Giving Back – Computer Education in Laos

I tell young people to prepare themselves as best they can for a world that grows more challenging every day-get the best education they can, and couple that education with real-life experience in social justice work. Julian Bond

Social enterprise is a business model that puts people and community first, ahead of private or personal gain, while operating in a commercially viable and sustainable manner. Social enterprise is committed to social justice, social inclusion, enhancing quality of life, building community spirit and providing affordable and accessible services.

By working with InfoAge you are enabling David to share IT skills with teachers in Laos who teach students who otherwise would not have access to such education due to the level of poverty.

David works with schools and projects in Luang Prabang providing free Computer education to unprivileged students. 1 in 4 people in Laos are illiterate.

Background

In 2013, David initially started teaching students computing at LEOT school. Students are from poor countryside villages. In 2015 he returned to help setup a permanent computer teaching facility and establish a teaching curriculum. In 2016 the Stage I Computer course was developed further and a more advanced programme begun. See Photos 2015Photos 2013. David continues work in Laos supporting Lao through education and community based tourism.

Why Education?

Helping a novice monk student in my class.
Helping a novice monk in computer class.

Education fits strongly with the company and David’s personal values. InfoAge has a long history of working with NGO’s and disadvantaged youth. We do a lot of work with NZ charities,  and spend time each year in Laos where the same opportunities do not exist.

Education makes a difference and works towards reducing many other issues as well – especially youth education who can make a difference.

My criteria for selecting a charity to support was:

  • The work has to have a strong sense of purpose, achieve real results, be transparent and be on-going (until there is no longer a need).
  • Local people are involved so local people can learn to solve their own problems independently of external assistance. (an organisation that transfers skills to locals and is sustainable). This school only employs Lao people, no foreigners are paid.

About the English and Computing Learning Centre

Computer education in Laos

Based in Luang Prabang (ຫລວງພະບາງ), the charity raises funds to send youth to college and in 2012 built their own school where they provide education to 16-22 year olds so they can continue their education and get meaningful employment.

It is the only school in Luang Prabang that does not charge fees in order to give the disadvantaged opportunity. Often the only option on leaving school is working on the family farm. A good job means they can not only support themselves but their family and help improve the general standard of living.