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Laos, Asia

LAO01 - Lao Vida

Partnership Ref.:




Funding Status:

No Current Donor

Partnership Type:

Training / Education

Funding Size:

$8,000 - $14,999

Annual Budget:

US$ 9,900


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Funding Contact:

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Population: 6.5 million

Life Expectancy: 64 years

GDP: US$1203 per capita

Unemployed: 2.5%%

28%% earn less than US$2/day

Current Partnership Impact

6 families are being assisted

6 people are in vocational or agricultural training

Partnership Overview

poor communityLao Vida is a privately owned business whose shareholders are all sent by internationally recognised agencies. It was conceived in 2005 by four Westerners working in Vientiane, the capital city of Laos.

As they worked together, a passion for Southern Laos developed and in 2010 they shifted to Pakse, the central city for all of southern Laos, as a base. Full of rural subsistence communities and animistic tribal groups, southern Laos is known as a spiritually oppressive place. Many Lao people are fearful of even travelling to this region of the country. There are many unreached people groups in the southern regions of Laos and a number of groups have no known believers.

Lao Vida focuses on language, vocational, and development assistance as pathways to reaching people with the good news. They serve both educated urban people and rural young people, both of whom live in bondage to superstition and fear of spirits. This business actively builds relationships through which the good news can be shared. A significant part of the vocational training is given over to teaching how to pass on the abundant life to village communities. 

Their programmes include:

Language teaching 
The main focus of Lao Vida is English language teaching. Lao Vida operates a professional English language teaching centre in Pakse that teaches over 100 teenagers and adults in the evenings. Scholarships are offered to students who cannot afford to study including neighbours and rural believers. 

Learning new skillsVocational training 
Lao Vida works with young rural women to train them in housekeeping skills such as cleaning, cooking, baking and childcare. They also learn life skills that will help them to thrive in the rapidly changing society. They are taught budgeting, time management, work ethics, coping with change and other things that we take for granted. This is a one year programme. The students study in Lao and a literacy class has been incorporated into the training programme to assist those who need assistance with foundational skills. 

They also train young men and women in baking, bread making and other hospitality skills. The bakery course is a two year course and requires greater competency in the Lao language. They are actively seeking women as well as men for this course but in the rural villages it is difficult to find girls who have studied beyond primary school. Literacy training and extra tuition is available to help bridge educational gaps for the rural poor of both sexes. Most of the students are from believing families so this is a great opportunity to disciple these young believers and send them out to their own people. 

A major project in 2014 involved the setting up of a cafe onsite in which to sell the bakery items. This was extended the following year and has proved to be both an excellent area for further training of apprentices and employment for past and present students. In 2017 it continues to flourish, particularly in the high season when there are tourists about, but it is also seen as a welcome addition to the community with a number of regular customers. 

Both the young men and young women in vocational training come from rural settings and live in homes with Lao Vida staff where they enjoy a secure environment and receive guidance from live-in staff. 

The main focus is to train both men and women to get into the workplace and to become active leaders in their communities and churches. 

Needs sponsorshipCurrently the primary need of Lao Vida is sponsorship of the vocational students. Some support for the vocational training comes from the English language school, however the school does not make sufficient profit to sustain itself and the Lao staff, as well as the vocational students. Lao Vida wisely seeks to become as self-sustaining as possible. The students are expected to pay a small contribution for their course, and the bakery training programme recoups a little of its expenses through the cafe. However the vocational training program and some other aspects of the wider work require further resourcing.  


History of Partnership

A number of years ago the Executive Chairman of Bright Hope World visited Laos and met the key people in Vientiane.  A one-off project was completed, putting a water tank in a village as part of a development project. 

In 2011 Bright Hope World's Field Director visited Laos and met the same people who had shifted from Vientiane to Pakse. It was very obvious that there was good potential in the business they had established and that many young people were being helped in their education, skills training and capacity to obtain employment and be self-sustaining. 



The primary beneficiaries are the students, both male and female, that are learning life skills on the vocational training course.


What We Like About The Partnership

Bright Hope World particularly appreciates that many young people are being trained to be self-sustaining and given life skills. The course bridges the gap between school and employment. 

There is a good mentoring component embedded in the programme, we think this is a very strong aspect of this partnership. There is also a very strong commitment by the leaders to the holistic development of the people they are training and working with. 

Alongside this, the way they teach and train is done very professionally and at a high standard. The students learn in a top quality environment. 


Key People 

Leadership Profile

Making a differenceThe Lao Vida management board is made up of a core of four expatriates. Between them they have over 45 years of experience working in Laos.   

Alison takes responsibility for running the language centre. She has been in Laos since 2003. She has a background in music and education from Australia. 

Paul has been working in Laos since 2003. He takes responsibility for the bakery programme. He is a professional baker and has been an educator in Australia. 

Andrew is the Director. He has a background in youth work and pastoral ministry. He has been working in Laos since 2000. 

Karen has a background in music and education. She is the Course Coordinator and oversees the Vocational Training Program at Lao Vida. This includes teaching in the course and overseeing the students who have graduated and come on staff. Karen also acts as the main translator, and trains staff in administration of accounts.


Other People Involved

There are 15 Lao staff who undertake numerous roles throughout the business and wider programs. Some work in the cafe, others do cleaning, teach aspects of the program, do translation, provide leadership or have responsibility for administrative roles. Other foreign volunteers also come and go for varying periods of time to teach English and mentor students in their homes. Some volunteers come for six months, a year, or longer. Currently there are five foreign staff, 15 local Lao staff, and a number of short term volunteers, all committed believers.


Vision and Annual Strategy

The vision of Lao Vida is to bring fullness of life to the people of southern Laos. 

Each year students are screened and accepted for vocational training.  Through living in community, classroom and practical training, and daily work experience, Lao Vida seeks to nuture young people in their life and faith, so that they in turn may support and impact their families and communities.  Employment opportunities are sought for students after they graduate. 


Annual Budget

The amount required to sponsor a student, full board and training, is $US1,650 per year and Bright Hope World currently supports six students.