„Teaching Lao students have enabled me to learn and reflect on life. They have also taught me to be happy and grateful.“

John Ponce, Valenzuela City/The Philippines (Volunteer at Reading Elephant Laos in 2019)


Since the opening of our children’s library in 2017, people from many countries have visited us and helped to make our work more attractive for and with the children and young people. Some guests accompanied us to our book festivals in a village school, others did voluntary work with us for days, weeks or even months. Many of them became friends, continued to be supporters by collecting donations and telling others about our project in their countries. We remain in close contact with many of them. – Here you can read what experiences they have had with us.

  • “Accompanying the team to a school for a book festival day is an immense asset. You will probably learn more about the country and its people there than in 2 weeks. In addition, the children are very open and interested, which is an additional pleasure.”

    Karin, Theater Director, Berlin, Germany (Feb. 2020)

  • “Two months experience as a volunteer with a dedicated and motivated team; my tasks varied between presenting the project for passing tourists, chatting and basic English lessons for students, trips to schools in neighboring villages and various other things … the work is concrete and useful! The welcome from the team, volunteers on site as well as students and teachers in the villages was always excellent! An enriching experience for me! I hope to return there soon to be able to help again.”

    Nicolas, Investment Advisor, Rennes, France (Sept.-Nov. 2019)

  • “I have started to become a volunteer of Reading Elephant since January 2019. This was the period when I conducted my intensive fieldwork in Bokeo Province, Northern Laos. Volunteering in this organization was really a wonderful experience. My experiences of teaching English to Buddhist monks and Lao students — both in Houaysai and other remote villages of the province — have enabled me not only to share my knowledge and pieces of my broken heart, but also to learn and reflect on life. Apart from learning new things about rural life in Laos, my Lao students have also taught me to be happy and grateful. Despite the experience of poverty, the young people with whom I taught always wore their best smile and showed their enthusiasm to learn. Even if we only shared little things with them, their hearts were always full of gratitude. The fulfilment of seeing the smiles of these young people and listening to their dreams for themselves and for their families cannot be bought by money nor any material wealth. Most importantly, being a volunteer at Reading Elephant has allowed me to meet my second home in Laos — the loving company of Holger, Aiy Keo, Siao Touy, Huk, and their families.”

    John Ponce (ຈອນ ປອນ), Valenzuela City, The Philippines (Feb.-Sep. 2019)

  • “We visited Bokeo in February 2019, first in the beautiful shop and then to a book festival in a village school. We helped loading and distributing the books. The many children were very excited and curious and were happy to be able to read a book. The lunch break was unforgettable. The teachers caught fish for us in the nearby stream and grilled them over the fire – a delight with herbs and rice!”

    Helmut and Carsten, Lychen / Uckermark, Germany (Feb. 2019)

  • “I had the chance to join the book party activities of Reading Elephant Laos a few times which is usually in remote schools. I always feel happy to see the excited and enthusiastic eyes of these kids for the story books that Reading Elephant team brings for them to read. They search for the books they like and read with attention lay on the mats and tell their friends about the story. They always look happy to read the books and have fun activity with the Reading Elephant team. They look sad when we leave their schools. Their schools do not have library and no story books to read. They just dream that they can read story books more often.”

    Keoxomphou (ແກ້ວຊຸມພູ), Journalist, Vientiane, Laos (Jan. 2018)