Women’s empowerment volunteering in Laos
Education opens doors, making it one of the most important gifts you can receive. Take part in our women’s empowerment program in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO Heritage Site, and teach local women English.
If you are looking to volunteer as a teacher in an extraordinary setting, this is the perfect project for you. The program focuses on improving education for women in the beautifully preserved city.
Gender inequality in Laos
There are huge educational divides in Laos. Entrenched gender roles and a division between families from different socio-economic backgrounds mean that many women from poorer communities have limited access to education. As a result, women are under-represented in politics and high-earning professions. Women’s career paths are severely limited. Many girls leave their home in search of employment, making them extremely vulnerable to sexual exploitation. Many women on the program have lead difficult lives. The aim of this program is to help to break this cycle of inequality and to help local women to build their confidence and skills.
What will I be doing?
The women you will be teaching will be a range of ages and abilities. Your primary role will be to try and help the students with conversational English, focusing on how English can help them in a practical setting. Some lessons may incorporate IT, health and life skills. A few hours a week, you will be asked to teach lessons at a local English centre, where you will teacher a variety of ages
On Monday to Thursday, you will work 3-4 hours a day. These hours may differ each day. On some days, you may be asked to run evening classes. You will also have 2-3 hours a day to prepare lessons. One session a week will be at a local community English centre. Volunteers will get to teach a wide range of people, from monks, women and children. These lessons are often considered as a highlight by past volunteers.
On top of this you will receive:
- Training on lesson planning, TEFL skills and specific women’s empowerment training
- Access to a teaching resource room in a local college
- A teaching mentor
- Handover notes from past volunteers to ensure consistency
Accommodation and food
You will be living at a shared volunteer guesthouse. There are shared rooms and bathrooms at the accommodation. However, there are upgrade options if you would prefer to have your own room.
Staff at the guest house are extremely friendly and welcoming. Your room will be cleaned once a week. To wash your clothes, you can pay a small fee to get your laundry done on site.
Due to a national ban, the guesthouse has a curfew of 12pm, which is the same for everyone in Luang Prabang. On the first Friday, prior to the Saturday arrival date, you will need to book your own accommodation. We can offer advise on this.
You will be provided with 3 authentic Lao meals a day, while at the guesthouse. Cooked by a local cook on site, you will get to experience delicious, local cuisine. Vegetarians can be catered for. There are many different restaurants in the local area if you fancy a night out.
When should I book?
Whilst late-availability is possible, we would advise booking as soon as you can to guarantee your ideal dates. Our projects are very popular and spaces can fill up several months in advance, especially for the months of June to September.
- Help disadvantaged women to learn English and make a real difference to their future.
- Team teach and live with other passionate volunteers.
- Live in Luang Prabang – a city everyone should visit at least once!
- Experience fascinating Lao culture and religion and eat delicious food.
Whyshould I do this?
Volunteers can truly feel part of a Lao community – eating authentic food, teaching local women and learning about the fascinating culture. Ideal volunteers need to be dedicated and hard-working. You do not need to have previous teaching experience – just lots of enthusiasm and a willingness to get stuck in. You will receive in-country teaching training – perfect for teachers looking to improve their practice or people who are interested in pursuing a teaching career. The team in Laos work hard to ensure that both the volunteers and the women, enrolled in the classes, get the best possible experience and that is why volunteers share resources, team teach and provide hand-over notes.
You will be collected from Luang Prabang Airport. You will need to arrive on a Friday. The program starts at 9am on the Saturday.
The program coordinators will be there to support you from the moment you arrive to the moment you are taken back to the airport. You will also be assigned a teaching mentor, who will be able to support you with lesson planning. The team have been working in Luang Prabang since 2009 and have a lot of experience with working with volunteers and local schools and temples.
What is provided
- Access to your personal ‘My Oyster’ account
- Pre-departure briefing and advice
- Help and advice 24/7 from our UK office and in-country team
- Transfer to and from the airport
- Accommodation at a local guest house
- Food, cooked at the guesthouse
- Over seven hours of teaching training, teaching resources and guidance
- Oyster Worldwide volunteer t-shirt
- Oyster luggage tag
On your return:
- Welcome home pack
- Certificate of Recognition (on request)
- References (on request)
What do I need
- Valid passport
- Flights to Luang Prabang Airport
- Travel insurance
- Accommodation for your first night in Luang Prabang
- Any additional costs such as trips, food if away from the guest house, snacks, entertainment (allow maybe £30 per week depending on lifestyle)
- Police check or DBS for UK participants – £10.40