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About Lotus for Laos

Our purpose

We are passionate about being at service by empowering young Laotians to a self-determined life.

We believe in a world where young Laotians are in charge of their own economic future and will therefore contribute to the development of their country.

There is this saying “Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”, but first one could ask him whether he likes fish.

We take pride in our students who work really hard to break the circle of poverty all by taking their future into their own hands.  Our role is simply the one of the enabler, but as soon as they graduate they are able to charter their own course.

We are convinced that education is one of the most powerful tools to achieve sustainable change. Presenting young Laotians with the opportunity to get a university degree enables them to change the system they are living in from the inside out.

About Lotus for Laos

Our purpose

We are passionate about being at service by empowering young Laotians to a self-determined life.

We believe in a world where young Laotians are in charge of their own economic future and will therefore contribute to the development of their country.

There is this saying “Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”, but first one could ask him whether he likes fish.

We take pride in our students who work really hard to break the circle of poverty all by taking their future into their own hands.  Our role is simply the one of the enabler, but as soon as they graduate they are able to charter their own course.

We are convinced that education is one of the most powerful tools to achieve sustainable change. Presenting young Laotians with the opportunity to get a university degree enables them to change the system they are living in from the inside out.

Our values

Empowerment

“I do not believe in aid. I believe in empowerment and giving the people dignity and the ability to found their own economic future.” – Ritu Khanna

Helping people can enable them to a quick start, but in the end they have the responsibility to make a change through their own behaviour.

Do no harm

A sad example for this is the creation of dependency on the given aid, through which the situation deteriorates over time. It is necessary to create awareness and critically think about possible consequences.

Participation

The key is involving the target group in order for them to contribute to the development of the project. Who knows the needs better than the people affected by them?

Esteem

“My biggest learning was to respect the culture of the country you are in. Crossing cultural boundaries does not get you anywhere.” – Andrew Brown

While one can also have respect for an enemy, “Esteem” is a performance-independent term and describes a positive attitude towards the counterpart.

Facts about Laos

Capital

Vientiane

Life expectancy

Women 68, men 61

Surface area

236’800 km2

Currency

Kip (₭)

Population

About 6.49 million

Language

Lao

s

Child mortality

<1 year: 6.8%

GDP

15.9b USD (2016)

Laos facts

Capital

Vientiane

Life expectancy

Women 68, men 61

Surface area

236’800 km2

Currency

Kip (₭)

Population

About 6.49 million

Language

Lao

s

Child mortality

<1 year: 6.8%

GDP

15.9b USD (2016)

Franzisca Gartenmann

Co-founder

Evelyne Spargaaren

Co-founder

Recognition

Scholarships for a better future

Our ongoing project “Scholarships for a better future” was initiated in 2014 and currently enables around 72 students to go to the local university in Luang Prabang, Laos.

2017

Our aim is to secure the extra support that allows our students to finalise their studies.

To achieve this we’re seeking: further individual donations, other foundations that correspond with our goals, people that are willing to sponsor a student over the course of their studies and memberships for ongoing contributions.

We are also looking for two more students that passionately support our cause. To enquire, click here.

2018

In addition to our ongoing goals of 2017, we seek to increase the number of students in the program and enable more young Laotians to a university degree.

Therefore we are looking for additional funding for 10 students (670 USD x 10 students x 3 years).  Support that will sponsor a student over the course of their studies and memberships are both great ways of achieving this goal.

To enquire about membership, get in touch.

Support our work by donating what you can

Support our work by donating what you can

Our background

2011

Evelyne Spaargaren travelled to South East Asia with her husband on their honeymoon. Through Andrew Brown, the owner of the boutique hostel “Lotus Villa” where they stayed, they found out about the local orphanage he was supporting and visited the children. Back home, she told the mother of one of her students about her experience and that is how the family Gartenmann got inspired to travel to the same destination.

2012

The Gartenmanns visited Luang Prabang, stayed at the “Lotus Villa” and got to know Andrew Brown and his project. Amazed and inspired by his work and the possibilities of difference one could make, they donated some money.

2013

Franzisca Gartenmann returned with her mother Annika and two befriended families with their kids to help renovate some of the dorms. It was a formative week full of laughter and insights for both parties.

Read more about the week here.

The idea came up to support the project of Andrew Brown on a more effective and efficient level. Through the contacts of Annika Gartenmann, Franzisca got the chance to present the idea of a scholarship program at foundation “Symphasis”, a fund of the Swiss bank Credit Suisse. The board was fond of the idea, but needed an official Swiss organisation in place in order to fund the project.

2014

Evelyne Spaargaren, Franzisca Gartenmann, Lara Twerenbold and Stephanie Schoss founded the organisation “Lotus for Laos”. At the same time the request for the first 10’000 CHF was accepted by Symphasis and the project “Scholarships for a better future” was initiated, enabling 15 young Laotians to attend university.

2015

Through generous support of multiple private sponsors and the donation of again 10’000 CHF by another Swiss foundation it was possible to increase from 15 students to 23. In April Lara Twerenbold and Franzisca Gartenmann travelled to Chiang Mai, did a small internship at the organisation “Child’s dream” which included a ten-day field trip all around Laos with various visits of their different projects. Then they spent time with Andrew Brown and the children in Luang Prabang. Back home Franzisca Gartenmann won the “Young Women in Public Affairs – Award” by the women’s club Zonta, which led to a couple of articles like e.g. in the “Beobachter”. The latter again triggered the nomination for the “Prix Courage Next Generation 2015”, which they then won. That year was great regarding media presence, which led to an increase of donations.

2016

Again through the immense support of another foundation, private donors and the prize money of the awards “Lotus for Laos” was able to increase the number of students from 23 to 36. It was also the year of “Lotus for Laos’s” first three graduates, which was celebrated accordingly. Sadly it was also the year the founding members Stephanie Schoss and Lara Twerenbold left the organisation because of personal reasons.

Latest updates

Review 2017 and Objectives 2018

REVIEW 2017 AND OBJECTIVES 2018 2017 Review Every year is unique and so was this one for Lotus for Laos. In March Franzisca Gartenmann traveled to Laos and visited the three orphanages Lotus for Laos currently supports. We are proud to report that in the summer three...

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Travel Report March 2017

Travel Report March 2017  Luang Prabang, Laos in March 2017 Travel report by Franzisca Gartenmann After a two-hour flight from Bangkok, my mother Annika Gartenmann and I landed on the small, but fine airport of Luang Prabang on the twelfth of March and firstly had to...

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Review 2016 and Objectives 2017

LOTUS FOR LAOS 2016 The new year is already knocking on the door and “Lotus for Laos” looks back on an eventful 2016. We have achieved a great deal, but we have learned even more. We are grateful for the generous support and trust we have received. In the following...

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