Laos is one of the least developed countries in the world with major social, political and financial challenges. Income generation is important as a means to improve the ethnic people’s livelihoods. Laos receives increasing numbers of tourists every year and large portions of the visitors are interested in the traditional Asian culture. Eco-tourism agencies are expanding their operations in Laos but they rarely cooperate with the most vulnerable ethnic minority communities, often due to lack of suitable lodging facilities for the visitors.
All hands on deck…the building stage.
Every project is immersive, comprehensive and authentic because we know that changing lives is not a spectator sport – you need to get your hands dirty and so do we. We have experience with stepping out of our comfort zone in order to gain a new perspective, and we want to share this knowledge.
As part of the World Volunteer team, you will be building a sustainable clay eco-bungalow. Building these physical structures fill an important need and can be completed by teams in a short period of time – a great way to experience the tangible fruits of your labour. You’ll meet and work alongside people who are trying to improve their own lives and build a better future.
Getting the word out…the promotion phase
World Volunteer have partnered with various local guides and transportation companies based in Luang Prabang. They promote the eco-lodge as part of their community based tourism project by guiding small groups of tourists to the village. After each visit, they will ensure that payments to the eco-lodge and the village fund are made. This generates income from small scale tourism.
The clay eco-bungalow will provide the village with a facility that will generate cash income as well as labour opportunities for years to come. The lodge will also demonstrate how villages in the future can cost effectively build their own eco-friendly houses. The raw material for the clay bricks can be found on site, creating a self-sufficient way of producing building materials as well as increasing living standards.
In it for the long term….the future income
Living in the village is an amazing experience but it also benefits the village as each family gets paid to host and feed the participants. Villagers are paid to accommodate visitors. This provides the village with disposable income and also with an introduction to the hospitality industry within their own home. Villagers are paid similar rates charged at local guesthouses and restaurants and local families receive training on cooking, waste management and hygiene. The purpose is to ensure a safe and comfortable experience for the participants. Evidence suggests that these families put some of these practices into their everyday life after the volunteers leave.
Your sample itinerary
The trip runs over an 8 day period. From pick up to drop off and everything in between, the students will be guided by team leaders who have vast experience in Laos, are trained in first aid and have deep insight into the country, culture and projects. We like to work hard but play hard too so although building takes place over a 3 day period, we have incorporated trips to local sites and meals with local families in between. The trip places an emphasis on integrating work and fun. Visiting the Black Bear Rescue Center, enjoying a traditional Baci dinner ceremony, hiking and mixing with local people will ensure that the students get an accurate reflection of local life and customs.