Laos, the land of wonders

I appreciated the opportunity to live and work in Laos from February to May 2024, a truly amazing country. During my stay in Laos, I had the pleasure of experiencing numerous wonderful moments. I was deeply impressed by the kindness of the residents, the natural beauty of the country, the vibrant Buddhism, the rich culture, the general atmosphere and the elephant population.

I have had the opportunity to be involved in the activities of the Mekong Vocational Center (MVC), which provides future-changing skills to disadvantaged adolescents and women. Sewing, motorbike repair, electricity, mushroom growing, pig breeding, fish hatching, and hairdressing are all skills that women can learn. The MVC is unique in that it provides not only residential training for women but also a complex empowerment programme that includes socialisation, life skills development, personal mentoring, and the distribution of instruments (such as a sewing machine and piglets) to help them start their own independent life or business.

Empowerment and equal opportunities of underprivileged groups are all inextricably related to the right to education. Although everyone should have the right to quality and inclusive education, training, and lifelong learning, not everyone has access to it. At the same time, even the poorest people have hopes and dreams. MVC’s initiatives create chances for hundreds of women to make their dreams come true. I am aware that not all social problems can be resolved by adult learning; however, it can be a powerful tool in initiating positive changes. I deeply believe that learning creates opportunities and chances for adults to improve their lives and reduces poverty, helplessness, and oppression. The MVC provided actual evidence of this.

In addition to adult education, another passion was working with elephants at the Elephant Conversation and Rescue Centres. It is an incredible experience to be around and observe these 3-4 tonnes magnificent animals. These centers providing welfare-oriented quality experiences, stimulating and nurturing a love of and curiosity for the elephants as well as fascinating glimpse of Lao culture in harmony with nature.

The journey in Laos proved to be a valuable learning opportunity for me, both professionally and personally. I look forward to the moment when I can return. I will be back with a more detailed report on my experiences in Laos soon.