Smile Project in Laos
The mission of the SMILE Project (Supporting Multitudes in Life & Education) is to provide FREE education, food, and healthcare to underprivileged students lacking funds and/or resources for quality education and nourishment.
The project is committed to sharing heartfelt knowledge so that educational gains not only activate the mind, they are also felt and understood in the depths of the heart and shared from there with one’s whole being, and indeed with the entire universe.
S.M.I.L.E. Project is currently sponsoring many students’ fees for public high school in Luang Prabang, which is not free. In addition, we cover the cost of a multitude of extra-curricular courses of study including university prep courses in math, sciences, Japanese, Chinese, and French, plus I.T. and computer skills. These courses help get students a step ahead in achieving their educational aspirations and goals. Two students won a scholarship to UWC (United World College) for a two year IB (International Baccalaureate) program. This scholarship was awarded only to the top 5 students in the entire country of Lao, and my two winning students were the only ones from outside of the capital city.
From the founder/Director Michael Sebastian, "We now have S.M.I.L.E. students in several countries, including (but not limited to) Maastricht-Netherlands, Victoria-Canada, Hanoi-Vietnam, Bangkok-Thailand, Netanya-Israel, and one heading off to Kuala Lumpur-Malaysia soon! We are terribly proud of all of them. One of my students, a former novice monk, Somchit Kittisak, is at UWC Pearson College in Canada, and the other, Her Vang, is at UWC Maastricht in the Netherlands. They are both doing amazingly well, and I fully expect that they will be chosen to continue to a full 4-year university degree on scholarship through the Shelby Davis Foundation which offers funding only to UWC graduates."
Another one of their students, Sengkham Yang, returned to Lao from the Macau teacher training program scholarship and is back in Michael's class sharing his experiences. They are now in our 9th year of operation, and by their 10th anniversary, they hope to have enough funding for a small piece of land to build our own classroom as our permanent home. The students and S.M.I.L.E organziation hope you will join them in creating that reality!