This is only a brief list of organizations we recommend considering who have projects and provide support services in the region. In-country, while visiting we can also arrange for you to visit a school to donate school supplies (above) or teach an impromptu English lesson (a wonderful experience for kids if you are traveling with family), or arrange placement for professional service such as with the University of San Francisco's Vietnam Nurse Project whom we have partnered with for over a decade.
San Francisco-based Room to Read provides for the building of libraries throughout Asia —and has been phenomenally successful, building over 13,000 so far, while distributing over 10 million books. From Room to read: "We are a global organization dedicated to promoting and enabling education through programs focused on literacy and gender equality in education. Our Reading Room program provides libraries to children so they can read and to explore. Our Local Language Publishing program allows children to read books in their mother tongue. Our School Room program gives children a safe place to learn. Our Girls' Education program enables girls to enroll in and stay in school. We currently work in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Laos, Nepal, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Zambia – with plans to expand so we can bring educational opportunities and resources to children throughout the developing world. Web: www.roomtoread.com
If you are traveling with your children to Luang Prabang, we will be arranging a visit to this delightful place, an international project that has worked in Luang Prabang since 1993 providing safety, shelter, and schooling for local children. The village is a wonderful model for similar projects, with children places into "families" who share housing, vocational training and learning together. Web: http://www.soschildrensvillages.org.uk/sponsor-a-child/asia
This French non-profit charity works to help children in Southeast Asia gain access to education and health. "EdM'" works to promote children's and their families' quality of life and opportunities for a better future for the whole region.
Founded in 1958 as the Association pour la protection de l'enfance du Laos (APPEL) by French doctor René Péchard the original aim was to help orphans in Laos through sponsorships and volunteer French dentist services. In 1977, APPEL became Enfants du Mekong and is now active in Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Myanmar, and Yunnan region in South China. Annually, 22,000 children receive school scholarships. In addition, the organization supports about 60,000 children on a daily basis. Web: www.enfantsdumekong.com.
EdM's work also addresses infrastructure needs to improve the welfare of communities, building and renovating schools, kindergartens, and access drinking water. Projects are monitored on-site every year by EdM with local teams to oversee their progress and ensure the correct use of funds.
The first international project to provide post-graduate education for nurses in Vietnam. The project's mission is to improve the health and well-being of the people of Vietnam by improving education, training, and practice standards of the nurses who care for them. The VNP organizes trips for American volunteer nurses to travel to Vietnam and provide education and training within the country. Contact founder Greg Crow for more information on how you can contribute. Web: http://www.usfca.edu/nursing/vietnam/
Kim Bong Cooperative, located in a small village just on the other side of Thu Bon River from Hoi An. This project's activities are on vocational training and women may learn to create goods, such weaving rattan mats and baskets, or producing marketable food items, such as dried noodles. Visit with the cooperative's officers to learn more about the project.
Charity for Misfortunate Pregnant Women. A charity project providing shelter, food and career support for pregnant girls who have no support or resources. Women can stay at this project until they give birth to their child and after that, they can continue to stay here if they want for some time.
The Mai Tam House of Hope is a home and center for HIV/AIDS positive widows, mothers, and children that provides shelter, medicine, medical care, education, and referrals for its residents and the many walk-ins it receives in need of support. Web: http://www.maitamhouseofhope.com/
AFESIP is a non-governmental, non-partisan, and non-religious organization established at the grass-root level in Cambodia in 1996. AFESIP operates several shelters devoted to “humanly correct development” to aid the fight against the trafficking of women and children for sex slavery. Web: http://www.afesip.org
The Cambodian Acid Survivors Charity. Teaching massage for the blind and training for new skills for victims of acid attacks or to help with their blindness. They have started an agriculture program to teach victims new skills. Web: http://www.cambodianacidsurvivorscharity.org/index.htm
Rehabilitation Craft Workshop. A project to provide opportunities for Cambodians with physical disabilities. Web: www.camnet.com.kh/rehabcraft
The Cambodian Women Crisis Center. The center's goal is to provide women who have been victims of gender-based abuse and their children with crisis intervention services and to reduce violence against women. CWCC provides services at both a drop-in-center and confidential shelter. Web: http://www.cwcc.org.kh/
The Cambodia Women's Development Association (CWDA) is non-profit, non-government organization with a strong feminist agenda. It is dedicated to promoting self-sufficiency and self-reliance in Cambodian communities and the advancement of women's economic and social rights. Web: http://www.pub22.net/cwda/
The Women's Media Centre of Cambodia (WMC) is a non-profit NGO using the media, specifically broadcasting, to promote social change. WMC touches on most issues effecting women in Cambodia today such as; HIV/Aids, trafficking, election, domestic violence, and poverty. Web: http://www.wmc.org.kh/
Not specifically focused on women, but Pour un Sourire d'Enfant (PSE), a French non-profit organization, does effective work with boys & girls in providing schooling and vocational training at their center in Stung Meanchey, where the clients can also enjoy lunch and visit the PSE center. Web: http://pse.asso.fr/
Women's Resource Center. Founded in 2008, the WRC's mission is to empower women by providing information and programs related to health education, mental health counseling, legal aid, literacy education and work skills training. Programs include reproductive health, literacy education, maternal and infant health care and resource referral program. Web: http://www.wrccambodia.org/
Human Resource and Natural Development (HRND). The mission of HRND is to provide support to the women and orphaned children, who make up so much of rural Cambodian society. Activities include nutrition education, sanitation and clean water projects. Web: http://www.hrnd-ngo-cambodia.org/
Enfants D'asie Aspeca — a unique orphanage supported by a French organization Enfants d'Asie, where orphans from far-remote areas are trained the Khmer music and dance to preserve the traditional art. Web: http://www.enfantsdasie.com/fr/nos-programmes/au-cambodge
Educating people about the danger and devastating effects of land mines. The long-time project also provides for education and support for at-risk youth and landmine-affected children. Web: http://www.cambodialandminemuseum.org/
Lao-Thai Scholarship Program on Gender and Health Equity. The program goals are to promote gender equity in sexual health and develop knowledge and human resource capacity on gender, sexuality and sexual health in Lao PDR. The program various activities include selecting students within the Lao PDR to participate in the M.A. Program in Women’s Studies at Chiang Mai University, Thailand, with a particular focus on gender, sexuality and sexual health; Supporting Lao students in national and regional seminars on sexual health issues; Field visits of students (both Lao and Thai), coordinators and professors in the M.A. Program in Women’s Studies to organizations in Thailand and Lao PDR working on sexual and reproductive health issues; On-site seminars on relevant topics such as gender mainstreaming in the provision of sexual services; safe sex negotiations and sexual power dynamics; and trafficking in women. Web: http://wsc.soc.cmu.ac.th/Lao%20Scholarship.htm
Banyan Tree Reading Centre runs a non-profit children's library in Yangon. The library provides Burmese and English language books and journals/periodicals and offers membership to the public at a cost of 5,000 kyat (approximately $4) per year. The Reading Centre also has a separate children's play area to provide an affordable place for children to play, read and learn. Offering inviting and comfortable atmosphere with colorful, enticing age-appropriate books, and nooks for children to sit and read. About 40-50 children visit the center each day. The centers key goal is to encourage early literacy in Burmese and English languages, alongside well developed information literacy skills and a love of reading. As the Centre develops, it will offer a range of early childhood and adult literacy classes to the public. The charity is also interested in library development in the Delta areas where they’ve been constructing schools. More information at www.banyanreading.org.
Literacy is a major issue in Laos, lagging far behind Vietnam and Thailand, especially in remote hill tribe areas where many children have never held a book. In Laos we recommend Big Brother Mouse which publishes and distributes books to children. Consider becoming a sponsor during your trip, and even distributing books your self as you travel through the country. More on Big Brother Mouse: at www.bigbrothermouse.com.
Almost all volunteering with elephant camps and care centers are volunteerism projects in which travelers pay to attend. We can provide details on over a dozen camps in Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar, which vary dramatically on location, infrastructure, amenities, and length of service. Contact is for specific details.
Adopt an Orangutan! The Orangutan Project (TOP) is a not-for-profit organization, supporting orangutan conservation, rain forest protection and reintroduction of orphans in order to save the species from extinction: www.orangutan.org.au
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