Sapa O'Chau's social work would not have been able to continue without kind volunteers and the generous donations from its Friends and Family.
Sapa O'Chau provides high school age students accomodation so that they can attend high school in Sapa Town. This saves them from travelling more than 10 km a day mostly on foot to and from town and village. The ethnic minorities are not native speakers of Vietnamese language, hence they need extra coaching to catch up with their native Vietnamese-speaking counterparts. To support each youth costs Sapa O’Chau at least USD100 per month. This covers Vietnamese school fees, in-house tutoring to help catch up with peers, accommodation, utilities, food and personal hygiene supplies.
Until Sapa O’Chau can gather the resources to buy land and construct a building, we are renting property in Sapa. The boarding facilities’ monthly rent is USD800. During the off peak tourist period, we may need your generous donation to pay for the basics: rent and food. Why not choose the month of your birth or of someone you would like to honor, and pledge to pay the rent for that month for one or more years?
Over the last few years, Sapa O’Chau has been lucky enough to receive funding from the Canadian Embassy to Vietnam via the ‘Canada Fund for Local Initiatives’, The Republic of Korea via the ‘Smile Together Partnership’ and Vietnam via the ‘Centre for Social Initiatives Promotion.’ This funding has allowed us to grow as an organisation and improve the services that we offer to the community.
As a social enterprise, Sapa O’Chau is trying hard to pay for itself. However, donations help us to keep on going. We greatly appreciate your generosity! If you are visiting Sapa and want to make a donation then please come to our office. Here our accountant will give you an official receipt. As a way of saying thank you, we would love to take you on a guided tour of the whole project, including the boarding facility. If you are not able to visit us, but would still like to support our work, then please use PayPal. Please be aware that PayPal fees are around 10%.
Become part of the Sapa O'Chau family by volunteering or pledging a regular donation to support us. Alternatively if you would like to make a one-time donation you can do so.
Sapa O’Chau welcomes volunteer support to tutor our youth, help with projects, and facilitate administration. We aim to make sure our volunteers have a great cultural exchange with our communities.
You should join our program for at least a month to have the optimal cultural exchange. The minimum age for volunteering is 20 (younger volunteers must be accompanied by an adult). Your schedule will be individually organised and your unique skills utilised.
For positions at the boarding facility, we are looking for:
- English Tutors - Volunteers with teaching experience. Native English is not required, but fluency is essential. Minimum time commitment: 1 month.
- IT and Maths Tutors: No formal qualifications required, but an interest and capacity to teach basic maths and/or computer skills are vital.
- English Speakers: For one-on-one conversational English classes with our staff.
If you speak Vietnamese and English, you have an added advantage for our students and staff to understand you. Please do spare some time during your vacation to help our students and staff improve their English.
For other positions, we are looking for volunteers to help with:
- Designer: Fashion and accessories infused with traditional patterns. E.g. clothes, bags, house decor, jewellery, etc.
- Photography, Videography and Social Media. Product photography.
- DIY: Small do-it-yourself projects around the office, the café or the centre.
- Administrative tasks.
- Fundraising, Marketing and Social Media Influencer.
- Project development work: Past projects have included environmental conservation projects, community development projects and arts projects.
- Tour Operator: Work with us in our tour department along-side the SOC staff team. For this position we ask for a minimum commitment of 3 months, and we offer full training, support and free room and board.
Please email for more details. Don’t see anything here for you? Contact us! Tell us what skills you have and we will try our best to fit you to a project!
Volunteers are expected to be flexible, patient, and respectful. We want your experience in Sapa to be as special as possible and you will be welcomed as an important member of the Sapa O’Chau family.
Once we have received and reviewed your application we will contact you about possible volunteering positions.
When you arrive in Sapa, your accommodations can be a local guest house or a hotel that fits your budget. During the weekends you can trek to the Sapa O’Chau homestay in Lao Chai village. You may choose to lunch and dine with our youth at the boarding facility, consisting of basic Vietnamese meals at USD1 per meal to cover our costs. If you are looking for something different to eat, visit one of the many restaurants in town, or eat tasty and economical food in the market. It is very easy to find great food to eat in Sapa and recommendations can be given or you can discover them for yourself. Sapa caters to all budgets in regards to meals, you can eat for as little as one dollar a meal or up to as much as you wish to spend.
"Sapa O'Chau embodies a certain spirit and set of values that every social enterprise should strive for. They truly are a champion for change in the ethnic minority community. Working with Sapa O'Chau has had a tremendous impact on my worldview, and I encourage anybody to have their own experience with this wonderful organization. You won't be disappointed."
“My first intention was to support the students here to learn English. It turned out that I have learnt so much more within this 3-month stay. At first I thought I would have the chance to observe the life of the locals closely, but it was far more than I had expected. The love and respect that the students gave helps me to open up myself up more. I realized how hard-working the people need to be to make a living; how little chance my students could have meat in their daily meal before they lived in Sapa O’Chau.”
Ngoc, Ho Chi Minh
“At first, I thought I would just volunteer for a few months and then leave. I have my future goals, like many people who put in effort to have a better life. After I came here, I realized that Shu is leading an extraordinary life. There are few people around Shu, who understand her. I will try my best to stay and help as much as possible.”
Thao, Ho Chi Minh
“Shu, you are a really special person, with much ambition and passion for what you are doing. Keep doing like this, I think you make too many students and people a big difference. Thank you so much for this opportunity to add a little bit to the difference I can make to the students.”
“My experience with Sapa O’Chau was nothing but positive. Being able to collaborate with people driven to empower young people through providing further access to education was extremely memorable. Additionally, being able to see former Sapa O’Chau students working in the field of tourism and completing their tertiary studies is a true representation of Shu Tan’s relentlessness and perseverance. Sapa O’Chau works to ensure people from [ethnic] minority backgrounds are given equal opportunities and as a result, these opportunities lead to more sustainable futures.”