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This project is aimed at helping provide care for children from poor families, whose parents must work during the day in order to make a living. You will have the option of volunteering at two different kindergartens, where the number of children in attendance can range from 25 to 60+, and are typically between the ages of 2 and 4. The children come during the day and are picked up by their parents in the afternoon. While teaching English and interacting with the children at these various centers, volunteers will experience the enlightening kindness of the Laotian people, while improving the lives of disadvantaged families. 

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Location of the Project:  Ban Houakhoua Village, Laos
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Project length:  Min 1 week - Max 8 weeks
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Arrival Airport:  Wattay International Airport (VTE)
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Volunteer Work:  Teaching and child care
Age:  18 - 60. Exceptions: This project accepts volunteers who are 16-17 years old with a letter of consent from a parent or guardian.
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Number of Volunteers:  Up to 20 international volunteers

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Double or quad rooms at guesthouse
Food:  Three meals a day (excluding lunch on the weekends)
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Airport Transfers:  Airport pickup upon arrival
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Insurance:  Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
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Support:  Local in-country team and 24-hour emergency support

What's not Included

Flights, personal expenses, lunch on the weekends, visa (if required)

Ban Houakhoua Village is located in the Naxaythong District, about 25 kilometers from Vientiane, the country’s capital. This location allows for the best of both worlds, as its rural nature will give you a taste of the traditional Laos while still being close to a big city! In Nanyang Village (Ban Na Yang) you will get a taste of ‘real’ rural Laos, where it feels as though time stands still. This beautiful, peaceful location will allow you to meet warm, welcoming locals, giving you a uniquely authentic Laos experience.

Only 25 kilometers away from the village you’ll find the country’s largest city and capital, Vientiane. A laid-back, French-inspired city, Vientiane is located on the banks of the Mekong River near the border of Thailand. With its manicured gardens and French colonial architecture, this city of about 400,000 people, known as the “City of Sandalwood” is also a nice respite from your typical Southeast Asian city.

As a volunteer on this project you will be playing a key role by helping to reduce the heavy work burden of the local staff. You will also be able to develop your own skills working with small children and in so doing  provide them with a safe and nurturing environment. 
 
During your time at the various kindergartens, you will primarily help teach English, life skills and basic hygiene to the children. You may also be in charge of supervising the children and caring for them through feeding, washing and dressing them. Additionally, you may also help keep the kindergarten space clean and organized, as well as lead games and activities for the children to make their time at the kindergarten more enjoyable. Should you wish, you may also bring additional materials for your classes with you, including magazines, comics, musical instruments, etc.

A typical day: You can expect to volunteer five days a week, Monday to Friday. After breakfast in the morning, you will teach English and manage feeding with the kindergarten children. You will break for lunch while the children take naps, and afterwards you will help bathe and feed the children, continue teaching English and lead games and activities. You will end the volunteer day with dinner back at the guesthouse.

Holidays: Please note that during public holidays the kindergartens are closed. During these dates, you will get time off to join in the local festivities to further immerse yourself in the local Laotian culture. For questions regarding holiday dates, please consult your placement coordinator.

Internet
Internet:  WiFi at the accommodations is limited. Volunteers can purchase a local SIM card and data plan that work best for them, if more coverage is needed.
Laundry
Laundry:  Laundry services are not provided.
Accommodations
Accommodations:  Volunteers will stay at a guesthouse in single-gender double or quad rooms. All rooms have a Western style toilet and shower. There is no hot water.
Food:  From Monday-Friday, three meals a day are provided and served at the guesthouse. Breakfast will be American-style and lunch and dinner will include typical Laotian dishes, consisting of rice, noodles, meat and/or fish with plenty of fresh fruit. On the weekends, only breakfast and dinner are provided. Most meals will include both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options; however, we ask that you please inform us ahead of time if you have dietary restrictions to ensure that we can plan accordingly.

Please take note of the project's minimum requirements:

  • Good English
  • Motivation to work with children 
  • Happy to work in hot and humid climate
  • Immunizations (please consult your local travel clinic)
  • Police clearance form
  • CV/Resume to be submitted upon registration

Orientation Culture Week (Highly Recommended, Not Included):
For an additional fee you can begin your stay with a week-long program  that includes Laotian cooking lessons, language classes and tours to learn more about the Laotian people, culture and customs. Visit some of Laos' highlights, such as the Golden Pagoda, Victory Monument and lush hiking trails through caves and mountains. This is an opportunity to immerse yourself in this truly remarkable country while also getting to know the other volunteers on your project.

Near the accommodation you will find temples and authentic rural Laotian scenery. Many volunteers head to the country’s largest city and capital, Vientiane, in the afternoons.

Some sights you will find there include:

  • Patuxai: Vientiane’s take on the Arc de Triomphe and their own victory monument. You can climb it to enjoy the panoramic views!
  • Wat Si Muang: A Buddhist temple for those who want to absorb some religious culture.
  • Night Market: Every evening at the Mekong river, this is the place to be for locals as well as tourists.

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