Many people have helped us with our mission of getting good books to children throughout Laos. If you like what we're doing, we would appreciate your support. Here are some ways you can help, whether you're visiting Laos, or far away.
IF YOU'RE IN LAOS
Spend a day at Big Sister Mouse in the countryside
Our new learning center, Big Sister Mouse, has students ranging from pre-schoolers to young adults. Spend a full day with us; we provide transportation and lunch. (A small donation is to help cover costs is appreciated but not required.) This is possible several days a week, please look for information at our shop in central Luang Prabang while you're here.
1-3 week internships
At this time, we are only able to accommodate one-day visitors at Big Sister Mouse on certain days of the week. If you can spend 1 to 3 weeks, however, so that you learn the routine, we can keep you busy every day (5 days a week), with a variety of activities that include English practice in ways that keep you, and everyone else, absorbed.
Buying and giving books
If you're traveling in Laos, buy books at one of our shops, and take them when you go to villages. When you buy a set of books, we'll provide advice and suggestions about the most appropriate ways to distribute them. In the towns and cities, give books as tips, to local college students who are working in hotels and restaurants. Take home some bilingual books as attractive and unusual gifts.
Bring an educational toy or game (as explained on the What We Need page), help our staff learn about it, then leave it, so they can help others understand and enjoy it.
Help young adults learn English
If you're in Luang Prabang, you can help young adults with
English conversation practice daily at 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m..
Other volunteering at our office and shop
Helping at our English practice is usually the best way to make a difference when you're in Laos. We often hear from travelers who would like to volunteer in other ways. We appreciate the interest and support. But our language, culture, and ways of doing things are probably quite different from what you're used to. The suggestions above are the best ways to help. We occasionally do need volunteers for special projects. These situations change frequently and are posted in our Luang Prabang office; we regret that are not able to answer inquiries or discuss volunteer opportunities by email.
FROM OUTSIDE LAOS
Sponsor a book
We have many exciting titles ready to be printed. A sponsorship of just $1,000-$3,500 U.S. is all that's needed to bring a new book into Laos. Here are some books that need a sponsor.
Sponsor a book party and reading program
During the school year we travel to rural villages, hold a book party at the school, and leave some 400 more books, so children can read every day. At the book party we talk about books, play games, and sing a song about reading. Then each child gets to select a book – nearly always the first book they've ever owned. Finally, we leave 80-100 interesting, age-appropriate books in each classroom (typically a school has five classes, grades one to five) for daily reading.
Translate into Lao
Some of our books originate in English, and need to be translated into Lao. If you are fluent in both English and Lao, and would like to help, we can publish a more varied range of material. The lack of suitable translators has kept us from doing as much as we want to. Translation requires good fluency in both English and Lao, and the ability to type in Lao.
Sending us surplus books from abroad
What's really needed in Laos is books in Lao language, that people can read. The money spent on shipping costs would be much better spent to sponsor a book here, or to help us get Lao books into rural villages.
Link to our website
If you have a website or blog, or know someone who does, post a link to Big Brother Mouse. Please link to our home page only:
You can help us reduce spam by putting only our website, and not our email address, on your site.
Full-time English teacher
In 2016 we opened Big Sister Mouse, a learning center on the outskirts of Luang Prabang. We have pre-schoolers from age 3, primary school students, and young adults, and they'd all like to learn English. So in the summer of 2017, for the first time, we're ready to take on a long-term, full-time teacher. This is a semi-volunteer position: We do not pay a salary, but after a trial period, we'll provide room and board (in dorm-style accommodations at Big Sister Mouse.) You do not need to be a native English speaker, but you should speak it fluently, pronouncing sounds such as "th" easily, and with generally correct grammar. It's okay if you cannot define the present imperfect tense, but you should be using it when appropriate.
Teaching methods: We use a variety of methods. Young adult students learn both written and spoken English; children (currently, at least), learn only spoken. We use conversation, games, movies, and a lot of songs. There are times that it's helpful for the teacher to stand in front of the class, in a traditional style, but much less of that than in a conventional school.
Trial period: There's no way to know if this is a good fit for someone without them giving it try. Getting a work visa is expensive and involves significant time and paperwork, so we want to be sure it's going to work out. During the trial period, we'll ask you to volunteer for one week, paying your own expenses. (We can provide transportation from a guesthouse in the city.) If that works out, then comes another five weeks under the same conditions. If we both agree it's a good fit, then we'll apply for the visa. Until you have the work and residency papers, the law requires that you stay at a guesthouse rather than at the school.