I started ENGLISH FOR EVERYONE (E4E) as the MANO ENGLISH LANGUAGE CENTRE (MANO) in October 2004 when I found out that I could teach English language in a way that Lao students can relate to really well - and I could help them to improve their English language skills a lot. I also wanted to ensure that as many students as possible could afford to study at E4E. Therefore E4E charges only 170,000 Kip (approximately $US 10) for 20 classes per month or 450,000 Kip ($US 26) for a term of three months.
Laos is one of the poorest countries in the world. It has been proven that to drag a country out of its poverty, people must be educated - this includes both boys and girls. The Lao and the Japanese governments have put in place many scholarships in the North of Laos. The Lao education system is improving slowly but surely. The South Korean government has built and equipped a University in Luang Prabang. The classes taught now require students to access information on the Internet for their studies. To do this they must have a good command of English.
With the burgeoning tourist industry in Laos there is a growing need for people who speak good English and communicate well in this language. Though the Lao education system is improving with its Lao and English studies, it is not fast enough to meet the demand. There is also a growing demand for English language skills by the Non Government Aid organizations.
Hence my thinking about setting up a private English language school accessible and available for everyone - ENGLISH FOR EVERYONE. It has been working very successfully for almost 20 years. It has enabled so many people to develop and move out to interact with tourists, aid workers and the modern global infrastructure that Laos has to deal with now.
Many things have changed since the modest beginnings in 2004: the one-man operation MANO became the MEKONG ENGLISH CENTRE (MEC) with approximately 400 to 500 students in 5 classrooms daily until March 2016, when we moved to a bigger building where, from day one, we accommodated almost twice that number. As per November 2017 we underwent further changes; we moved location again and decided to continue under the name E4E, or 'English for Everyone', very much sticking to the approach we have been applying since the early days. Operating from noon until 20:30 in the evening the E4E family comprises a Lao director: Mr Max; two foreign staff: Mr Claus and Mr Marcel; and today, seven Lao teachers: Ms Neng, Ms Somphone, Ms Phommaly, Mr Khamxay, Mr Somneuk, Mr Bounkham and Mr Phid; two receptionists, Ms Somphone and Mr Jay; a cleaning lady, Ms Manivanh and 2 park attendants to look after our students' bikes. From a modest building with two classrooms in Ban Mano to a site in Ban Phongkham, with 5 classrooms, followed by an even bigger building with 8 classrooms, we went on to occupy a building that allowed for 12 classrooms, 2 offices, a reception area, a 'student room' and spare room. However, after years of continuous growth, Covid19 arrived in 2020 and we, with many others, were faced with its consequences. Luang Prabang went in lockdown several times and the country was closed for international visitors on which, especially Luang Prabang's economy so heavily depends. E4E lost many of its students, as well as a number of teachers, and eventually we were forced to scale down on our premises as well and moved to a smaller location in November 2022, to continue our classes on a more modest scale than we had come to be used to over the last 15 years. Nevertheless, we consider ourselves fortunate to have come through the Covid pandemic to be able to keep doing what we've been doing for almost 20 years - providing opportunities for young, eager Lao students through English classes.
Claus Haumer - Founder of the centre.
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E4E aims to be a self-supporting school. However, the 'profit' we generate is not so much expressed in coins and notes but in a life that sees a positive change. We need a little help to be able to keep doing this.
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