Category Archives: Volunteers
Volunteering at DEPDC can be very rewarding for the volunteer, DEDPC staff and the children. Volunteers are always welcome at our main DEPDC site in Mae Sai or our other centre in Chiang Kong. We have had volunteers from America, Canada, Europe and Japan and some have stayed for up to 3 years. There are approximately six foreign volunteers at any one time here who stay for 6 months or more.
During these past 4 weeks at HDS, DEPDC students received the company of Sun students to attend a class activity taught by Phor Sompop’s daughter which focused on life skills, where learning how to gain self-esteem and life philosophy teachings were at the center of class discussions.
The first chapter of the exercise was for the students to choose and cleanup the scraps of wood on which they would be able to write the quote.
The second chapter focused on the students’ presentation in which they explained why they decided to choose that quote in particular. This exercise had as main goal to help them develop their speaking skills in front of an audience.
The final chapter of the exercise focused on how the students exchanged their thoughts and opinions in front of the class.
This task taught them the concept of critical thinking and how, as a fact, develop research skills. They learned how to check various sources of information using resource books, going from the Buddhist teachings to the teachings of the Bible, and readings from different ethnic cultures.
The motivation behind such a class was that, taking note of the many important topics and concepts such as tolerance, prestige, love, the environment and poverty can teach children think for themselves. It teaches them how to effectively participate in class and to be assertive in their work.
Just by amusing children with the often both entertaining and meaningful life philosophy teachings, you may give them an edge in becoming generous, compassionate, virtuous, responsible, and self-reflecting beings.
Hello, my name is Midori. I am learning about international society at a Japanese university, and I have been studying abroad in Chiang Mai this August. Because I’m interested in children’s education, I have chosen to expanded my studies at DEPDC for about 2 month. To receive an education is a right equally given to children, and children can notice their favorite things and their existence value by receiving an education. Actually, I am one of them.
The children of DEPDC are very fun, bright and I live with a few of them here at the school. Although it is a limited time, I would like to fulfill my time spending it with my children. I would like to learn about myself at DEPDC and make use of it for my future learning.
The International Department would like to introduce Theodora. She joined our organization this past month. Theodora is from Brussels, Belgium and has been living in Bangkok for the last 6 years. Following her Master’s degree in International Relations in 2013 from Webster University, she has spent her time working in the environmental sector both in Thailand and Hong Kong. She has recently completed a two-year work experience in wildlife conservation issues for a Bangkok-based anti-wildlife and anti-human trafficking non-governmental organization where she co-worked on projects that provide legal-based solutions to combat transnational wildlife trafficking in Southeast Asia.
“While studying my Master’s in Bangkok a couple of years ago, I experienced my first exposure to the issues of both wildlife and human trafficking. Throughout the years I became even more aware of the extensive atrocities committed in the region in total impunity. It is then that I decided I wanted to work on projects that are geared towards helping to save endangered wildlife and humans from the growing problem of trafficking.”
DEPDC definitely caught my eye. The organization has been around for so many years now, having as main objective to tackle child prostitution and child labor by providing alternative education to girls at high risk of exploitation up north. I was very much impressed by its achievements and it was then that I decided I would join the team, and leave Bangkok for a short while.”
The International Department would like to introduce Yun, a banker became psychologist from Korea. Yun is the new long-term volunteer at DEPDC’s Swimming Home Shelter in Mae Chan. He is a certified psychologist, swimming trainer, and Korean language teacher.
One of my favorite authors, Paulo Coelho said that “each human being has his own personal legend to be fulfilled and this is the reason he is in the world”. I strongly believe in his words, because I spent many years for finding my personal legend and realizing the meaning of my life, which I found when I met the children in the Mae Chan Swimming Home shelter. I am Yun Kwansub from South Korea. Only about a decade ago, I was an ordinary banker who had quite good salary and higher position in my work. Although I was satisfied with my life, I felt the emptiness of life somehow. After I broke up with my girlfriend, the feeling of emptiness was immense. I could not do anything else at that time. My life was getting boring, tedious and routine like a mouse in a wheel. Nothing was interesting to me. Another author, Mark Twain stressed about the life and said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” So I threw off my bowlines and sailed around the world in order to find the meaning of my life. Most of surrounding people including my family, colleagues, and acquaintances persuaded me to rethink my decision, but they could not stop me. Because I knew that is not my life at all. While I was travelling around the world, I met many different types of people whom I have never met before. They taught me how to have a flexible mindset, a different point of view to see the world from, and how to live their happy life. Through this long journey, I could find what I wanted to do and what my personal goal is. I was eager to be someone who is beneficial to the world.
I think that we have to act before we are ready sometimes. Although I have not built perfect careers to work at NGO, I am mentally ready to do it. So I decided to engage with activist NGOs instead of progressing to a master’s degree or a doctorate after I completed my bachelor’s degree in psychology. I researched many NGOs in the world for a month, only DEPDC in Thailand caught my eye. DEPDC has been in business for more than 25 years in order to prevent and to protect children and youths from being trafficked into exploitative labor conditions by providing proper education, vocational and life-skills training, and accommodation. This NGO’s achievements are remarkable. To change children’s life as well as shift the paradigm of local society is very impressive. I was sure that organization would help me to achieve my dream and learn many things from staff in DEPDC. Hence, I decided to apply to be a volunteer in DEPDC without any hesitation.
After several long and boring days for the approval of my volunteer visa, I arrived in Chiang Rai, Thailand on 31, May in the end. I had been here once with my mother while travelling, but my attitude and mind are so different from that time. I have a stronger sense of responsibility and feel some pressure to do things well. While I was learning Thai language for a month at Chiang Rai Rajabhat University, I learned about basic Thai language, Thai culture and some political issues about the relationship between Myanmar and Thailand including migration, human trafficking, recent crime around the border region and, especially, the political issues between Myanmar and Thailand are too complicate to solve them instantly and simply. After know those issues. I highly respect and admire Khun Sompop who has dedicated the last 26 years of his life to migrated children from Myanmar to prevent human trafficking and sexual abuse. On 3 July, I came to the Mae Chan Swimming Home shelter with more concern than expectation. I was worried and stressed that I would not measure up to the task and fall short of expectations, but I recognized that these were all just unfounded concerns as soon as I met the children. When I saw their innocent faces, I felt that this is my work. What I have to and I will be able to my best for them. I am currently writing a blog post to provide news in the shelter to promote new potential cooperation and individual donations. During the day, the children go to school. When they return, I teach the children to swim and to play a music instrument, the ocarina. These activities encourage children to have a healthy level of physical and social activity and promote an active lifestyle all year long. Also, they would be able to improve their overall mood, and combat depression, anxiety and stress they have.
I have never forgotten Khun Sompop’s words on the first day. He told me that we are like a farmer, planting seeds in the ground. Carefully and patiently nurture them, then the seeds will grow up and become a big tree naturally. Every child is an amazing seed turning into a big tree with beautiful flowers and juicy fruits. Our duty is parenting them, caring for them and observing them with strong feelings of affection and concern. As like his words, I want to be a volunteer to inspire and help my children to promote their life. For achieving the goal, I teach my children with modesty, patience and affection as a good farmer.
Our third group of International Student Volunteers all kindly shared their thoughts, and photos, from the past two weeks that they spent with us here at HDS.
“I am so excited for the time I spent with the staff and kids at DEPDC. The staff here have shown me what it’s like to love unconditionally and the kids have reminded me to smile despite what goes on around us. Being here has also made me more aware of the issues with human trafficking and it has given me a new perspective on life.” -Lianne
“My experience with ISV at DEPDC has opened my eyes to see the real issues that are happening outside of what I learn from social media or a textbook. The children at DEPDC have taught me to be thankful for the simple things. Seeing them smile warms my heart.” -Lavinia
“ISV gave me a brand new perspective on human trafficking and showed me how rewarding global giving can be. I will never forget the staff, the teachers and the children (who are teachers too!). This was an incredible experience and I would recommend it to anyone who has a wild desire to make a change because you will surely make a difference being a part of this community.” -Anna
“My time here at DEPDC with ISV has been life altering. It has opened my eyes to the global issue of human trafficking. This center and the staff are doing incredible work through prevention and protection of these at-risk children. I have fallen in love with the center, their work and most of all the amazing children. I cannot begin to express how truly grateful I am for my time here.” -Becca
“This experience was life changing. The kids are thriving in this program. The goal of prevention and protection I believe is achieved. The teachers and staff make this center a home and safe place for the kids to be themselves. Thank you for everything.” -Jean
“This experience has made me more aware of the struggles so many young children go through on a day to day basis. I am so glad and grateful I had the opportunity to meet such extraordinary kids who love to learn!” -Kim
“I will never be able to express how grateful I am to have had this opportunity. Being here has opened my eyes to the horrible daily struggles facing so many children worldwide; problems I never would have dreamed of experiencing as a child. We are all human brings and it is essential that we act like it- that we treat each other with humanity; these children deserve it” -Rachel
“Getting to teach and play with the kids at DEPDC was a truly life changing experience! I came thinking I would teach them so much, but they taught me ever more! Those precious children will be in my heart forever!” -Lizzie
“I have learned a lot more than I expected to through the last two weeks. I came here to help these kids, but I got help from them. They smile unbelievably beautifully. They are unbelievably nice to each other. It was such an amazing experience to learn how I can appreciate every moment in my life. I could smile because of them, and I was happy to give them some reason to smile too. I also learned how I can make a difference for a better global society by sharing our thoughts about this society, environment and every aspect in life. I hope these kids grow up beautifully as they are now.” -Grace
As the second group of volunteers from ISV (International Student Volunteers) have finished up their time with us here at DEPDC, we asked a few of them to share their thoughts about the two weeks they have spent with us.
“This school is incredibly inspiring and gives children the opportunity to learn important life skills, as well as the ability to interact with volunteers from around the world. I have had a memorable experience here and would love to come back. The children are smart, kind, and respectful. I appreciate everything DEPDC has to offer!” -Kylea Sheilds
“DEPDC changed my life. I am a new person, in a great way; 12/10 would recommend.” -Claire
“DEPDC has been an eye opening, soul-touching, body rockin’ experience. If you ever have the chance to do it, don’t pass up this amazing opportunity.” -Cara Wilson
“I have truly had the most incredible and inspiring experience being at DEPDC. I’ve learned so much from the center and the kids, I am forever grateful.” -Nia Wahl
The International Department would like to introduce Nicolas, a student of International Development at University College Cork in Ireland. Despite studying in Cork, Nicolas was born and raised in Dublin. He has also travelled to a wide variety of places and has spent much of his previous summer holidays at volunteer camps, both in Ireland and abroad. Through this, Nicolas has gained experience working with groups such as refugees, minorities and people with disabilities. He intends to spend five months working at DEPDC’s Swimming Home shelter and is looking forward to the return of the students and the varying tasks which that will bring.
“Hello! My name is Nicolas, a third year (going on fourth year) student of International Development and Food Policy. When I finish this course, I intend to further my studies, focusing on the areas of international law, human rights and/or anthropology in the hopes of working in a job which deals with one, or all of these topics. Currently, I am on my third year work placement. DEPDC seemed like the best possible choice for this as the organisation works to protect vulnerable children and adults from human trafficking and forced labour through education and vocational training. Many of these people come from Thailand’s Hill tribes, so the five months which I am spending in the Mae Chan Swimming Home shelter will prove both beneficial and informative.”
“Seeing as the majority of children have yet to return, and will likely do so in the early days of next month, most of our current duties involve fundraising. As part of this, our first official job involved the design and manufacturing of posters and flyers for English lessons, which we remain ready to give. At present, we are in charge of updating and maintaining the shelter’s social media presence. This includes, managing the shelter’s Facebook account and writing blogs regarding day to day life at the shelter. We have also taken to our own social media profiles to promote and fund raise for DEPDC.”
The International Department would like to introduce Kamile. Kamile is a 3rd year International Development and Food Policy student from University College Cork in Ireland. As part of her degree, she will be spending the next few months at the Swimming home in Mae Chan. In Ireland, she enjoyed volunteer work such as teaching non- Irish nationals English and helping school students with their homework. Since arriving at the site, Kamile has been researching potential funders, updating MRICRH social media accounts and reading up on DEPDC’s work.
“I have been interested in human rights for as long as I can remember. I have always been concerned about what is fair and what is not. However, this interest significantly heightened when, at the age of 13, I moved from the small Eastern European country of Lithuania, where I was born and raised, to Ireland. I consider Ireland my home now, but it was not always that way. The first couple of years I struggled communicating while in school in most situations that required me to communicate in English. Even though I was surrounded by the language and studied it myself everyday, it was a very gradual process and so many times I felt helpless, like I had no voice and my opinion did not matter. The truth is, my opinion did matter, I just could not physically express it. It got me to realise that I was lucky, all that was holding me back was a language, which I was improving everyday in. It got me thinking about the people whose basic rights are not being upheld, they must feel helpless also, and oftentimes they cannot do anything about it. Their voice does not matter to those taking advantage of them and not respecting human rights.”
“When it came to choosing my college degree after finishing school, there was no doubt in my mind I wanted to do something that will enable me to help others and that is why I chose to study International Development. The degree allows those studying it to spend 5 months working in an NGO and since the very start, I knew that DEPDC is where I wanted to be.”
“I am not even halfway through my time here but I have already learnt so much about the organisation, the country, and its culture. Being here is a life changing experience that has allowed me to break free from my usual stressful and busy daily routine, thus enabling me to re-evaluate my priorities.”
“I am looking forward to getting to know the children that live in the Swimming Home during the school year once they are back from the summer holidays shortly!”