LVCF is a UK registered charity, established in 2004 by a group of cyclists following a tour of Laos with Red Spokes Adventure Tours and its founder Dermot MacWard. Inspired by their experiences, they decided to do something to help the local people who had shown them such warmth and hospitality.
The first project was to fund a school in the remote village of Ban Faen in Laos. From the start, the principle was to make sure that the local villagers 'owned' the project. A local village committee was formed which controlled the whole project. The villagers themselves provided all the labour for free, including the services of the architect, with LVCF providing the funds for the materials. Our money went direct to the project, through people we knew and trusted - there was no commission or a 'Mr Big' in the village - every dollar was accounted for. For around $8,000 we built a new school with playing fields and toilets, to replace the old mud-floored school which only accommodated half of the children in the village.
Since then we have raised money for many more projects and have expanded the scope of the charity to include other countries - Pakistan, Tibet, Peru and Vietnam. However, the principles of the charity have not changed - to fund sustainable, worthwhile projects at minimal cost, with significant local community involvement and without payments to intermediaries.