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Sponsoring Novice Monks in Luang Prabang

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Sydney Australia
posts: 70
reviews: 5
Sponsoring Novice Monks in Luang Prabang

I read many posts on this blog about what to do in Luang Prabang.

I would like to suggest that tourists to LPB go to one of the many Buddhist temples and spend some time talking with the Novice Monks, then do something to improve their lives. These boys come from impoverished villages--many are orphans, and all are poor--and connecting with them will change both your lives. I sponsored a Novice Monk three years ago, and that friendship has exploded into a universe of kindness.

It costs me the equivalent of the cost of a daily cup of coffee to support Onsi at University, and I have received in return not just excellent Buddhist karma but one of the finest friendships of my life. It's soooooooooo easy.

In Luang Prabang I watch rich tourists staying in upscale hotels with their fancy cameras stuck in the faces of Novice Monks gathering alms at 6:00 am, and they leave nothing behind, but take their photographs home. The $100 spent in one night at some fake restaurant could pay for a year at the Mekong English School for a Novice Monk. Backpackers, in my experience, are the most generous of all tourists to Lao people, and the richest of tourists leave the least behind.

Luang Prabang is a magical place. It is filled with Buddhism, with good Lao people, but these are poor people too, so please make a connection when you are there. Change a life or two and watch what happens.

Kurashiki, Japan
Destination Expert
for Kurashiki, Cambodia, Myanmar
posts: 14,394
reviews: 76
21. Re: Sponsoring Novice Monks in Luang Prabang

I have been sponsoring students in Cambodia & Laos since 2006. I would not recommend the Lao American College. Go visit the place and see for yourself. Here are the most "popular" colleges in Vientiane-

Loa American College

Rattana College

Vientiane College

Souksavath College

Sisavth College

Khamsavath College

Feel free to contact me via private message if you need further information.

Amsterdam, The...
posts: 1
reviews: 2
22. Re: Sponsoring Novice Monks in Luang Prabang

Please don't forget that when a student has left the temple they should be able to find a job and pay for some things themselves. Other students have jobs too, and it will teach them the value of money.

I know a former novice who is being sponsored with money and goods. Since then this young men has developed himselve into an irresponsable and lying person that creates problems in his family. I tend to say this is a direct result of bad sponsorship. Although I think his sponsor has no idea of what is happening.

And no, the family would not inform the sponsor about any of this, this is not part of the Lao culture.

Kurashiki, Japan
Destination Expert
for Kurashiki, Cambodia, Myanmar
posts: 14,394
reviews: 76
23. Re: Sponsoring Novice Monks in Luang Prabang

Yes, Christie, this is rather common. Some of these guys have several sponsors and are using the extra cash to buy iphones and buy alcohol & women! The young man I sponsor left the temple when his abbot told the monks that they should not study, but should spend more time at the temple. He consulted with me as I am his "older sister" and I said he should indeed leave, and I paid for his room and board for the first 6 months. He has been supporting himself ever since, is at the top of his class and is graduating this spring with honors. I have been in close contact wiht him & his family, visit them every year or so and have also checked out the school and have been given receipts of the tuition. People need to be careful whom they decide to sponsor, many of these young people have become jaded with the generosity of tourists.

Edited: 4:13 am, May 12, 2013
Mill valley
posts: 3
reviews: 12
24. Re: Sponsoring Novice Monks in Luang Prabang

Think there are both good kids and others who will take advantage. If you're close to them and can speak with them regularly via skype and have others who watch over them for emotional support that helps. They are private and some do take advantage as it's such a poor country, but there are many good good kids who can use the mentorship and guidance. Just as we tend to spoil our own kids, you have to set rules and guidelines and be able to monitor and watch. There are several that I know that are heading to college, are working to enter the working world and behaving. Just like any kid, they want to explore but guidance and strong support emotionally goes a long way. Assess their character upfront just like anywhere else. It's extremely rewarding as others above have mentioned, but see if you can assess

their character upfront.

Kurashiki, Japan
Destination Expert
for Kurashiki, Cambodia, Myanmar
posts: 14,394
reviews: 76
25. Re: Sponsoring Novice Monks in Luang Prabang

Not just assessment, but hands-on interaction. It is very very difficult to assess a person's character upfront, I have been there and done that. The guys wanting to just get a free ride are very sincere, as sincere as the guys who honestly want to study. If one cannot afford to go and visit regularly, see the school, interact with parents and relatives, you may very easily be getting duped.

26. Re: Sponsoring Novice Monks in Luang Prabang

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