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Free (or Cheap) Volunteer Work in Laos

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Free or Cheap Volunteer Work in Laos


There are far less opportunities for volunteers than can be found across the Thai or Cambodian borders but those that do find a role here will find the wonderfully chilled Lao PDR has its own special way of doing things.


Grassroots Volunteering in Laos

The organisations listed below have either got in touch with us to add their details to this or another of our websites, or we otherwise have reason to believe they are actively looking for international volunteers and charge reasonable or no fees to join in, live and work with them:


SAE LAO’s primary purpose is to set an example of sustainable development in Laos. Most volunteers teach English, but other tasks include helping with sustainable building projects, gardening and working on the rice fields during the rice planting and harvest seasons. Volunteers contribute at least five hours work each day and are expected to stay a minimum of two weeks. Skilled volunteers able to stay for a minimum of six weeks are also sought.

Where: Nathong Village, 7km outside Vang Vieng.
Accommodation & Costs: Costs depend on the type of accommodation chosen. Short term volunteers staying in a 17 bed dorm room pay around £55 (depending on the exchange rate) a week, while a single room is around £80. Both include three meals a day. There is also a one off £25 payment that helps fund their education and community projects.

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Big Brother Mouse

A publishing project that aims to make reading fun and increase both literacy and the number of books published in Laos. Laotians are very much at the forefront of the project but passing travellers can help make a difference with English practice sessions held at their drop in centre. They also occasionally need volunteers for special projects. Information on these are posted in their Luang Prabang office but they are not able to answer inquiries or discuss volunteer opportunities by email.

Where: Luang Prabang.
Accommodation & Costs: No fees. No accommodation. Just drop by any day between 9am and 5pm.

Volunteering in Laos


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Village Focus International

VFI's programmes are aimed at empowering local people in rural areas to take control of the most fundamental issues of daily life, protecting vulnerable women and children and land security and natural resource management issues. The VFI office in Laos has frequent needs that can only be filled by volunteers and interns. Special skills that they frequently lack include fund raising, communications, and other special skills: legal, social work, etc.

Where: Luang Prabang.
Accommodation & Costs: Limited support in terms of accommodation is available but for special cases they may be able to offer a basic stipend.


Help Exchange Networks in Laos

Workaway -
HelpX -


Other Ways to Travel or Stay for Free in Laos

Stay for free in return for caring for local residents' homes or pets. Join Trusted Housesitters to live rent free as a house sitter (Americans may prefer this link). You can also get a free $25 Airbnb credit from us here.


Volunteer Experiences*

Volunteering at SAELAO in Nathong, Laos - Where the hell is Rory? I don’t know but early in 2012 he was volunteering on a project just outside Vang Vieng.
Volunteering at Mr T’s Organic Farm in Vang Vieng, Laos - Penny Atkinson spent some time teaching English, milking goats and building a mud house on the organic farm of a Laotian biologist.


* not all these volunteer experiences are with grassroots NGOs or low cost organisations

Image courtesy Nick Hubbard