REVIEW 2017 AND OBJECTIVES 2018
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 students successfully graduated from university and finished our program. In August, a total of 72 students were able to continue or start their classes at the university, thanks to your extremely generous support. This is an incredible increase from 36 supported students in the previous year. Again, we could not be more grateful for your benevolent and abundant support.
Extract from the travel report, March 2017
Visit of the „Deak Kum Pah Orphanage“
The day after our arrival, we met with Andrew Brown, the Australian project manager. Once again, we were very impressed hearing about the incredible poverty in Laos and realizing what a tremendous difference people like Andrew have made through their “let’s do this” -mentality. We drove to the nearby Chinese market and with 60 dollars bought reams of shoes for the children whose shoes were either too small or already broken. It was a touching experience to see them rejoice in their gifts.
Payment day at Andrew’s
The scholarship program of Andrew currently supports 190 students in total. We were very lucky as the payment day, which takes place every two month, exactly hit our time being there. For five whole hours, he spoke with every individual student in fluent Lao, asking about their studies and their well-being. Although it is a lot of work for him, he is absolutely convinced by the benefits of his system, as the personal relationships and the personal contact prevent any abuse of donation money.
We learned that 37 of 43 of the students who have graduated from university since the beginning of the program have now a job. It is certain that 60 young Laotians from Luang Prabang, 30 from Suan Luang and 30 from Nambak will complete high school this year and will want to attend university. Unfortunately, it won’t be possible to support all of them through a scholarship. Andrew and his assistant Ping will choose the most eligible young people and are seeking to find sponsors for them. “Lotus for Laos” is committed to support even more young people to get a university degree.
If you want to read more about the personal stories of all the students Franzisca met on her visit, go on our website http://www.lotusforlaos.org/ and read the travel report.
Summary Scholarships for a better future
To summarize, this August an incredible number of 72 students were able to start their courses at the local university. 12 students are directly sponsored by individual donations and 50 by Swiss foundations. We thank every single person who has made this possible!
Lotus for Laos general meeting
In the annual general meeting in September, we finally made some small and necessary changes in the articles of association, which is available on our website. Officially, Evelyne Spaargaren assumes the role of vice president, while Franzisca now holds the position of president.
A new website in English
Translating our website into English has been on the to do list for quite some while, as the vision is to cross international borders. Anyone believing in our cause should have access to the information we provide. While backbacking this year in South America Franzisca met Simon, an English traveler and as luck would have it, an expert regarding the set-up of websites. Bonding over similar ideas of the world, he generously offered his support. After a lot of hard work and quite some time invested, the new website of Lotus for Laos will be online at the beginning of the New Year. We thank Simon wholeheartedly and are looking forward to your feedback.
Scholarships for a better future
Regarding the scholarship program, the goal is to continue our efforts and extend slowly the number of supported students. We are especially looking for foundations or individual supporters who share our value of sustainability and will support individual students for the whole course of their studies.
Franzisca also plans again to travel to Luang Prabang and will report on the status of all supported students. We, Lotus for Laos, are enthusiastically looking forward to what the New Year will bring and thank every each and one of you for your trust, your engagement and your generosity. We wish you all a happy New Year, filled with joy, laughter and surprises!
Sa bai di pi haim!
Happy New Year!