VOLUNTEERING AT A SOCIAL ORPHANAGE
Throughout your volunteering, you will receive many smiles and affection from the children. All volunteers work in children’s homes in the Chiang Mai area. These homes are run by families who seek to help the children with the most difficulties. The number of children in a home can be 15 and 50. It is important that as a volunteer you know that the children most need love and attention.
Flexibility is a prerequisite for volunteering at a social orphanage, as needs vary from day to day. Most likely, you will be asked for support in child care, supervision, and activity planning. They will also help with the center’s tasks and activities. In any case, as a volunteer you will spend the most time with the children and supporting the activities that take place in the social orphanage.
WHAT WILL I DO AS A VOLUNTEER?
As a volunteer you will work with children from 4 to 18 years old. Some of the children are orphans, while most of the children live near the city, but due to poverty and the physical location of their family they stay in the center. Most of the children come from at-risk ethnic minority villages, which do not have access to education or basic sanitation; others are refugees from the turmoil in Myanmar.
Your primary responsibility as a volunteer is to spend time with the children, teach them English and play games. But you can also devote time to activities like:
- Painting or playing games.
- Help maintain the centre or fix appliances.
All the work done by a volunteer translates into a better quality of life for the children, even after you have returned home. Accompaniment and support in the caregivers’ tasks helps them spend more quality time with the children.
The games and activities you plan can be equally formative. Volunteers are encouraged to organize games and activities that contribute to the growth and improvement of children’s skills and knowledge.
There are three general ways a volunteer can help and spend time with children:
- After school, helping children with homework
- Assist in the cleaning and kitchen of the center
- Organize activities and play with children during free time
WHAT IS REQUIRED OF THE VOLUNTEER
- You must be of legal age (18 years or older). Volunteers usually don’t need any specific qualifications, but are expected to get involved with the children and teens in the center.
- In addition to being open and respectful of culture and traditions.
- Volunteers must also have a knowledge of written and spoken English.
- Be creative, considering that there is a lack of teaching materials in the center.
It is very important that you present the following documents in the application process:
- Police record certified before its start date
- Copy of your passport
WHAT DAYS AND DATES CAN I VOLUNTEER?
TIMETABLE AND PICK-UP POINT
- The meeting point is Chiang Mai International Airport, trains and buses.
- Pick up time is from 8:30 to 20:00 hours. If you arrive outside these hours, you will be picked up the next day at an agreed point.
The clothing required in the project is:
The dress code in social orphanages in the volunteering in Thailand is casual. However, it is not considered appropriate to wear clothes that are too tight or uncovered for the children.
Volunteers are required to wear:
- Long pants, capris or long shorts that reach the knee.
- Wear shirts that cover their shoulders and breasts.
- Volunteers will also be asked to remove piercings and cover exposed tattoos.
Smoking and drinking are also strictly prohibited in social orphanages and lodging. During the hours you are at the center, all volunteers are asked to refrain from smoking (even outside the facility).
As always, it is important to keep in mind that this is Thailand. Please be flexible and patient. Things can change at the last minute. Unlike other projects, this one has less structure. That is, the structure will be built by the volunteers themselves. If you want to teach English, play a game or help cook, do it! Don’t wait for orphanage staff or children to come to you and ask you to do things.