Shopping Phayaluangemeungchan Rd, Wat Nong,Luang Prabang, Laos Published on: 13-11-2015
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Why Big Brother Mouse is special ?
Books are still a rare commodity in Laos, so the work that Big Brother Mouse does is vital in helping young Lao people develop new skills and enhance their prospects.
Big Brother Mouse (BBM), a book publishing and literacy program in Luang Prabang, produces children’s books in the Lao language to help promote the love of reading and learning in children. The organization was started by a retired American publisher who saw the need for children’s books and decided to try to fill the gap himself. The project is taking off and growing.
The stories and designs for the books are co-developed with university students, student artists and teachers to maintain a uniquely Lao look, feel, and sense of humor. The first six books were published in early 2006, with a total of 24 books published by February 2007. Many books are in English and Lao so that students can use the book to improve their English and Lao reading skills simultaneously.
What to explore at Big Brother Mouse?
One of the organization’s challenges is book distribution to rural villages and schools. BBM has creatively enlisted travelers by offering a program that encourages travelers to purchase books to take with them and distribute on their hikes/treks to and through rural villages. This accomplishes the goal of increasing book distribution to remote areas while allowing travelers to engage with children through something more lasting and productive than candy or toys.
In addition to book publishing, BBM also runs a center where travelers can help novice monks and children practice speaking or reading English. When we stopped by, we helped edit some Lao proverbs translated into English for an upcoming book. Translating proverbs and humor from one language and culture to another is surprisingly difficult and time-consuming. So the staff are thankful for any assistance they can get.
How to get to Big Brother Mouse?
To reach the shop, walk down the main street of Luang Prabang. From the Night Market area (with the National Museum on the left, and Phousi Hill on the right), walk towards the end of the peninsula. Take the third left (not counting small alleys), it is immediately after 3 Nagas Restaurant. We're just two houses down on the left. You can volunteer here at our English language drop-in center or buy books.
- a worthy organization to support
- incredible opportunity to volunteer
- amazingly awesome experience
- warm Kids welcome
- lovely smiling faces of kids
Phayaluangemeungchan Rd, Wat Nong,Luang Prabang, Laos
Tips for you
- Buy some of the story books ( in English) for children gifts. - If you bring some paper, pens, books (in English) and other things like that, you will be doing something excellent. And definitely bring pictures of your country, your pass times, and your family. This helps keep the conversation flowing.Things to do
- If you visit a remote village, DO NOT GIVE THEM CASH. It will only tempt them into corruption. Give them useful things like books, stationary, sporting items. -The setting is very casual and the students always have material to work on, you don't need to have a lesson plan or anything prepared.Things to do
- Don't just hand out stuff to the people in the village. Otherwise only the ones with the loudest voice will get your goodies. Find the Village Elder and get that person to arrange the distribution. - - Do not buy ANYTHING from the kids. They should be at school and not hawking goods. In fact, tell them that they should be at school. If you buy stuff from them, then their parents will take advantage of that.Things to do
Early in our visit to Luang Prabang, we dropped by to purchase some books that will be dropped in villages to help/ encourage reading. The highlight for me was the conversation session I attended just before the end of my trip. These are held twice daily 9-11 and 5-7 and are for purpose of providing an opportunity for english conversation. There were around 15 English volunteers the night I was there and easily 30 eager Lao, mostly teenagers. I spent the first hour with a high school student who wanted to work on his pronunciation. We also worked on his English homework. During the second hour, I conversed with a group of 6 teenagers. I asked questions about their lives and they about mine. Many of them spent 1/2 hour or more to get to the centre and do so regularly. What a great opportunity to learn more about the lives of the people in this amazing country and to be impressed about their efforts to learn English. Highly recommend doing this at least once during your stay.