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Permaculture English Teachers Needed for Vietnam

The Social Policy Ecology Research Institute (SPERI) is a Vietnamese organisation set up in partnership with PRI Australia, working towards a society where ethnic minority and indigenous people of the Mekong region have equal access to social justice, gender equality, natural resources, and fair social economic systems.

SPERI has a number of Farmer Field Schools (FFS) in operation around the Mekong Region, with more on the way. Their mission is to promote a sustainable and harmonious relationship between people and natural ecosystems through the facilitation of permaculture principles, and the empowerment of traditional beliefs, knowledge and environmental management techniques. SPERI is currently in search of two English as a second language (ESL) teachers with a background in Permaculture to work at Human Ecology Practice Area (HEPA), and FFS Simacai.

Traditional accommodation at HEPA

Simacai school buildings

HEPA’s 420 hectares are located in the beautiful hinterland rainforest and river systems of Huong Son district, North Central Vietnam. It functions as the FFS Regional Centre where ethnic minority and indigenous young people from various parts of the Mekong (presently Vietnam and Laos) come to live, share and apply their traditional beliefs, knowledge and techniques within a permaculture framework. Staff and students work together and practice sustainable community based living in a student-centred, democratic environment.


Founded in 2005, FFS Simacai occupies 9 hectares in the mountainous district of Simacai, Lao Cai province, North West Vietnam, bordering with China. This area is occupied predominantly by Hmong ethnic people and is rich in traditional culture and history. SPERI has recognised the need to find sustainable solutions to the overuse of natural resources in Simacai. This overuse has lead to serious soil erosion and water shortages that not only impacts the district, but also other lowland areas of the region. Ethnic minority students and staff come from different areas of Lao Cai to learn, share and teach traditional knowledge and techniques of sustainable resource management and permaculture. They have begun the reversal process of the damaged environment, with results already beginning to show.

Simacai terrace garden

In addition to studying and practicing permaculture, an important part of the FFS curriculum at HEPA and Simacai, is learning English, for a number of reasons:

  1. It is a common, cross-cultural language to communicate within the regional farmers network
  2. It allows for networking, communication and sharing with the global community, bringing awareness and support to the cause of their people
  3. It opens possibilities for foreign permaculture visitors and volunteers to exchange with students and communities at the village level
  4. It broadens the students access to information and allows for research and sharing of innovative ecological solutions
  5. It builds the respect of students on returning to the village and respect for their practice.

SPERI is looking for an experienced Permaculture ESL teacher for both the HEPA and Simacai projects. They will work with students and staff, building their ability to communicate in English, and providing them with a foundation for further self-study. The two successful applicants will also network together, developing an innovative English curriculum that reflects the activities and beliefs of the students and FFS network. In addition, they will also have the opportunity to run workshops, and conduct permaculture research projects. Topics of particular interest are soil building, animal raising, natural resource management, integrated design and mixed gardens, to name but a few.

SPERI offers the successful applicants a local wage with all onsite accommodation, meals, and work related expenses provided. A minimum of six months is required.

This really is the opportunity of a lifetime to live, share and learn from some of the traditional cultures of the Mekong Region. If you are interested in joining the HEPA and FFS Simacai communities, please contact us on volunteer (at)

Applicants should attach their resume with introductory cover letter.

River that runs along HEPA property – great swimming!


  1. This was not clear to me, but seemed implied.
    Does the teacher need to know the Vietnamese language?

    I dream of pho.

  2. Hi Christian,

    Apologies for not being clear. No it is not essential for the teachers to speak Vietnamese.

    Kind regards,


  3. I have a BA in English and a recently acquired TESOL Certificate. I do not unfortunately, have ESL teaching experience. I have always been interested in Vietnam and impressed by the resilience of the Vietnamese people. I would welcome the opportunity to immerse myself into this culture. Remuneration is the least of my concerns. Please let me know if you think there is a possibility I might be considered for this position.

  4. Sorry just to inform everyone who is interested. We are hoping to fill this position ASAP. Thanks for the interest.


  5. Hi
    Are these positions still available?
    I have a CELTA from The Bell Educational Trust in Cambridge, England. I have taught there and in Saudi Arabia, Italy and France.
    I would relish the experience of working in Vietnam. I speak French, which I guess may be useful …
    Please let me know if I can still submit my CV.
    All the best,

  6. Sounds like a wonderful project and an amazing opportunity! I have a background in organic farming and just completed my TEFL cerit — So I will definitely follow the project and apply next year! Best of luck to you this season.

  7. Morning Jonathon,
    Have passed the details of ESL/Permaculture job on to my sister Jillian.
    She is qualified in all respects,both as a gardener and ESL teacher.
    She has been teaching asian languages here in victoria also for quite a few years….
    Anyway ,she will be in touch immediately

    Best regards keep up the good work

    Noel Bowe

    Ps Do you ever get any call for builders?

  8. Hello,

    this opportunity looks amazing. Although I am interested in permaculture, I do not have any qualifications.
    I do have a Bachelor of Science, and have done a Certificate III in Conservation and Land Management in Australia.
    WOuld there be any point in applying? Or are there any non-teaching opportunities/ways to get involved?

  9. Hi,

    This sounds like a wonderful opportunity. I am a qualified (CELTA) and experienced ESL teacher and have previously worked with youth in traditional communities in Thailand, who required training for sustainable eco-tourism initiatives in their local area.

    I also hold a BA (International Studies)

    Could you please let me know if these positions are still available and when you would be requiring the successful applicant to start?


  10. Hi everyone, sorry for the late reply. We are in the process of interview people now, and hoping to finish in the next couple of days. If you are really interested in these positions, are an experience English teacher, and have a passion for permaculture, please email me your resumes and cover letter now. Then if all goes well will organise a skype interview in the next day or two. This really is your last chance to get in.

    Thanks to everyone for you interest, and good luck to those who apply.



  11. Will there be a position available in July? I’m in middle of teaching contract in Sumatra. I teach IGCSE and A level Biology. I have BS degree and 3 years teaching experience. I grew up on large “Hog farm” in USA, also raised filberts, cherries and prunes. Other experiences include family construction business and military.

  12. Hi Marco,

    Unfortunately the positions will be for March. But by all means contact us with your resume etc when you are close to finishing up in Sumatra and we can see if we have anything available. We regularly accept volunteers for varying timeframes especially if you have something relevant to contribute to the students here.

    Thank you for your interest, and I look forward to hearing from you in the future.



  13. Hi!
    Would like to know a little about volunteer positions for work on the permaculture farm.
    Looking somewhere around early 2015, for however long you could use my help.
    Do let me know

  14. I am a certified Permaculture Designer (PDC from Oregon State) and a Certified (CTEFLA) Teacher of English as a Foreign Language to Adults (British Language Institute Madrid); and am interested in participating in permaculture education projects in Vietnam.

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