Who We Are
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Our Purpose

Working Towards a Better Tomorrow

We are passionate about being at service by empowering young Laotians to a self-determined life. We believe in a world where young Laotians are in charge of their own economic future and will, therefore, contribute to the development of their country. There is this saying “Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”, but first one could ask him whether he likes fish. We take pride in our students who work really hard to break the cycle of poverty all by taking their future into their own hands.  Our role is simply one of the enablers, but as soon as they graduate they are able to charter their own course. We are convinced that education is one of the most powerful tools to achieve sustainable change. Presenting young Laotians with the opportunity to get a university degree enables them to change the system they are living in from the inside out.

Meet the Team

What I love about Lotus for Laos is that its very existence and impact are proof that so many people are wrong. It is always possible to make a difference, regardless of your age, or your background. Yet, it is also a testament to the principle of reciprocity. It is not only us who have and continue to empower the students in our program, but they who empower us to recognize our privilege, challenge what we take for granted, and help us reflect upon the people we are and want to become.

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Franzisca Gartenmann

Founder & President of the Board

János Benz

Head of Finance & Board Member

For me, Lotus for Laos is a very effective way of supporting others in growing with their education. The power of education amazes me and all young people should have the means for it. Often, it is not a lack of potential that is holding them back but a lack of cash. We can fix that with our scholarships.

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Having known Frankie since we are 13, I’ve always been on the sideline hearing how the charity is developing and hearing her talk so passionately about the project. I ́ve been involved in other charity work since a young age so when the opportunity came to join Lotus for Laos, I was more than happy to seize it. Together we hope to embrace what Lotus for Laos stands for but with a twist, to make it grow and create a shared vision. Since joining the team, it has been remarkable to see our members' strengths in action, which helped grow our charity and realize our shared vision.

Isabel Ehrat

Head of Communication & Board Member

Hanna Ekberg

Head of Partnerships & Board Member

When I joined I was baffled by how much impact Lotus for Laos had from the start. You have to consider that this initiative was started by a couple teenagers. So, realizing how much change I could enact with my work from home, I became very engaged in showing others our age the possibilities that are out there.

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Luca Imesch

Partnerships

“A young charitable organisation with a clear mission statement, a compelling vision and passionate people was exactly what I was looking for.”

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Margaux Headon

Thought Leadership 

“During my studies, I worked for a Master’s programme in which students implemented a social project in a developing country with the ultimate aim of creating a sustainable impact. This is what inspired me to join Lotus for Laos; to me, the mission and approach of Lotus for Laos exemplify what it means to create a sustainable social impact.”

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Tess El Bahnasawy

Fundraising

Motivated by the idea of enabling others to have the same opportunity of growing intellectually and personally, I recently joined Lotus for Laos. During my time at St. Gallen Symposium, I learned that students can actually have an enormous impact on topics of social relevance. I truly believe in the long-term sustainability of education and hope to deliver this message of the importance of empowering young Laotians.”

Our Story

2011

Evelyne Spaargaren, a primary school teacher working in Zurich, travelled to South East Asia with her husband on their honeymoon. In Luang Prabang, Laos they stayed in a boutique hostel called “Lotus Villa”, which was owned by the Australian Andrew Brown. Through him, they found out about the local orphanage he was supporting and decided to visit the children. Amazed and profoundly touched, Evelyne shared her experience with the mother of one of her students back home, who then decided to travel to Laos with her family.