Review 2018 and Outlook 2019
The moment Lotus for Laos has been waiting for since it was founded 5 years ago has actually come last year. We are very happy to report that 30 students successfully completed their studies at the University of Luang Prabang in the summer. In total, Lotus for Laos has already enabled 36 students to take the step into self-determination. A great milestone for our organization. That same summer, 33 new students started their studies, resulting in a total of 75 students.
"I can hardly believe it. Five years ago it all started with a crazy idea and with the conviction that education can change the lives of these Laotian orphans in a positive way. Now the day has come when we can proudly say that this idea has become a successful project".
- Franzisca Gartenmann
A Visit in Numbuk
Already on the first day we drove three hours to visit the remote school for orphans and children from extremely poor backgrounds in Numbuk. Together with Andrew Brown, our Australian project manager, we informed the young people about the scholarship program. When asked who would like to study at the university, 53 hands stretched up in the air. It was nice to see how bright and interested they were. This also seemed to be due to the fact that only a few tourists took the road from Luang Prabang and so we became a small attraction. Surprisingly, the children were less shy than expected and one young girl in particular stood out for her exceptionally good command of English.
News from Suan Luang
Unfortunately there was not enough time to visit Suan Luang. Andrew was frustrated with the teachers teaching at the school. Like in Numbuk and Luang Prabang he had started an agricultural project where groups of children cultivate a small part of the surrounding land and sell the harvested vegetables to the kitchen of the orphanage. This idea proved to be very successful everywhere except in Suan Luang, because the teachers allegedly take the harvest from the children and sell it themselves. This story is also an example of the reality that can be experienced in Laos. Apart from this damper, the youth are very motivated in school and this summer 90 students will finish high school.
A spontaneous visit in Luang Prabang 2018
In the summer of 2018 Franzisca Gartenmann backpacked with her boyfriend in Vietnam and spontaneously decided to make a small detour to Luang Prabang. As with every visit, they met Andrew Brown and visited the local orphanage, but there was one evening that they especially remembered. Maybe you remember the story of Tethor and his deaf-mute brother Yaw Thor from the last travelreport. Franzisca and her boyfriend invited them to dinner and they actually brought their little sister with them, who was to be married at the age of 13 on her last visit. With a lot of luck Tethor managed to bring her to the orphanage as well.
"We invited all three of them to a small restaurant on the side of the road and we explained to Yaw Thor with our hands and feet that he should choose something. When he realized that he could eat what he wanted, it was like a sun rising on the little one's face. He looked excitedly back and forth between us, his brother and the menu. I have been working in Laos for five years now and yet this moment touched me deeply. While it goes without saying for us, for Yaw Thor it was the first time he ordered something in a restaurant".
Filippas Angel Prize, September 2018
Lotus for Laos also received a special honour this year. Franzisca Gartenmann was awarded a main prize and a sponsorship prize by the Filippas Engel Foundation. The prize money of 5000 Euros will once again be used for the scholarship project and will enable two students to complete their entire studies.
Lotus for Laos says goodbye with a heavy heart to Evelyne Spaargaren, who co-founded the association and has put a lot of heart and soul into the project over the past five years. We wish you all the best on your way and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for everything!
Though we will not stand by ourselves. As Evelyn leaves 3 new members are joining our organization. We welcome Janos Benz, Isabel Ehrat and Hanna Ekberg. For more details on them click here!
Targets for 2019
Already in the General Assembly, in which the new Board of Directors was established, the following objectives were set for this year:
1. 3 long-term partnerships with foundations + 10 private donors
2. A creative collaboration and possibly an Event
3. Market research regarding donor preferences
4. Expansion of our digital infrastructure (website, Facebook, Instagram)
Please have a look at the "Von Jung auf 100" - Interview from Blick in the evening with Franzisca and read the article about it.