Laos is 22nd on the United Nation's list of Least Developed Countries, and per capita, the most heavily bombed country on the globe. In 2015, with the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), Laos will enter the global stage. Having an educated, skilled citizenry will be a fundametal aspect of that event.
The Lone Buffalo Foundation (LBF) is committed to improving opportunities for poorest of the young people in Phonsavan, Laos, through English language education, Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) awareness classes, computer courses, and soccer training. This is the first of a network of Lone Buffalo schools planned.
We create a unique, safe environment in which underserved boys and girls can study, develop, and play sport. We manage an English school with two classrooms, both girls' and boys' soccer teams, a gym, computers, and internet access. In order to promote students’ ownership of the school, a small voluntary, monthly donation ($1.25 - $2.50) is requested. No student that cannot afford the donation is turned away.
We have an active relationship with UXO-Lao the national organization responsible for the removal of land mines and Unexploded Ordnance. Our students attend lectures on the dangers of living in the most bombed country in the world and the activities to rid the country of these dangers. Our students are taken out to the field to see UXO actively destroyed and to drive home the horrendous consequences of exposure to Unexploded Ordnance.
The fresh approach of our Foundation enabled us to take a Lao soccer team outside of Asia for the first time. Their amazing journey is documented in the forthcoming movie On Safer Ground which will create international interest in Laos and spotlight the issue of unexploded ordinance.
Our Foundation was set up following the sudden death of an inspirational local man, Manophet “Lone Buffalo,” who committed his whole life to helping others. By day he worked de-mining for UXO-Lao. Every evening he taught English in a tiny class in his house. In 2006 he founded the school’s football team. Everyone who met him was touched by his dedication, generosity, and stamina.
Education is an investment. In the more developed countries many students don’t appreciate and don’t take full advantage of comprehensive, free education. The Lone Buffalo Foundation takes children and young adults who want to be educated, who want to make that investment in themselves. These people have made the connection between education and a route out of poverty. The LBF also teaches soccer which is valuable not only for the health benefits and team ethos that accrue but also for the improved concentration and stress relief that exercise brings. Football education complements academic education. Education leads to a healthier lifestyle, longer lifespan, gaining a better job, being more productive and earning a higher income. Education leads to poverty reduction.