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October 2012

MEC in October 2012

October is by tradition a busy month for MEC. All regular schools in Luang Prabang have again opened their doors after the 'mid-year' holiday recess, and this means that a lot of students who had gone home to the countryside to help their families in the fields to plant rice and other crops, are also returning to MEC. We welcome back many students from earlier in the year, but also there are many new faces. This year however we experience a 'problem' in this respect; the demand for extra English classes at MEC proved as such that we had to tell people to wait until we have a new possibility of opening another class. MEC is working towards expansion inasmuch that we are in the process of training a new group of local teachers to accommodate more students than we currently teach. In addition we are improvising to create another classroom to accommodate more students.


Since this year MEC has its own 'volunteer programme'. Although we did work with volunteers before that through another organisation, we decided that having our own programme would give us more control over classes being attended by volunteers. Also the programme presents no obstacles for potential volunteers other than coming over to Laos and staying in Luang Prabang for however long. We simply offer the opportunity to volunteer at MEC. People can apply on-line and reserve time at MEC. MEC doesn't charge for anything but welcomes the volunteers' participation in its classes as the students benefit from the presence of English speaking people.


Currently, a third of our over 300 students are being sponsored. A number of these students are 'traditionally' sponsored by generous people who support our students through the Dutch foundation ELK and 'friends' of MEC; people who are acquainted with the centre in some way and believe in the power of supporting it. In addition to that, over the years it has turned out that the presence of volunteers has the additional benefit for MEC that, usually the volunteers are enthused about the MEC concept after having experienced it first hand. During their stay or on leaving, many volunteers decide to support one of our many applicants for sponsorship. To be able to offer English classes to those who cannot really afford has always been one of the core objectives of the centre and to see that many volunteers are keen to support a student at MEC is a real joy!