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Our school is moving!

Amazing photo by one of our volunteers in Laos

Our biggest realization so far in 2018 is that when our first graduates leave our program, we want to take a couple of weeks to improve our systems before inviting the next 120 children to our daily classes. Firstly, it has become apparent through valuable volunteer feedback that we should make some adjustments due to our recent growth. Sometimes we have 3-4 volunteer joining us at the same time, and this brings the possibility of splitting up the class into groups with different themes depending on the students level. However, this is not possible in our current house. In addition, our lease is up soon. Our biggest contributors Kavlifondet suggested that we started looking for a bigger place with several lesson rooms, and this is exactly what we have been doing. It’s not an easy task. For example, a perfect house was available, but it was too close to the main road and we would like our children to have a safe path to and from our house. Another house didn't have a playground for our children, nor a place for us to grow our vegetables. However, we are happy to announce we have found the right house and are in the process of fixing everything! We will share some photos of the new house in the coming weeks.

When I starting thinking about moving, I realized that the saddest thing to leave behind from our current house is all our volunteer notes and paintings on the walls. The walls are filled to the rim with encouraging words and messages of love. I want us to continue this tradition in the new house, so if you ever find yourself in Aay’s Village, be sure to leave your mark on our walls! This is probably the easiest way to recognize that a volunteer has been with us, but if you look closer, you find other marks. Firstly, our children are not afraid of “farangs” any more. Farang means a person from the west. So the meeting between our children and our volunteers equips the children with the possibility to meet people from all over the world and all the input they get from this experience help shape their image of the world and maybe develops a openness towards different cultures and ways of life. That being said, our volunteer a never try to impose their political or religious beliefs on our children. That is one of our most important ethical standpoints. Furthermore, our children’s English is developing quick, and this is because of the conversations they have with our volunteers. Some of our oldest students are on social media and continue to communicate with our volunteers after their stay in Aay’s Village. A friendship for life, and the internet allows them to keep in touch, which we are so happy about.

Two volunteers arrived two weeks ago and will stay for a couple of months, our international organization will work with them and Aay to give our Learning Lab an update; new apps, new books, new flash cards and a better system for dividing each class into groups. I could never imagine having the possibility to pour my heart and soul into any type of job. I think my motivation is the fact that there’s no pay, no reward (other than seeing the organization develop and seeing the children learn). I can’t recommend volunteer work enough. It brings challenges, but so much joy. A purpose, a way to learn so much about yourself, perspective and so much love. I know there’s some people out there who are negative towards volunteering and engaging in non profit work. I know that every case has two sides and that those of us who are negative probably have a good reason. However, I believe fear has something to do with it. And I believe experience makes us grow and maybe even develop our perspective. My learning curve has certainly been steep and I continue to learn every day in Aay’s Village. And it’s such an incredible adventure that I cannot help but invite everyone I meet to join us. Thank you to those of you who has; I hope you had an amazing time with us. And to you who are going back and forth about it; just do it 😊

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