Hotelschool Bhutan achieved its goal

Last year we handed our hotel school in Bhutan over to the Bhutanese. Now its 100% Bhutanese ownership and management. Adrien, Auke, Nicky and Floris, the hoteliers expats did an amazing job training the local trainers.

I am so proud of what we had achieved with the little resources we had. But was only possible with the amazing support of Mr. Piero Grandi and all the other donors.  We created a lot of opportunity for hundreds and hundreds of Bhutanese youth. A true positive impact project.

Adrien just came back to Bhutan where he spent four days. These are the words of Adrien: “The quality of the Institute and hotel operations went obviously a bit down compared to when we had foreign management but this is normal. It happens in all projects that we hand over to locals. Nonetheless, BIHT remains the best hospitality vocational training centers and all our graduates find jobs easily, mainly in 4-5* hotels.

Tourism is growing in Bhutan. Our reputation continues to rise among the community, the tour operators and the hotels. It is incredible to see the staff shortage in Bhutan. We can provide only 50-100 graduates per year whereas the industry would require thousands.”

Thank you all for your trust and all the support, spiritual as well financial.

I look forward to replicate this model in other countries, simply because it works!!

With kind regard,  Rieki







Update Karen State Hotel School

Dear Friends of the Learning Exchange Foundation.

Here is an important update on our progress in developing a hotel school and hotel in Karen State in Myanmar. This is first step in creating livelihoods for the 200.000 refugees living in the camps for over 50 years.

1. The Karen project is moving forward

2.We identified a 50 rooms hotel in the centre of Myawaddy,very suitable to set up the hotel school.

3. 150 Karen youth from the refugee camps are eagerly waiting to enroll into our school.

4. Jeroen Visser a Dutch hotelier and Rieki Crins ( founder and director of lef) preparing the field in Mae Sot and Karen State for the Hotel school and project related to the hotel school.

5. Myawaddy and Mae Sot are becoming a major hub for trade between Thailand and Myanmar. Thailand is building an international airport in Mae Sot and a 4 lane highway to connect Thailand with Yangon and Dawei a major harbor in Myanmar. A international standard 3 star hotel, restaurant, bakery and hotel school are a valuable addition to the border town Myawaddy.

6. We received a major donation from a friend of the Learning Exchange Foundation. This is an important start for our project.

7. One of the leading 5 star hotel chain in Asia, has shown interest in helping us develop the project.

Sogno Italia donated a professional espresso machine and 50 kilo coffee beans to the hotel school in karen State. Thank you Luca!!


With kind regards,

The board of the learning exchange foundation


Starlight hotel Myawaddy


Learning Exchange Foundation expands to Myanmar.

Karen Hotel School Project raising 100k dollars seed funding.

©Burma Link Aug. 14, 2013

Dear Friends,

I greet you all from a very hot Mae Sot in Western Thailand.

The Learning Exchange Foundation (LEF) has been asked to set up a hotel school for Karen refugee youth in Myawaddy, Karen State, Myanmar.

As you all know, until 2012, there was a bloody civil war in Burma and the ethnic minorities where became victims of this war. For example, the Karen people had to flee to refugee camps. Now there are several of these camps along the Thai border. These camps have been here for 60 years  and  there are more than 100.000 people living in these camp, with  50% under the age of 25. These young people receive education from various NGO’s but the education, and thus diploma, are not recognized by Myanmar and Thailand. These kids are stuck!

Tourism is booming in Myanmar and there is a huge demand for skilled hotel people.Our hybrid hotelschool ( hotel and school) is ideally placed to address the challenges and needs of the Karen people living in these refugee camps.

The Bhutan Hotel School is running well and will be monitored by the Swiss Bhutan Learning Exchange foundation.

I am reaching out to you to again ask for your financial support in establishing our hotel school in Myanmar. I, and the 100.000 refugees stuck in these camps would be eternally grateful if you made a contribution to (Karen Hotel School Project).

We need to raise US $ 100.000. Please support this important initiative. 

If you would like to have more information, please contact me

Thank you.

Stay well,



Via Bank Transfer:

Stichting Learning Exchange
Watteaustraat 36
1077 ZM Amsterdam

Rabo Iban :
NL37RABO 0154429791
Contact Rieki Crins

The second batch graduated and all found jobs


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This is what Kesang wrote on facebook:

Day to be remembered…. “Our graduation” we are the second batch of BIHT and I’m proud to be the part of BIHT. Thank you all the our mentors la chef Kelzang Dorji Memphis, chef Tshering Dema, sir Floris Pocerattu, madam Niki Kervezee, sir Tshering Phuntsho,sir Yeshi Tashi Gocha, sir Gyembo Dorji, madam Pema wang and madam Sapna Dits Siwa and thanks to the founder of BIHT Aum Rieki Crins

Thank you to all who donated to the foundation to make the dreams of these young Bhutanese come true. If you you would like to support the school you can make a donation here

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Rieki Crins and two distinct Bhutanese Lama’s will perform in New York at the Park Armoury from 13-26 September

To all our friends who live in New York or visit New York:


Offering Distinct Daytime and Evening Experiences, Commission Premieres at Park Avenue Armory September 13 – 25, 2016

Lama Tashi and Lama Phurba, two  Buddhist lama’s ( masters in Buddhist studies) and Rieki Crins are invited to take part of a very exiting project from well known  artist Taryn Simon in New York.

11 Cultures from all over the world come together for two weeks in New York in September and 2 week in May 2017 in London to perform the rituals of loss from their own cultures.

The lama’s from Bhutan will perform part of the Bardo, the Bhutanese death rituals.

You are welcome to visit this wonderful event.

Hope to see you in New York.


Lonely Planet: “It will be the best meal you have in Bhutan”


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So proud of our restaurant in Bhutan. Wow! My dream came true, can you imagine, 5 years ago I dreamed of a hotelschool and a restaurant that train underpriviledge  youth of Bhutan to promote Bhutanese culture with quality hospitality service and now we are open for 2 years. Our students find work in the best 5 star hotels in Bhutan , India and beyond. Thank you Piero Grandi, Adrien Rebord, Auke Thijssen, Niki Kervezee , Floris Pocerattu, Clara Blanc, Mr.Norbu, Mrs Yangki and all teachers of BIHT to make this amazing project happen. Also thank you to all the donors.

If you want to reserve a table or room contact:


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Help Kinley

Please meet Kinley


Kinley is one of the best students of the Bongde Institute of Hospitality and Tourism ( our Hotel school) in Bhutan. Kinley has a dream and this dream is to do an internship in The Netherlands, for 3 months in a hotel or restaurant. This experience will broaden her horizon and she can use this experience to improve her skills and which is also beneficial for Bhutan. Her parents are self-subsistent farmers and have no means of helping her financially.

We need USD 1500,– to cover her travel to the Netherlands. I am asking you to sponsor her with a small donation or a big one.

For Dutch citizens, the donation is tax deductible  via Learning Exchange Foundation:

Bank Account:Dutch iban: NL37RABO 0154429791

For Swiss citizens, the donation is tax deductible via Swiss foundation Bhutan Learning Exchange Foundation:

Bank Account: Credit Suisse Verbier
IBAN : CH23 0483 5111 5811 3100 0

Donations via paypal

We are very grateful for your help!!!

Best, the Learning Exchange board and the BIHT team.