanage (previously discussed in this thread) and they were so sweet and in need of English teachers. So if you head to Siem Reap , give them a shout - they prefer you to apply directly to them... their posters are everywhere in Siem Reap so I am sure you can't miss them.
Mac- Thank you for your offer! I will think about it. I am not planning to travel for about 6 months... Why would you not want to work there?
Agarlao- Could you be more specific? I've done searches for volunteering, which is why I am on this thread. I cannot find the discussion of which you speak.
jojow25- I look forward to hearing about your experience! Did you plan ahead for the orphanage time, or did you just arrange it when you got into town?
#9 zwizki has been a member since 30/11/2009. Posts: 3
The thread for 'Volunteer Opportunities in Laos' on Tripadvisor.com is here:
#10 agarlao has been a member since 13/6/2008. Posts: 30
There are shows on each evening at the orphanage and you are invited to go and watch and talk with the project leader and speak to the kids... the show is important for their fundraising so it is appreciated if you donate a couple of bucks on the night. I think its a really great way for them to self sufficently fundraise.... anyway, i spoke with the project manager who told me that they do not recieve any sponsership and rely at the moment on this fundraiser show and some funds from Ireland... they have a really great set up and two of the english teachers had just left after a 4 week stint... he seemed to be sad that they left as they no longer had anyone to teach the kids english in the evenings... so i said i would spread the word if i came across anyone interested. I'm a careers advisor too so I said I would promote his cause when i do workshops on gap years etc... I will let you know how the mulberry organic farm goes in Laos. Good luck, Jo
I second the suggestion to check out "Stay Another Day". It has many options, and such a variety. My husband and I just emailed a few places today to volunteer in Luang Prabang. I will let you know how it goes!
#12 cheeco has been a member since 22/4/2009. Posts: 29
"Mac- Thank you for your offer! I will think about it. I am not planning to travel for about 6 months... Why would you not want to work there?"
Because rice farming is back breaking work and living in a Thai village is about as boring a place as you can live on the face of the earth. I've spent about 3 months there now, maybe a bit more, and there's nothing to do except work. No internet access, TV is horrible (would probably be worse if my Thai was better), the people are not particularly interesting, the nearest bar is about 10 Kilometers away and driving late at night is somewhat problematic anyway...
Anyone who thinks that the sedentary aggrarian lifestyle of days gone by was somehow romantic or interesting never lived it. There's a very good reason people leave these places when they can.
#13 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Hi my friend and I are currently volunteering for SAELAO Project in Vang Vieng , Laos. Its a great way to learn new skills, boost your confidence and really get involved in the local Laos community. No skills are needed. You just help wherever you can.
Below is an email we sent to Lonely Planet. If you need any more tips please let me know. Thanks, Arrian/ James. firstname.lastname@example.org
If you'd like to contact the project organiser directly, his name is Sengkeo (Bob)
email@example.com Mob. 0202 928 630
Dear Ms D,
I am writing to enquire as to the possibility of you and your associates within the Lonely Planet looking into a project in Vang Vieng Laos, concerned with sustaining the river, and jungle surrounding Vang Vieng. The project is aiming to build a community centre/school to both teach English and educate people about sustainable logging and farming techniques so that the area can be preserved for the future.
Sengkeo ( Bob) the director of the project was raised in Vang Vieng and lived in Canada for 12 years He has returned to the town to see a completely different place to the one he left He then spent some time working with the 'Organic Mulberry Farm' (see Lonley Planet for details) just to the north of the town and is still in frequent contact with Mr. Thi the owner of the farm. S.A.E LAO is based in Nathong a village 7km west of the town, 500m from the Blue Lagoon and Phoukham cave. The project is offering volunteering spaces where you can stay at the site in a communal style. You can eat traditional Laos food and learn tradditional building techniques and farming that are both sustainable and long lasting, you also have the opportunity to teach English to local children and the staff at the project in the evenings Monday through to Thursday.
Sengkeo also runs a guesthouse in Vang Vieng with his wife Kappet. It is away from the hustle and bustle of the town, yet 5mins walking distance from the centre. It is on the main road running through Vang Vieng, although rooms are set back in a tranquil garden setting. Rooms are immaculate with fresh linen and towels daily, with fans and en-suite bathrooms throughout. At 50,000 Kip/ night, we feel is one of the best value guesthouses in Vang Vieng. Money generated is used to support the S.A.E LAO project.
In recent weeks, whilst I have been involved on the project, progress has slowed due to a lack of volunteers and consequently funds, therefore the few of us left have come back into the town in order to find ways of raising more funds. We have teamed up with Z Bar and the owners Jac and Si have kindly let us organise fund-raising nights in return for management, advise and help from the volunteers. This relationship is one we hope to keep up as both sides are benefiting from the arrangement. We have managed to increase custom for the bar whilst raising money for the project.
#14 arrian has been a member since 6/2/2010. Posts: 5