Vientiane International School and BFL expand learning opportunities in Laos

BFL bank funds Vientiane International School (VIS) campus improvement project, including a Performing Arts Center, a Gymnasium, and new social areas to serve VIS and local communities. 

BFL (Banque Franco Lao) and VIS (Vientiane International School) celebrated their partnership and commencement of the Campus Gateway Project with a groundbreaking ceremony on February 24 at the VIS campus. They welcomed their partners as well as Lao PDR government representatives, local community leaders and shared the project details with the local press. The project is expected to be completed by 14th June 2022 (potential COVID restrictions permitting).

VIS continues to improve its offering with a campus expansion, and BFL – one of VIS’s banking service providers since it opened in Laos 10 years ago– has provided the project funding. The partners involved in this project that promises to incentivize the Lao economy are Lao Consulting Group (Technical Design and Project Management); Comminasia (MEP); and Khamphay Sana Group (Civil and Architectural work), all of whom are helping to make the design vision of EIW Architects (Design Consultants from Perth) a reality.  The efforts of this multidisciplinary team, BFL financial support, together with years of strategic planning, has set the ground for building the new VIS facilities without impacting the school’s operations, budget, or school fees. 

In a blend of traditional Laos architectural style with modern, sustainable design, the new VIS facilities will offer:

  • A new multipurpose Performing Arts Center with a capacity of 350+ pax. Retractable seats make space versatile for events and community gatherings;
  • An indoor Gymnasium with 2 full-size basketball courts, integrated into the sports hub (pool and soccer field);
  • A modern administration building and community areas. 

We give back to Laos
“The estimated project investment is $8 million. About 75% of this expenditure will be directed through local companies as far as possible, with materials only being imported where necessary and using a Lao labor force. During these global pandemic difficult times, we will make sure to foster the local economy and give back to Lao communities as much as we can,” Vivien Brelsford, VIS Finance and Operations Manager said. 

BFL bank CEO stated “BFL is proud to finance the expansion of Vientiane International School thanks to a lending deal of 6 million dollars, helping to achieve the school’s key objective of growing its educational capacity in a responsible and sustainable way.

This project financing is particularly significant as it will help support our local community’s development and make a significant impact on improving education infrastructure in the Lao PDR”

“The VIS new facilities will enable novel spaces that expand the learning opportunities of our students and local communities. The Campus Gateway Project responds to the findings and recommendations of a facilities review and space utilization analysis conducted by Perkins Eastman in 2018. We are moving from a sports-centered campus to a responsive building that incorporates the arts and sustainability principles into an enhanced sports hub. Our campus improvement will help us fulfill our school’s mission and vision: developing our learners’ unique potential while leading the way toward a sustainable future.”, stated the Head of School, Mrs. Elsa Donohue. 

Once the project is completed, VIS plans to involve the local community through initiatives such as:

  • A regular farmer’s/craft market in the car park to support local entrepreneurs
  • The possible establishment of a “Community Garden” which would provide access to local members of the community to learn about urban agriculture options
  • A venue for hosting more conferences, performances, and sporting events for local community projects.  VIS already supports local groups such as the Lao Parra-swimming Foundation.


BFL is a joint venture between BRED Banque Populaire (BRED Group) and BCEL Public. BRED is a cooperative Banque Populaire, supported by its 200,000 members and 4.4 billion Euros of equity, created in 1919. It is part of BPCE Group, ranked #17 banking group worldwide in terms of Assets. BRED is established worldwide with subsidiaries located in Southeast Asia (Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar), the Horn of Africa (Djibouti and Ethiopia), the Pacific region (New-Caledonia, Fiji, Vanuatu, and Solomon Islands). BCEL Public is the largest commercial Bank in the Lao PDR.


VIS is an independent, non-profit school offering an international-standard curriculum. It’s the only school in Laos accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Council of International Schools (CIS). It is also the only IB World School in the country, delivering the IB Continuum Program (PYP, MYP, and DP Programmes from Early Years through Grade 12). 

VIS’s current campus facilities include two swimming pools, two soccer pitches, two basketball courts, ample playground spaces, a collaborative library, a Makerspace, and a “BlackBox” Theater. Starting in December 2020, VIS will improve and expand their facilities through the Campus Gateway Project.

Visit VIS website to learn more:

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