ABOUT US
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LONE BUFFALO ENGLISH DEVELOPMENT CENTRE 

Lone Buffalo provide free, structured English tuition to over 200 young people living in one of the world’s most heavily bombed places.  We also have more than 300 others registered and waiting for new classes.
 
Across ten classes, Lone Buffalo teach five levels of English, from Beginner to Intermediate, using a combination of trained local teachers and qualified western volunteer teachers. Both Lao and Westerners are involved in the senior management of the project. Our ten classes are taught by a combination of trained local teachers and qualified western volunteers. The project is also managed by Lao and Western staff.
 
The project is dedicated to an inspirational local man, Manophet ‘Lone Buffalo’. Manophet committed his entire life to helping others.  Tragically Manophet died in 2010, on the eve of the Gothia Cup in Sweden. Lone Buffalo co-founder Gareth Carter’s On Safer Ground project had taken Manophet’s football team from Laos to compete in Europe.  Like Gareth, everyone who met Manophet was touched by his dedication, generosity, selflessness and stamina.
 
Lone Buffalo encourage a culture of helping each other and challenging cultural stereotypes.  We have  student representatives and librarians in our classrooms. Almost half of our students are girls, who are also involved in football coaching and film makingLone Buffalo arrange regular teaching workshops, hosted by both our Western and Lao teachers.  As most of our teachers also work in State schools, this helps develop the general teaching skills within the community.

Unexploded ordnance (UXO) awareness is an important part of the curriculum, with students involved in UXO-related projects. Lone Buffalo gives priority in new classes to young people affected by UXO, and reserve places for children whose parents work in UXO clearance.
    
Most students’ parents are farmers but developing Laos is experiencing a cultural shift in education and work. These farmer's children now have similar ambitions to other young people for successful careers in business, arts, technology and the environment.  
 
Lone Buffalo’s English language and creative skills programmes provide young people from disadvantaged backgrounds with improved chances of attending university, thus creating similar career opportunities to those from more privileged backgrounds.
 

In 2017 the first Lone Buffalo student to graduate started a career as a radar technician, a result of our employer introduction meetings.

OUR INSPIRATION
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MANOPHET 'LONE BUFFALO'. 

Manophet ‘Lone Buffalo’ was a selfless man who dedicated his life to helping others. 

His days were spent working with Unexploded Ordnance Clearance teams or guiding guests around his town and province. His evenings were spent teaching English to as many people as he could cram into a tiny classroom in his house. At weekends he worked on developing his football team, one that he believed were good enough to compete in Europe.  

Manophet died suddenly in 2010. It was his commitment to helping others that inspired us to start the Lone Buffalo project in his memory. 
 
Lone Buffalo take comfort from the fact that more people around the world know his name and incredible life story than ever before.
   
Christopher Whitehouse met Manophet in Phonsavan in 2001.  He was inspired to begin writing a book about his life.  On hearing about his untimely passing, Christopher returned to Phonsavan ten years later to complete his book. 


Christopher’s novel ‘Lone Buffalo’ is a part fictionalised account of the inspiring life of Manophet. 

Click here to order


photo: Legacies of War
OUR STUDENTS
  1. Managing Director
    Miss La moved from Lone Buffalo in 2017. She now studies Finance at the Banking Institute in Vientiane. She studied at LB for 5 years, finishing in the senior Intermediate level English class, won a record four Student of the Month awards and was also a class librarian. Miss La managed the LB Girls football team and received her FIFA D licence coaching certificate in 2016. She attended a film making course and has co-directed several LB movies. She has also co-hosted a film-making workshop for the American Embassy. Miss La’s family understood the importance of learning English and the opportunities LB provides. La’s older sister Miss Bie Xiong was also a star student who became the first ethnic H’mong girl to study at the Faculty of Engineering.
  2. Managing Director
    Mr Koua Neng's parents live hours away in the Hua Phan province and he was sent to Phonsavan to study and stays with relatives. A real talent at football coaching, he initially struggled in class and attendance was affected. Teacher Steve stepped in to watch over him and subsequently his confidence has grown. He played the lead in the award-winning ‘I am Messi’ film, attended the Vientiane short film festival and scored a hat-trick on debut for the senior football team! Despite his age, Mr Koua Neng completed a FIFA D licence coaching course and assists the senior coach at weekends. More importantly Mr Koua Neng’s English has really improved. He can study for another four years with LB, by when his English will be as good as any of our senior students.
  3. Managing Director
    Mr Teng ‘TV’ Vue was one of the first students to register at Lone Buffalo. He started as a very quiet and shy student and blossomed into a confident and creative individual, expressing himself through the films he has directed for Lone Buffalo. During his time at LB, Teng surprised his teachers with questions like ‘do you think history is true?' In 2016 he moved to the capital to study Business Management at the National University of Laos. Recently Teng Vue, along with other Lone Buffalo students, hosted a film-making workshop for the American Embassy. Teng continues to make short films, the most recent being about the impact of climate change on the environment.

Miss La Xiong (19)

Mr Koua Neng Vang (15)

Mr Teng Vue Fai Dang (21)

  1. Managing Director
    Miss KalIa has had a difficult upbringing. Both her parents have passed away and she had to quit her studies at High School to manage the family. She had previously studied with Lone Buffalo for 3 years. This term she found time to continue to study English and rejoined Lone Buffalo in an Elementary Class. A bright and bubbly student she was awarded a Best Student Award for her attendance and leadership. Later this year Miss KalIa will be involved in setting up our female development program and we are helping to find her employment locally. Miss Kalia said ‘although I can no longer study at State school, I can study at Lone Buffalo, improve my English and get a job’
  2. Managing Director
    Miss Vathsana is our youngest student. She has been studying in the Junior Beginner class since April 2017. She has one of the specially reserved places for children whose parents clear Unexploded Ordnance from our province. She has missed just one lesson since joining Lone Buffalo and scored a respectable 66% in her mid-course test. Her mother works for UXO Lao, and is extremely grateful for the opportunity we have given her daughter to begin studying English at a very young age. Miss Vathsana can study at Lone Buffalo for another 10 years.
  3. Managing Director
    Mr Nar Mouas is now in his final year at High School. He has been studying at Lone Buffalo for three years, starting as a Level 1 Beginner. Mr Nar Mouas first caught our attention as his class rep – always first to clean the class – and last to finish. He now studies at Pre-Intermediate level. In 2017 he attended a 5 week intensive film making course and currently co directs Lone Buffalo films. He said LB ‘helps poor students and I have improved my knowledge and also had the opportunity to study film, so I can get a special job in future’.

Miss Kalia Vang (17)

Miss Vathsana (9)

Mr Chua E Nar Muas (17)

  1. Managing Director
    Mr Bean studied in the very first class at Lone Buffalo. He finished his Major in Electrical Engineering in 2017, becoming the first Lone Buffalo student to progress through university. He is now training to become a radar technician, after meeting his employer at one of our informal employer introduction meetings. Mr. Bean will be now be working for one of our paying clients who send their staff for private lessons at our centre. We will see him back at Lone Buffalo again soon – as a paid adult student! He said ‘Lone Buffalo makes opportunities for people like me who want to study English but do not have any money. So today I got a good job because I studied at Lone Buffalo’.
  2. Managing Director
    Mr Saysompheng’s mother brought her son to Lone Buffalo in 2016. He had lived in several countries and subsequently found it difficult to settle back in Laos, so his mother thought our program would help him channel his energy positively. Mr Say took time to settle, but his English has improved and he is now an asset to his Pre-Intermediate class. He has near perfect attendance and has been awarded his first Student of the Month certificate. His mother said recently ‘he is improving both his English and his social life. It is my honour to have him study at your project’.
  3. Managing Director
    Miss Chua E joined Lone Buffalo as a Beginner in 2014. She became the class representative and got involved in our football and film making programs. Now 16, Miss Chua E is studying Level 4 Intermediate English. She is class rep, co-directs Lone Buffalo movies and coaches her fellow students at football. She received a FIFA D licence coaching certificate in 2016. At 16 Miss Chua is one of our most confident and energetic students who already shows great leadership skills – in the class, on the pitch and on the movie set. And she still has two more years at Lone Buffalo before she heads to university. Miss Chua E says she wants to further develop her English ‘because it is the international language’. She wants to become a doctor or a teacher.

Mr Lue Yang (aka Mr Bean) (26)

Mr Saysompheng (14)

Miss Chua E Vue (16)