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Help Khoumpha raise money for a brighter future
$470 raised
47% of $1k goal
15 contributors
4 Years running
Help Khoumpha raise money for university so he can give back to his village and local community. University in Laos is only $400 per year- a lot, when you have very little. I want to help him raise money for two years of school. Last year I spent

Help Khoumpha raise money for university so he can give back to his village and local community.

The money we are raising will go towards 2 years of school fees, a bicyle for transportation, text books and school uniforms. 

Khoumpha grew up in a remote village in Northern Laos. His parents are poor rice farmers who didn't have the means to support him, so he left his village 4 years ago to become a novice monk in the big city. This was the only way for him to go to high school. He is now finished with highschool, has left the temple and wants to go to university.... University in Laos is only $400 per year- a lot, when you have very little. I want to help Khoumpha's dream of an education and a better life for his family come true by helping him raise money for two years of university. Poverty is a cycle let's break it! Education is the key!

Last year I spent one year in Laos and ended up teaching English to Khoumpha and his friends at Visoun temple in Luang Prabang. Life in Laos was very different from what I was used to and not always easy, but teaching the novies and learning about their culture and customs as well as their language always made my days brigher and is one of the reasons I fell in love with the country and its people. 

Khoumpha was one of my brightest, warm-hearted students and always eager to learn. He is one of the most positive, driven, responsible people I have ever met. He became a close friend of mine, almost like a younger brother, and we were always able to put a smile onto each others faces. He is now 17 years old and recently left the temple to find a job and save up money for university. However, salary in Laos is very little (about $70/month) and living expenses in the city aren't cheap.  His family can only help him with very little such as food- rice from the farm. They don't even have enough money to buy him books for school. 

Please read his story below and help him make his dreams come true- every little helps! :)


my name is Khoumpha Phanyasavanh. I was born in 1997 in a small village in Northern Laos and I now live in Visounnarath Temple in Luang Prabang. I became a novice four years ago, when I was 12 years old, and went to Buddhism high school. I have one younger brother, he is fifteen years old, he is a student at secondary school and I have one younger sister, she is seven years old, she is a pupil at primary school.

The village of my family is located in a very remote area far from any town. My parents are rice farmers and they work hard every day. They cut the forest to cultivate it to a field to grow rice. When I spent my life with my family it was very hard for my parents to take care of us while working in the rice field. Every day I had to find food by fishing in the river, picking vegetables along the streams and around the rice fields in order for my family to have enough food.At that time, I was seven years old and I felt happy to live in the remote area. I did not think of the importance of education yet.

One day, when I was a little older, I realized that life in my village was not easy and that there was no access to education or any other social services. My family didn’t have enough money, so I discussed with my parents the possibility to leave the village and to go study in the city. Since my family could not support me, the only way for me to study in a big city like Luang Prabang, was to become a novice in a temple.

I really wanted to be able to help my family later on and have a good life in the future. I did not want to spend my life working in the rice fields like my parents. My parents agreed with me and told me that I could only become a novice when it was my own choice and after having finished primary school. I decided to become a novice when I was twelve years old and to dedicate my life to the Buddhist religion. So, I left my family and my village and took a 6 hour bus ride to live in the big city.

It’s been four years now that I have lived in the temple and gone to Buddhist school. Life in a Buddhist temple as a novice is not easy. After four years I can say this. From the outside and from the point of view of a tourist it looks like a happy life, but in reality it is not. I like to explain the difficulties of the life of a novice to you briefly. In general, most novices and monks come from the remote and poor areas in Laos and became a novice to have the only opportunity for a school education. They live in a temple, far from home without their family, friends and relatives.We have to dedicate our life to the Buddhist religion and we have to follow the rules of a temple life. As you may know, the Buddhist novice is very limited in his behaviours. He has to follow the teachings of the Buddha Dhamma.


The ten rules for a Buddhist novice are:

  1.     Do not destroy life. 

  2.     Do not take what is not given to you. 

  3.     Do not commit adultery. 

  4.     Tell no lies and deceive no one. 

  5.     Do not become intoxicated. 

  6.     Eat temperately and not at all in the afternoons. 

  7.     Do not watch dancing, nor listen to singing or plays. 

  8.     Wear no garlands, perfumes or any adornments. 

  9.     Sleep not in luxurious beds.
  10.   Possess no wealth .

A Buddhist novice cannot break the ten rules and should carry them out always and everywhere. Every morning, the novices and monks have to go out for alms giving, this is the only way to get food to eat. We walk along the side of the street and collect rice from the locals. Now in 2014 we live in the temple also with the current economic situation where no one can really live without money, including novices and monks. So, where does our income come from? Most novices and monks get some money from their families to pay for every day things, like soap, toothpaste, school fees, pens and books, a phone etc. Sometimes we get some money when we are invited to chant at a ceremony. But many families, like my family, cannot support their son. 

Now I would like to tell you why I am planning to disrobe in a few months time. As I have already explained, life in a temple is hard but sometimes also slow and boring. At the Buddha High School we only have four hours of lessons a day in overcrowded classes. I feel that my education becomes stagnant. I want to be able to study at a university something related to the environment so I can use this knowledge later on to help my community and my country. That is why I want to challenge myself and leave the temple to become independent and responsible for myself. I know that it will be a big challenge for me but I believe that making this big step will contribute to my future and the future of my community.

With this story I hope to find some assistance for my further education and I kindly ask you to consider supporting me with my school fees.

Thank you for reading my letter.

Novice Khoumpha Phanyasavanh

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$5 USD
Postcard from Khoumpha
  • 1 claimed
If you donate $5 Khoumpha will send you a thank you postcard from Laos
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$10 USD
Yummy Homemade Treats
  • 0 claimed
If you donate $10 I will deliver 6 of my delicious homemade muffins directly to you. Gluten-free and vegan. Banana flavors :) Shipping is free to the US and Canada only.
And you will also receive a postcard from Khoumpha from Laos.
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$20 USD
Free private Pilates lesson
  • 2 claimed
I'm also a Pilates instructor and if you donate $20 I will give you and your friends a free 1 hour Pilates lesson. In person or over Skype :)
And you will also receive a postcard from Khoumpha from Laos.
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