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Overseas Volunteering: Involve in trips and Cultural Exchange

Overseas volunteering with project Kajsiab aims to help the Laos Daauw People in their day to day lives. It means a lot to the people in the community. This is a great opportunity to help others by sharing your knowledge and time.

"One's destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things". H. Miller.

Thank you for your interest in our Kajsiab Initiative.

We, the members of the Kajsiab Team, are interested in getting to know you. You are welcome to visit us as a traveler passing by, sharing your stories and your time, or staying with us to join us for dinner, or spending the night in one of our bungalows. You are also welcome to stay with us for a longer period of time to share life and exchange your knowledge and skills...

"There is a lot of work to do here in the different projects we are building and creating. We are always in need of some extra helping hands!"

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The volunteering with Project Kajsiab Laos is an exchange between the mountain people and the volunteers. Both mountain people and volunteers gain experience, skills and new perspectives by the working, living, playing and eating together.

Each Orientation Volunteer who helps out in the Kajsiab Community, the Cultural Exchange and the Volunteering work will - during the first month of learning - contribute to food, housing and on top of that to one of our building and renovation projects.

Traditional Long term volunteers (who stay longer than the initial first month of learning) will after the initial Orientation Volunteer contribution during the first month, in the next months contribute to food and housing and share their skills with one of the Kajsiab Projects.

Kajsiab focuses on improving the lives of the mountain people by offering

- information about health and education,

- informal small scale trainings and exchange of skills and customs between mountain people and volunteers.

Kajsiab seeks to empower the mountain people and works with new ways to earn an income and new skills to remain self sustainable in the mountains.

We focus on the lives of individual people – which means we are small, Kajsiab is a grassroots Initiative.

We are trying to become completely self sufficient and self sustainable. One of our self-sustainability / cultural exchange / training skills - activities are a home stay and restaurant; Daauw Home.

All income from Daauw Home goes directly back into food costs for the Shelter of the mountain people, The Women’s Workplace, electricity and water costs and the salaries of the local trainees from the mountains who work here.

For the mountain people the training with a decent salary is a very important learning process; they take their skills back to their village to build up their own restaurant or home stay. It also gives them the opportunity the pay hospital bills or work in between working on the rice fields.

Therefore it gives the mountain people a possibility to be able to stay in the mountains and remain self sustainable like they always were.

Longer than 1 month, up to 6 months: Traditional Volunteering at Kajsiab, Daauw Home.

  • You have knowledge about the community at Daauw Home already and are ready to implement your own workshops and share your skills.

  • You are flexible and open minded and are willing to work in a way that the mountain people feel comfortable with. This is their project, not ours.

I week up to 1 month: Orientation Volunteering at Kajsiab, Daauw Home

  • You would like to do a few days or weeks of orientation on the volunteering work and want to share skills, feel the atmosphere, work and live with the mountain people, experience the cultural exchange and go on surveys to the villages to join the workshops (not lead them)

  • You wish to Leave Behind More Than Footprints and are willing to contribute to this grassroots Initiative owned by the Local mountain people to help to develop their Activities (you are donating about 40 percent of your total contribution directly to the Building and developing Activities (no overhead costs, all of your money will go the purchase of education , building and renovation materials, you will buy them most of the time while you are staying with us and do the building and renovation work yourself together with Kajsiab team mountain people!)

  • You eat and drink with us 3 times a day, and get high vitamine organic health food, mostly vegan or vegetarian, plus a fruit plate each day. You are welcome to make as many Traditional Lao Coffee’s and Herbal Tea’s as you like – and are welcome to try new combinations and let the Kajsiab Team try them!

  • You visit the villages whenever the Kajsiab team needs to go there for different reasons, at least 2 times a week - to help out when Kajsiab Team and Traditional Volunteers do workshops there.

  • You help out in the kitchen with the mountain women to cut veggies and do dishes, in the meeting place with the children to do games or teach English, you can help out work computer work/do a workshop or any other skill you might want to share and maybe you will even do some work with the mountain women in the women's workplace, like maybe embroideries.

  • When their is renovation work or building you will help with these activities too.

There is no set time line or set daily structure; we work Lao Way and Lao Time, which suits the mountain people best Who knows…maybe after a while you will get used to it and start to like – maybe even understand - this typical  flow that is originated in intuition…….

You are supporting the mountain people not only financially but also culturally, mentally and socially. The mountain people get a more open view of different cultures - like you will too.  Because of your stay and the time you give them they will become more self confident and get new ideas how they wish to remain self sustainable in the mountains, their home.

This is not a place where you will get adrenaline rushing in your veins.  Do not expect to be entertained.

This is a place of cultural exchange, where you will be able to connect with the people of the mountains while living the day to day life, where you will have a chance to feel and learn about their way of living and their way of thinking. This is a place where your heart will be warmed and where you will be welcomed into a family of people from the mountains who are all seeking ways and learning skills to make their dreams of a self-sustainable and proud future come true, to become a happy, healthy family that can generate enough income to take care of children, schooling costs and medical costs.

There is a set price for a day per person for all meals and sleeping facilities; 40 percent of your contribution goes straight tot the Kajsiab Shelter and Women’s Workplace, on their way to complete self-sustainability.

You will get very healthy organic food, lots of fresh vegetables and fruits and you will sleep in a traditional Hmong Lao wooden house.

Do not expect luxury; this is not your home country but Laos; warm and welcoming, and basic living conditions; back to the simple life!

Do expect unexpected situations; you might find yourself having a sudden cold shower or cut off from electricity.

Embrace all experience with patience and warmth and you will see that you love the basic life the Lao people live.

It is possible to do a Short Term Volunteering Project building and renovating, if you gather funds with friends and family between 500 and 2500 euro, depending on the Project. This way you not only help with Cultural Exchange and sharing skills and knowledge but you also help Kajsiab to develop into a smooth running Project owned by the mountain people. There are many things that still have to be built! The costs you pay by day are in this case that of a Traditional Volunteer.

We are a non-profit Initiative, which means there is no profit from volunteer payments, home stay or restaurant income. All income goes straight to running costs shelter and empowerment projects.(As a reminder: Laos’ goods and foods, especially at the border are more expensive than Thailand because Laos has to import almost all goods from Thailand)

If you want to sleep in a bungalow instead of a traditional wooden house you can book one through our email.

Every additional contribution supports the running of the Shelter and Women’s Workplace of the Mountain People.  Trips to nearby villages and surveys are part of the package.  For trips to waterfall and other things we do while we relax there are additional costs, you can ask Kajsiab Team for details. 

Important Information for Traditional and Orientation Volunteers:

We are currently working on renovation of the Woman's Work Place . There are many activities around this project. We are also currently building with the mountain people on developing an Organic Farm, developing future workshops in the villages about hygiene and sexual health education, we are creating  empowerment activities, making new designs for jewelry and embroideries.
For volunteers it is important to know that during each activity we are informally talking about hygiene, girls’ health education, how to improve self esteem and self confidence, how to take care of our environment, how to minimize garbage, exchange knowledge about raising children and family / partner communication skills. We work mainly informally.Each Kajsiab Team member has their own schedule and has her or his own training program to follow. They have their own tasks, like cleaning or cooking or making embroideries or other work. Each Kajsiab Team member works closely with Nzoua, Lara and Zjong. They have meetings each week in person or in the summer months online about their own personal progress in their traning program. Meanwhile Kajsiab has volunteers coming and going, and the volunteers are encouraged to implement the creative activities. The creative activities can be done when the other work of the trainees is finished; which means most of the time the afternoons will be available. The volunteers can decide before noon to mainly walk with one Kajsiab Team member (work together with one or more members and help them in their daily work (cleaning, cooking, sewing, gardening). This exchange walk has much more impact than any volunteer can imagine and gives the women a boost in self confidence - the fact that westerners want to help them to do the dishes and chooses to spend time with them gives an amazing boost in self esteem of the women of the mountains. The volunteers can use their own skills to implement a specific creative activity for in the afternoons. (photography, paint, dance, print, sport, anything you have done once or more times when you were younger and you still remember how much fun that was or what an impact it had on you......) You are encouraged to launch these activities yourself after approval from Kajsiab team. They can help you and make suggestions to make some changes and advise you when to do the activity. Be flexible, be independent, but also be respectful and remember that the mountain people are in charge here. Always ask permission to do something or take something with Zjong or Boonchan. They have an overview of all activities and work to be done each day so that the organization of Kajsiab and Daauw Home activities goes smoothly.

Remember also that this is maybe the first time in history that the mountain people are in charge, so look in between the lines of all answers you get. Culturally the mountain people are obliged to say yes to anything you ask and are on top of that very shy, so make sure you understand their answers and explanation. Listen to your intuition!!!
If you wish to volunteer with us we can keep a place for you. Just let us know the exact dates you wish to come.

Remember: thevolunteer’s western view is sometimes looking for something to feed the ego and tell people they have accomplished something.

It is a hard lesson to learn to be patient and that not everything is measured by something materialistic or physical.                                       Come, feel and learn to see. Just by being with the community, sharing the good times and the hard times, helping in the evenings to find guests for the restaurant, teaching English, sometimes working 16 hours a day while building or sometimes sharing the relaxing times of doing nothing while it’s raining, reaching out and connecting with the hearts of the mountain people and contributing with paying a small amount for the bungalows and food so the mountain people can be close to self sustainable running the first base...... that is the volunteering here in its very core.

Your being here makes the difference; you are leaving behind a footstep so meaningful all of us can not even comprehend.

Looking forward to sharing life with you,