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September 2011

Daily on-goings

Class attendance at MEC is influenced by time schedules of regular schools in Luang Prabang. Today this means that since June/July we have seen an increase in applications at MEC due to school holidays during which many younger students opt for extra English classes at MEC. Although there is a recess at Souphanouvong University as well, it doesn't necessarily mean an increase in numbers at our MEC-U location which draws most its students from the university campus which is located opposite our centre in Done Mai village, 5 kilometres north of Luang Prabang town. With the start of its recess in June, attendance at English classes at MEC-U has been lower. The majority of university students come from outside Luang Prabang which means that during recess they pack their bags, leave their dormitories and go home until the start of the new semester. In numbers this means that today MEC is accommodating about 350 students.

Volunteering

MEC has 6 Lao teachers and 2 foreign teachers. In addition we work with foreign volunteers. Until recently these volunteers came through an organisation that provides volunteering programmes globally. However today MEC is establishing its own programme for volunteers. This enables MEC to provide volunteers with the opportunity to participate in MEC activities as outlined in its programme at a low price. The students benefit from interaction with foreigners, volunteers are provided a meaningful experience and MEC enables people to see how our English classes can change lives for the better. One way volunteers can join our programme is through our website: www.volunteering.mec-laos.org

Sponsoring

For about 4 years now, the Dutch foundation ELK (English for Lao Kids) has raised money from generous individuals and schools that has changed lives in a positive way for over 50 students studying English at MEC. In this time we have learned that it is those 'needing' students who are most diligent and often most successful at MEC. Today MEC has started a campaign to attract more such potential 'winners' offering courses at 'symbolic' prices and seeking sponsors for the remainder. In numbers this means that a student would pay US$ 6.25 per month and the sponsor US$ 10. MEC is promoting our work locally in Luang Prabang by handing out small brochures to tourists.

Foreign guests

In July, MEC had the pleasure of receiving two guests connected to the foundation ELK in Holland. Iris van 't Erve and Marit Tenkink. They brought a huge shopping bag full of games that since their arrival have gone through many grateful hands at the 'reading' table in the MEC reception area and especially a version of Scrabble is proving to be immensely popular! The girls stayed for 2 weeks and attended a number of classes at MEC in addition to brave rainy season weather conditions to partake in classes at MEC-U. Iris and Marit: students are still waiting in line to play 'Stapelwoord' and we're still to complete all jigsaws..

MEC-U schoolyard

In our last newsletter the construction of a schoolyard at MEC-U was announced. This could be done through a donation made through the foundation ELK and since then construction did actually take place, be it with a slight delay due to weather conditions. Today the MEC-U yard has an inviting feel about it with the first signs of a proper garden in the make courtesy of our local receptionist and caretaker Mr. Lee. Much appreciated!

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Iris & Marit at MEC....

Schoolyard MEC-U today.