It all started with a guy called Aay and his ambition to create opportunities for his community in the jungle of Laos.
Aay Sinthala grew up in an ethnic group in the jungle of Laos where they lived as hunter-gatherers. In 2009, 17 tribes, including Aay’s, were forced to move to a new village when their mountain area was turned into a dam for producing electricity. Life was not easy in this new village.
Aay is an extraordinary human being, and worked hard to create opportunities for himself through different social projects in Laos, and managed to secure a scholarship for studies in Cambodia and spent a year at Openmind Projects in Thailand. This is also where Aay met Mari Abrahamsen, Åshild Aarø and Malin Claesson for the first time. Aay expressed his plan for a non-profit organization to give more possibilities to the children of his village, and we quickly traveled to Laos to start planning Aay’s Village.
6th of October, 2016, we launched our non-profit organization. Aay Sinthala, Mari Abrahamsen, Eirik Friele Langeland, Malin Claesson and Åshild Aarø were the original founding fathers and mothers, working volunteerily day after day to tell the world about a hidden jungle village, and our vision for its children. Two months later, we teamed up with the Kavli Trust, which enabled us to strengthen our contribution to the children tremendously.
In January 2017, Mari and Åshild travelled to Laos to set up our new Learning Lab donated by the Kavli Trust. We spent two weeks setting it all up, and the results amazed us. The children really enjoyed the new learning apps and the village was thrilled with the modern set-up. Jens and Mathilde joined our team, and we started welcoming more and more volunteers.
2018 was a challenging but exciting year for us. Our team grew locally with Tar, and internationally with Aina, Maria and Jørn. We experienced some growth pains, but our team overcame each struggle and powered on towards our mission in Laos. We improved many aspects of our organization, and started the Clean the Jungle project together with Empower.
In 2019, we restructured our internal processes to work more focused towards our mission in Laos, and started focusing on the projects equally: The Learning Lab, providing children with the tools they need to create the future they deserve, and Clean the Jungle, our plastic recycling collection point.