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A letter from Ås in Aay's Village

Hi and hello to all you followers of our jungle nonprofit,

I know our team members have been able to enjoy the sun and nature this summer, and I hope you have too. We all need a moment every now and then to walk barefoot through grass and get kissed by sun rays. That being said, we are soon moving into our third year of operation in Laos, and we are eager to get started this fall.

In June we looked at what we were doing and found possibilities to improve our ways. We came up with a lot of new ideas which I wanted to share with you guys;

Improving our volunteer experience

Feedback from our volunteers have been great and we are honestly so relieved that you all love joining us in Laos.

We knew we loved it, but we had no idea that everyone else did too!

But I guess it takes a special kind of human being to apply as a volunteer in the jungle in Laos. Our volunteer alumni group is growing every day, and I cannot express how much I appreciate past, current and future volunteers. You are the ones bringing our vision for education and sustainability in Laos to life.

So, we had a look at our volunteer cost (which we use to pay rent, wifi, water etc in our Lao house), and asked ourselves how we could reduce them for more amazing volunteers to be able to come join us.

We will test a new volunteer cost point from 1st of September for 12 months. The new cost is almost 50 % cheaper than the original. If we see that more awesome people join us as volunteers so that we are able to pay our local bills, we will keep it.

The original cost for a week of volunteering with us was 139 euro + 50 euro for food. This has now changed to 100 euro in total.

As a nonprofit organization, we can make changes like these because the volunteer cost is not something we charge to make money, but to cover local costs like house rent, wifi and water. We hope that this reduction in our volunteer cost can help some of you who are thinking about volunteering to get crackin’ and send us an application today!

Improving our sustainability

In our strategy meeting a couple of months back we decided to give equal attention to education and cleaning the jungle, bringing our organization to a higher sustainability reach than ever before. We truly believe in the power of sustainability and now we are working with both social and environmental sustainability. On the social side we bring education to rural areas of Laos and we provide salary for 4 local employees in our house. On the environmental side we have EcoBricks, our solution to plastic waste. We will announce a new partnership in the fight against plastic very soon, and we are so excited for the future of our environmental projects to clean the jungle of Laos.

Improving education

We are so stoked to introduce a new education structure from 1st of September. We have experienced that our educational platform called Learning Lab works best for the youngest children, and consequently we have decided to have younger students with us in 3 stages which runs throughout the year (1st of September to mid-July). The students start stage 1 in a duration of three months and jumps to stage 2 if she/he is ready. If not, stage 1 is continued. This gives most of our students a year with us, whilst those who need/wish can stay in the different stages longer. The new educational system will hopefully allow us to give the students personal follow up and education based on their level.

Overall, we are ready and stoked for the third year of operation. We have a lot of new ideas and projects to try out, and not to mention improvement potential which we will do our best to tackle. We hope that when we start again 1st of September that our new educational system will run smoothly with the help from our amazing teachers and international Manager of Education and, of course, our volunteers! We also hope that our new volunteer cost will give more volunteers the possibility to join us in Laos to become a part of a small jungle community and our mission in Laos.

That’s all for now, thank you for following the journey of a small nonprofit organization in the jungle of Laos!

xxx Ås

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