It's important to us (BOUMÉ) to help support and give back to those less fortunate than ourselves. And since our product is based on a children's toy and the joy of building it yourself, we thought there was no better charity to support than the NamKhan Foundation. Our mission is to help build an education center for the children of Laos (north of Thailand), which happens to be one of the poorest nations in the World.
We specifically decided to support young children in need, to give them the opportunity of a better future. By developing this specific project with the NamKhan Foundation, we hope to see direct results which we can help achieve by donating proceeds from our charity collection.
For every LOVE or HOPE bracelet sold, 500 euros goes straight to the foundation. Our aim is to make a difference to the lives of the children in need.
The NamKhan Foundation's aim is to develop an English education program handled by volunteers around the world. Volunteers are selected with a teaching background to lead the group.
Currently the Laos children go to the Ban Donkeo village school twice a week. Ban Donkeo is a very poor village which has only one tiny school. This 'school' is limited to one room and one teacher and one class of children who are aged from 4 to 9 years old. Although small with limited resources, it's popular because children from another school come and join the lessons as they love it so much!
Children at the Ban Donkeo village school
The school has now become a member of Twinkl (https://www.twinkl.co.uk), an online program full of teaching resources. It provides lessons, pictures and even games to be downloaded, to help make teaching so much easier. Without these teaching aids it can be very difficult for volunteers who don’t speak Lao, to teach the children. A Lao volunteer coordinator also attends the classes, to help in the translation.
The NamKhan Foundation provides each child with a branded notebook to write down the things they learn. This is also useful to the ever-changing volunteer teachers, as they can see what the children have been taught already, ensuring the same lessons aren't repeated each time.
This year the NamKhan Foundation is planning to build a playground area on their land, in addition to the classroom where the children can come for their English lessons.
Volunteers teaching at the NamKhan Foundation
Education in Laos
Education is considered a luxury by many rural villagers of Laos. Most Lao people live in remote rural areas and work as farmers, so their children must walk down from the mountains to the nearest school, which can sometimes take days! (1)
The rural areas of Laos continually face a shortage of teachers. "Of the 10,553 villages country-wide, only 45% have schools that go up to grade 3, and 20% of communities have no schools at all." (2) Sadly, the majority of teachers are found in the urban parts of Laos.
The NamKhan Foundation
Is based 2km outside of Luang Prabang in Laos and consists of a sustainable Eco Farm and public gardens which sit alongside the NamKhan river. The Eco Farm's main aim is to educate and help Lao farmers in the way of sustainable 'permaculture' (3) farming. This results in the ability to supply restaurants, hotels and guesthouses with the 100% organic produce they grow (which consists of tropical fruits, vegetables, roots and herbs).
Volunteers are also welcome to help on the land and due to popularity, there is an ever growing waiting list to help. Classes and workshops are available for visitors to attend.
To find out more, visit: www.namkhanproject.com
To see volunteers teaching at the NamKhan Foundation, you can watch this video.
The NamKhan Foundation Eco Farm
Photograph credit: The NamKhan Foundation
1 Information taken from www.lao-kids.org
2 Information taken from www.laos.savethechildren.net/what-we-do/education
3 Permaculture is a term meaning permanent, agriculture/culture and is a philosophy of working with nature and not against it. This term was conceived by David Holmgren and Bill Mollison, in 1978. Information taken from Wikipedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Permaculture