Who are we?

Mr. Claus

German born (1965) Mr. "Galau", as the Lao articulate it, is not a certified ESL Teacher. I studied Drama at the University of Frankfurt/Main and I've worked my way through five different German theatres as an actor. Thus was I determined to do with the rest of my life, when I left my distraught parents in "Meschede in Westphalen" - the very backwater settlement in Central Germany where I was born and bred. What I got was a smooth middle class stage career with ups and downs, even highlights - never fruitless and never scratching the edge of fame. Good enough to go on until the end of my days - or to "exit the scene" after 15 years - and never to regret it. "The theatre won't let you go - ever!" head of 'das Theatererlangen' Frau Dhein had solemnly said when I made it for a sabbatical year to Laos: "Not you! You are an actor..." And there's nothing much to be added to this: "I am an actor..."

And then Mr. Khamngeun (another man with an unpronounceable name), head of the Provincial Luang Prabang Traffic Police, had decided it would be rather useful for him to know his share of English - and I had an assignment! He and his staff became my first students - and many others followed. "Mr. Galau" on the backseat of a motorbike with a uniformed driver was a well-established image in those days: "Did they arrest him?"- "No, they didn't arrest him - he teaches them English..." - "He does what???" - "He teaches them English!" - "I can't believe it!"

"Your bribes are education..." my friend and Laos veteran Ruth had laughingly said. "No one's ever done that before..."

"Is this somewhat similar to an English language class?" I asked highly respected librarian Carol Kresge, who I had beseeched to attend the "Claus Haumer-teaches-English"-Show in Mr. Khamngeuns's dining room.
"What else should it be?" she said.
"But is it right that I do it?"
"No one else does it..."
"Well then ...", I came to think, "No one else does it..."

Ajahn (Teacher)

And then UNDP set up an 8 month English Language course for Luang Prabang government officials. Three guys had applied for the job - two of them were qualified ESL teachers! - and UNDP had decided it would be me. Only God knows what drove them... "A natural born teacher!" Ruth said - and: "Why don't you do what you do the best? Why don't you stay in Laos and start your own English school?" Ooops... to have the idea was one thing! But to obtain a licence for a private language school in a country like Laos was another kettle of fish - and in particular for a 'falang', as the Lao call foreigners: The authorities would do their best to quench the idea before the take-off... I couldn't have been more in the wrong: an English Language School run by "Mr. Claus" was the very thing they really wanted: Against all odds I got my licence in the record time of three months! It might have helped that the officials in charge were busily studying English at the building site, which would soon become the MANO ENGLISH LANGUAGE CENTRE...

But why Laos? Why Luang Prabang?

When I went on my first meditation retreat in the "new world", Venerable Pra Ajahn Plien spoke to me the rather mysterious words: "You were born in the wrong place!- You just came home! But there's a reason you were born in the wrong place: you've gained some benefits over there in good old Europe. It's high time someone gave something back to the people here..." Well, I don't know if there's anything about it: The Pra Ajahn is by far more enlightened than others I've met - and so I put up with the task he had charged me with... A couple of years later I couldn't have put it any better!- It feels right in a way:

I just came home...

Mr. Marcel

To me, coming to ENGLISH FOR EVERYONE was a dream come true. Ever since I first visited the region in 2001, I always had the ambition to be an English teacher in South-east Asia. Travelling around in the area, I learned about the great need for teachers, and in particular English language teachers. With this in mind I returned to my native country Holland and enrolled in an English- teaching course in order to obtain a Bachelor's degree.

During my years on the course I kept track of the many opportunities for teachers in South-east Asia. When one day I spotted a vacancy for an English teacher in Laos, and of all places, in Luang Prabang, which I remembered so well for its beauty and friendly people when passing through on my previous travels, I took a second to decide to apply for it.

I was more than surprised to receive a positive reply to my application, and after a few months of contact with Claus via e-mail, I decided on a bit of adventure, packed my bag and took off on a one-way trip to Laos.

Now, at E4E, I can elaborate on my sentiments about my move to Luang Prabang, but as this site is about the school and not me, let me just compile it in a suggestion that works wonders for me:

Follow Your Heart...

Mr. Max

Hello! My name is Vansay (Max) Somboun. I am the director of E4E.

For me, being where I am today, it has been quite a long journey since the first days I have known and been part of E4E.

Like many of E4E staff, I come from a farmer family in a small village, about 7 kilometres outside Luang Prabang town. I came to town in 2007 and worked to save up some money to study.

In 2008, I was able to attend English Classes at E4E; at that time it was known as the "Mano English Language Centre". I studied there until I completed both Beginner and Intermediate Levels.

In 2010, E4E changed its location and name to the "Mekong English Centre" and that was when I started working at E4E as a trainee teacher. After 6 months I completed the teacher training Course and started running my own classes.

In 2011, I started teaching Intermediate level in addition to the Beginner classes. After years of teaching and having new experiences and really putting my heart in my job, enjoying what I am doing, helping people learn and meeting new, different people, I am happy to be where I am today.

In 2013, I got the opportunity to help to train new trainee teachers and continue to support them and assist with the day to day running of E4E, and providing volunteering information to our friends and people who come to volunteer at E4E. Before the end of the year 2017, the name "Mekong English Centre" was changed to "English for Everyone" (E4E) and moved to a new building and this was also the time I was introduced as the director. I feel very lucky and even more connected.

In 2018, E4E has begun its new life through solid team-work and the shared goal of helping people learn English for a better future.

To be continued...

Ms Neng

My name is Miss Neng THOR. I'm Hmong and I live in Laos. My family lives in a small village in the countryside.

I came to Luang Prabang in 2009 and I have been working at E4E since 2010.

Now I am an English teacher at E4E. I am very happy to teach and help students and it also helps to improve my own English.

Mr Khamxay

My name is Khamxay. I'm from Laos.

I came to Luang Prabang town to further educate myself. With education comes money to support my family and my village community.

I'm a teacher at E4E but, before I became a teacher at E4E, I was one of E4E's students. I was an E4E student for 2 years.

I love my job because it helps out the Lao community and the next Lao generation.

Ms Somphone

Hello, Sabaidee! My name is Somphone Inthadakone.

I'm Lao. I'm from Chomphet district, but my family moved to Luang Prabang in 2013.

I'm a student at Norhtern Finance College, but I'm also a teacher at E4E centre. I have been working here 2 years and I really like my job and I love all the students, all colleagues and this place, this centre.

I'm glad to meet everyone here and I teach as best as I can.

Mr Somneuk

My name is Somneuk. I am 22 years old.

Now I am an English teacher at E4E and I used to be a student here in the last 2 years.

I am from the countryside, about 20 kilometers far from Lpb town. There are10 people in my family.

When I was at high school I planned to study and speak English better, but I had no chance. Also we were poor, but after finishing high school, I came to live in my uncle's house to continue my education at university in town and since then I studied English at E4E for two-and-a-half years. Then I became a teacher after I graduated the intermediate course. I was a regular student and also I was lucky because I had got a sponsor, although I didn't know who he or she was. The sponsor paid for everything.

Now, I teach 5 classes a day. One class in the afternoon and four classes in the evening.

What I like the most in my job is: being proud and happy when I can see my students speak English very well to me. I love this job so much.

Ms Phommaly

Hello! My name is Phommaly Jilided.

I am 18 years old, and I am a high school student. This year is my last year in high school.

I was born in a poor family and my hometown is quite far from Luang Prabang town, about 80 kilometres. There are 6 people in my family, but I don't live with them. I live in my uncle's house in Luang Prabang so I can have my education at high school.

Now I am an English teacher at E4E. Before that, I was a student here. I studied English here over the last 2 years.

When I was at lower secondary school, I planned to study and speak English better, but my parents didn't have money to support me to study. Then I came to live in my uncle's house in Luang Prabang town. At E4E I got a sponsor who paid for my studies.

I am very happy to work with E4E. For the moment I teach 3 classes per day and I am grateful to help Lao learners to build a better future for themselves and I wish to thank my teacher and my sponsor to make my life good and me happy.

Thank you!!

Mr Bounkham

Hi! My name is Bounkham.

I'm 19 years old. I live in a small town in Lung Prabang province. I live with my family.

I'm an English teacher at E4E and I'm a student, too. I study at Souphanouvong University in the faculty of languages.

I'm very happy to be a part of E4E. I like teaching and I love helping Lao people learning English. I like English because it's amazing when you can read or write and understand in English. That's why I learn English, to help myself and others. It is quite challenging for me and I'm still learning from it. I want to see my students succeed in their life, have a better life and help themselves.

I am happy to be an English teacher and I'm ready to help others to learn English.

Thank you!

Mr Phid

Hello! My name is Mr Phid, but you can call me Pack.

I am 18 years old and from a poor family from the north of Luang Prabang Province, about seven hours from Luang Prabang town.

I am a high school student, but before that I was a novice in the temple for five years. After those five years I decided to come out of the temple and since then I have been a part of E4E as an English teacher.

I am very proud of this job and I am very happy when I see my students can speak English and they are happy to learn with me.

I teach classes in the evening, from Mondays to Fridays. I prepare before my classes every day because my students are very keen to learn.

I'm very glad to be with E4E, helping Lao students to get a better future and as such help other people in the world. This is my wish.

Thank you for taking time to read this!