How it all started...
In October 2018, Melissa encountered a man called Sabu who taught English for free in his living room for the underprivileged children of Nong Khiaw.
She was inspired by his motivation to help the impoverished people of Laos who are unable to pay for education otherwise. This led Melissa and her mother (who helped from France) to set up a French non-profit organization called “Fastknuddeln" to help the children of Laos develop their English abilities for greater job prospects in order to keep up with the growing tourism industry Southeast Asia is experiencing.
Meeting with the Education Office of Nong Khiaw
Through hard work and many discussions with the Educational Office and the local school of Nong Khiaw, Melissa and Sabu got the go ahead to set up an English class in Nong Khiaw Secondary School.
Melissa had to invest her own money into this project because the crowdfunding community and the companies that she contacted didn't believe in her project.
They were then able to build their own English classroom by renovating an old, unused part of the school into a suitable classroom.
Due to serious health problems, Sabu had to leave the project. Luckily, Melissa was able to continue to teach the local children through the unending support of the Nong Khiaw community.
In response to the constant demand for space, we began refurbishing our newly rented community building from September to December 2019.
We organized and structured the space into 3 parts:
a living room, where volunteers can relax during their free time
a conference room, for the daily 10 am planning meeting
a storage room, where we stock all office supplies, teaching materials, and administration papers
Back to school!
The Ministry of Education of Nong Khiaw validated their first official annual curriculum made by a volunteer, Maeva (who joined the English teaching volunteering in April 2019 and became a bureau member in January 2020)!
At the beginning of September, NK English School quickly began registering the vast number of students wishing to join the English school.
Due to the sheer amount of students, the public school agreed to provide two additional classrooms.
THE ORGANIZATION GREW UP !
In November 2019, a collaboration started with Amandine (a volunteer who came at NK English School in March 2019).
Back in France in April 2019, she created an organization to preserve the environment and came back to Laos in October.
NK English School helped her to raise children's awareness of eco-responsible actions.
Quickly, Fastnuddeln decided to merge both organizations to be more involved in ecological issues.
Following this, in January 2020, Fastknuddeln became NK SEEDS divided in two branches :
NK English School
NK refers to the village of Nong khiaw in which we operate. SEEDS means literally seeds and figuratively the seed of ideas. Moreover, SEEDS is the acronym of the values that the organization defends (Nong Khiaw Sharing, Education, Environment and Development of Solidarity).
Since this merger, NK Ecology has created on the site, a composting facility, vegetable gardens, a paper recycling facility and has plans to build machines to recycle plastic waste.
Back to France, to find more support!
A return to France was necessary in June 2019 to find funding and reliable partnerships with companies in France.
NK English School landed incredible partnerships with companies such as MAPED (supplier of school materials), Arc Info Sallanches (a communication agency,) and Damso SA, along with Gomez Groups and others (general funding).
In July 2019, Elodie, Melissa's friend, took the part of the project re organizing events to find donations such as:
Le Criterium du Dauphine
A crepes party (Bobby bar, Cluses)
From February to May 2019
On February 18th 2019, Melissa and a few volunteers such as Kelly (who taught from the beginning of the school opening and helped develop the project until end of May 2019) held the first class under the name of “NK English School,” in their brand-new classroom.
Some teachers from the local school came to help and then they created daily volunteer opportunities for foreigners to visit Nong Khiaw for a few days.
At the beginning of March 2019, the project was threatened because of administrative authorization delays from the Muang Ngoi district headquarters.
At the end of March 2019, the project was finally validated.
In April 2019, the volume of children interested in learning English increased. Moreover, the success and popularity of the English school brought a lot of foreign volunteers wishing to stay for a longer time.
This required creation of additional facilities such as several bungalows to accommodate them.
With the help of volunteers, they created a crowdfunding campaign in order to pay for rent.
The bungalows still need some refurbishment and renovation, but they housed about 20 volunteers from April to the end of May 2019; the end of the school year.
Back to Laos...
In August 2019, Melissa returned to Laos to prepare for our first new school year.
Thanks to the donations collected during the summer and the help of a new team of volunteers, the renovation of the bungalows and the building and furnishing of a kitchen were realized.