LB PEOPLE
  1. Managing Director
    In 2004 I described Laos as ‘Nearly Heaven’ in my blog – little did I know that tragedy would lead me to make Laos my home seven years later. Through my work as a Tour Guide, I got to know a man called Teacher Manophet or ‘Lone Buffalo’ in Phonsavan, North East Laos. I was impressed by his stamina, selflessness and determination. I introduced my friend Gareth to Manophet, inspiring Gareth’s On Safer Ground project. Following Manophet’s sudden death in 2010, and lifted by those amazing experience at the Gothia Cup in Sweden I vowed to establish something permanent in Manophet’s memory in his home town. I wanted to ensure that young people could continue to study English for free. Along with Gareth (Carter) and Nick (Williamson) we formed Lone Buffalo. In early 2012 Nick and I opened the Lone Buffalo English Development Centre in Phonsavan. I have overseen the development of Lone Buffalo from a small collection of boxes arriving on the overnight bus into the professional, effective project we are today. I am extremely proud of what we have achieved in a relatively short time with both limited resources and limited funding. Watching the development of our committed local team of teachers and directors has been especially pleasing – as has the amount of western professional people who have volunteered their services after visiting or hearing about our project. I oversee the operations, marketing, funding and development of Lone Buffalo. Mark still works as a tour leader, specialising in tours in Iran and South-East Asia, and includes visits to Lone Buffalo in his Laos programs. In 2015 Mark was awarded the prestigious Wanderlust World Tour Guide of the year award, partly for his work in the community in Laos.
  2. Managing Director
    I got involved with Lone Buffalo when close friends met Mark Steadman on one of his amazing tours. Subsequently, my husband and I spent a month volunteering at the English Development Centre in Phonsavan. As a qualified teacher, I was so impressed with the kids I worked with in Phonsavan; committed, friendly, welcoming and hard working. Regular staff meetings where ideas were shared demonstrated how committed the centre was in staff training and appreciating its team. On returning to the UK I wanted to stay involved and I am now the chair of the trustees. I could see that a small amount of money in the UK could make such a huge impact in Laos. A former Head Teacher, Jackie now runs her own tutoring business.
  3. Managing Director
    I am a retired chartered accountant and help the Chief Operating Officer with the accounts of the Lone Buffalo English Development Centre and the Trustees with the accounts of the UK charity. My wife and I have been on two wonderful Wild Frontiers' trips to Laos led by Mark Steadman, visiting Lone Buffalo in Phonsavan on both occasions.

Mark Steadman
COO / Co-Founder

Jackie Thomas
Chair of Trustees

David Williams
Volunteer Accountant

Andrew March
Trustee

Jeremy Richens
Trustee

Gareth Carter
Co-Founder

Khammanh Sengthoummy
Director 

Vang Lee (Steve)
Deputy Director

  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
    In 2010 Gareth’s On Safer Ground project took Manophet’s football team from Laos to Sweden, thus becoming the first Lao team to play outside of Asia. Tragically Manophet would never see his dream come true – he died on the eve of the tournament. In his memory, the team competed alongside more than 1500 other teams from 70 countries. Manophet’s team reached the semi-finals of the competition and were fittingly awarded the 2010 Gotha Cup Fair Play Trophy. "I got involved in this project after Mark Steadman introduced me to Manophet in Phonsavan. I was instantly taken in by his vision and charisma as well as well as his selfless attitude. Meeting the kids that he was coaching in football and English was a total inspiration and I was deeply impressed by their commitment to learning when given the opportunity. It would prove to be the motivation I would need to do something that would help push Manophet's vision forward." Gareth now lives in Scandinavia, from where he watches the progress of Lone Buffalo with pride.

Jane Clayton Jones
Volunteer Business Development

Nick Williamson
Co-Founder / Teacher

  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
  3. Managing Director
    I have been working in the world of NGOs for the last 25 years and specialise in building NGO sustainability and resilience through structural and management development. I have been working directly with Lone Buffalo since 2014 when I spent 2 months with them whilst staying in Phonsavan. We worked on building a longer-term strategic plan and practical action planning to make the plan a reality. I now support them remotely and through direct contact when possible.
  1. Managing Director
    After the sudden passing of Teacher Manophet, Mark Steadman brought ‘Teacher’ Nick Wiliamson to Phonsavan to help keep Manophet’s English Development School open for the rest of that term. Subsequently Mark and Nick pledged to open a new centre in Manophet’s memory. In 2011 the two returned to Laos to set things up, and in February 2012 the Lone Buffalo English Development Centre was established. Nick’s unique teaching style got Lone Buffalo noticed both in Phonsavan and beyond. Nick established the first teacher training sessions, which eventually led to former student Kong Lee becoming Lone Buffalo’s first local teacher. His contribution to the establishment of Lone Buffalo was crucial. Nick currently lives in London, and plans to return to Asia to teach in the future.