1,908,406 people have helped raise more than $5,114,114 for 249 projects

Project details

Build bright futures for young people in Laos Lao PDR , RUN BY: Friends International | STATUS: COMPLETED

This project is 100% Funded



USD 10,002

Raised from 4,282 people

Project background

Despite strong economic growth in recent years, Laos faces major challenges in the area of human development. Education is one of the core needs not being fulfilled for the poorest and most marginalized in Laos. As of 2016, only 36% of the adult population had received secondary-level education. This lack of education and access to employment opportunities can lead young people into a vicious cycle of poverty and high-risk behaviors, such as drug and alcohol abuse.

In northern Laos, the city of Luang Prabang has experienced increased tourism in recent years. Marginalized and vulnerable populations from the northern provinces of Laos migrate to Luang Prabang in the hopes of benefiting from the city’s increasing wealth.

However, as many of them come from ethnic minorities, are poorly educated and have limited knowledge of Lao language, it can be extremely difficult to find a job. There is a clear opportunity to increase marginalized people’s share in tourism-related income by skilling them up to be hired in the industry. This is a core aim of our work in Luang Prabang.

Project overview

Khaiphaen restaurant in Luang Prabang is providing a 9 to 12 month vocational training to marginalized young people aged 15-24 along with basic services and employment opportunities so that they can lift themselves out of poverty. It has been operating since 2014 and is training about 30 students per year.

As a social business, Khaiphaen provides:

  • Comprehensive market-relevant hospitality training (cooking, serving, and restaurant management) to youth.
  • Supportive services such as psycho-social counselling, literacy and numeracy education, life-skills education.
  • Basic social services such as medical care, referrals to hospital, daily meals, transportation, and safe short-term housing in a group homes, if students live far from Luang Prabang.
  • Job-readiness training and employment support to provide the full suite of skills required for employment. We ensure graduates secure safe, gainful employment or equip them to start their own micro-enterprises. 100% of our students are placed into employment after graduation. 

What's covered in project cost

Project costs include everything needed for students to study in a safe and nurturing environment, and to find safe and gainful employment after graduation, namely:

  • social services for students and employment support;
  • personnel (cooking teachers and staff training students);
  • restaurant running costs; and
  • accommodation. 

Partners and community involvement

To ensure the sustainability and efficiency of the project, Friends-International and Khaiphaen are working with a range of different partners:  

  • Local communities and especially village chiefs for our outreach activities. Village chiefs get in touch with us when a family in their community is in a difficult situation and if they see potential for a young person to enrol in our training.
  • Partner NGOs referring some cases to us to enrol teenagers in the training.
  • Businesses in the hospitality industry to place graduates in internships, apprenticeships or jobs. We also bring students to those partners as part of our study tours to show them different work environments and sectors.
  • Travel companies helping us to reach out to new audiences and to attract tourists to the restaurant. We have developed a few specific packages and activities for travel companies – tailored to their needs and customer’s typology. 

Part of a larger strategy

Khaiphaen is run by Peuan Mit (Friends-International’s program in Laos) saving lives and building futures of the most marginalized children, youth and their families. This project is one of the ways we support our beneficiaries. In addition, we also provide catch up and remedial education for out of school children, school enrolment services, other types of vocational training for young people (e.g. motorbike mechanics in Vientiane), social services to caretakers and micro-business support for young people or caretakers to help them find sustainable ways to support their family.

Khaiphaen also has sister restaurants which use the same vocational training model in Vientiane (Laos), Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Sihanoukville (Cambodia) and Yangon (Myanmar), training a total of 330 students per year, with profits invested back into the programmes to reach more young people.

How was this funded?

Thanks to hundreds of tiny donations from these online businesses and their customers.

World Nomads USA
World Nomads Canada
World Nomads Australia
World Nomads NZ
World Nomads UK
World Nomads Global
World Nomads Europe
World Nomads Ireland
Friends International

Friends-International (FI) is an international social enterprise and registered non-governmental organization focusing on children's empowerment established in Cambodia in 1994. Their mission is to build a future where all children are safe from all forms of abuse, are able to become productive citizens of their countries and contribute to a more equitable and sustainable world.