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.

International Student Volunteers at Mae Sai!

We have been very busy for the past few weeks so thankfully we have had a few groups of International Student Volunteers, or ISV here to help us. For the past two weeks, we have had our fourth group of ISV working with us here in Mae Sai but sadly we say goodbye to them today before they go off on their exciting adventure tour, and we look forward to the arrival of our next group, next month.

The kids say goodbye to ISV

The kids say goodbye to ISV

Since mid-May, we have had groups of ISV, who come in groups of about 15, mainly from Canada and America, and have stayed with us for two weeks at a time, working on building a wall, helping with cooking for the students, making crafts with, and teaching English to our students. While they are here, these volunteers contribute to the much needed maintenance and up keep of DEPDC, as well as providing help and support for the teachers, with the children. Having these volunteers is great for the staff of DEPDC, as it gives us extra staffing, and therefore a greater ability to provide the children with what they need, and give the children, the opportunity for different experiences and creative outlets.

Creative english classes with ISV!

Creative english classes with ISV!

During their time here, some of the groups like to make some traditional ‘American food’ for the kids, our second group found out that one of the iconic staples in an American child’s lunch box ‘PB&J sandwiches’, weren’t quite such a hit with our Thai kids, and the next group found out that their cheesy favorite ‘mac and cheese’, that even the fussiest of children in the States seem to enjoy, doesn’t go down quite so well over here. Our children were quite comical in their efforts to hide their dislike! Watching their reactions was incredibly amusing, and everybody appeared to enjoy the popcorn! This weeks ‘hash browns’ and ‘french toast’ was quite successful and went down a treat with most of the kids!

Student attempting to hide their dislike of the ISV's 'mac & cheese'!

Student attempting to hide their dislike of the ISV’s ‘mac & cheese’!

Harry Feldman, from Georgia Tech in America, has spent the past two weeks with us, very enthusiastically teaching and playing with the kids who have very clearly loved having him here!

‘I had so much fun at DEPDC. We played games with the kids, cooked Thai food, and helped finish a wall around the school. The best part was definitely teaching and playing with the kids.  It was very rewarding seeing them progress through the numbers. They started with 1,2, and 3, but by the end of the day we had them counting to 10. Seeing their faces light up with joy while playing with us was amazing! I will always remember my experiences at DEPDC!’

Harry playing footballs with some of our HDS pro-footballers

Harry playing footballs with some of our HDS pro-footballers

Meet an International Volunteer: Caoimhe!

The International Department would like to introduce Caoimhe, who joined the department in April. Caoimhe spent a year studying International Aid and Development at Ballsbridge College in Dublin, before moving to Cork, where she is currently a student of International Development and Food Policy, at University College Cork, in Ireland. She will be working with the international department at the center in Mae Sai for the next few months. Since arriving at DEPDC, Caoimhe has been working on researching potential funders and working on reports for donors as well as updating social media accounts. She looks forward to meeting the students when they are back at school in May, and is excited to see what she can do to further the work of DEPDC as well as what she can learn from working here.


My university course gives the incredible opportunity to spend 5 months working with a non-profit organization in an area of interest to us, to put in practice the skills that we have been taught over the past three years, and encourages us to spend this time abroad in a part of the world that interests us.

Growing up with a mother who has a very strong sense of awareness of human rights issues and violations, human trafficking and modern day slavery is an issue that I have been aware of and has interested me for quite a long time. I decided that Thailand would be an interesting place for me to start because it was a part of the world where I had no experience and very little knowledge of, before coming across the work of DEPDC.

I have always enjoyed working with children, when I was in school I taught music to small groups of young children and always enjoyed it. When I read about the DEPDC, I really liked the mission and the approach that the organization takes, and I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to learn more about Northern Thailand and surrounding areas and to learn more about the problems surrounding human trafficking and modern day slavery, while beginning working with an organization that has lots of experience in tackling such huge problems.

Since arriving, I have experienced only kindness from the incredibly welcoming and helpful staff here at the center in Mae Sai, and have seen how incredibly hardworking and dedicated, not only my new coworkers are, but everybody who I have encountered here since I arrived.


I’m really enjoying learning more about the organization and the work that has been done and continues to be done as well as the culture of Northern Thailand, and I am looking forward to the students coming back to school, and spending time working with, and getting to know them.

If you would like to find out more about volunteering with the Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities Centre in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (DEPDC / GMS), please see the information within the main VOLUNTEER tab and on the drop-down Opportunity tabs.

Meet an International Volunteer: Jörn!

The International Department would like to introduce Jörn, who joined the department in August.  Jörn received a Magister Artium (Master’s Degree) in ‘Languages and Cultures of mainland Southeast Asia: Thai studies program’ from Hamburg University in Germany.  He wrote his thesis on the subject of “Minority politics in Thailand and Laos: A comparative study on the example of the ‘Hill tribes’”.  He has working experience in Thailand from Chiang Mai University and Friedrich-Ebert-Stifung in Bangkok.  Since Jörn arrived, he has mainly been working on translations, blog writing, report writing, teaching English to the staff and Thai to the volunteers.

“During my last two years at university, I focused mainly on the subject of minority politics in Thailand and Laos.  My field of research was the so-called ‘hill tribes’ of Northern Thailand and Laos. I focused on the fields of nationality, resettlement, education, and political participation.  During this research, the hardships these people face in everyday life became obvious and the lack of opportunity to improve themselves in the future was evident.”


Jörn utilizes strong English and Thai language skills to support the organization.

“When I first read about the DEPDC/GMS and its work on the internet, it reminded me of many things I learned during my thesis and the lack of support for the disadvantaged minority groups.  So I decided to apply with DEPDC/GMS to become a volunteer at their Mae Sai project site.”

“I hope that being a volunteer at DEPDC/GMS will give me an even deeper understanding of the real daily problems that minorities in Thailand face every day, and that my experience in Thailand and the knowledge I gained during my studies will enable me to give valuable support to the work of DEPDC/GMS.”

Jorn playing football_Cropped for Self-intro post

Jörn playing football with Half Day School students.

If you would like to find out more about volunteering with the Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities Centre in the Greater Mekong Sub-region (DEPDC / GMS), please see the information within the main VOLUNTEER tab and on the drop-down Opportunity tabs.


Meet an International Volunteer: Adrien!

The International Department would like to introduce Adrien, who joined us in the beginning of May. Adrien is a social worker from France, with degrees in Psychology and International Relations. He comes to us with extensive working experience dealing with substance abuse, migration, asylum and child protection issues. He is interested in learning more about the Greater Mekong Sub-region and the issue of trafficking in the region. In his short time here, Adrien has already begun working on fundraising, networking, and research. He also hopes to contribute to English teaching duties.

“When I was working with asylum seekers in Europe, I had a very simple vision of the reasons and ways that people were trafficked. My perspective was based on the typical European perspective on migration procedures and realities. The reality of trafficking in Thailand is quite different from this view. Many individuals  from neighboring countries and from hill tribes are stateless. This can limit access to education and health care. These limitations apply to the vast majority of the children that are helped by DEPDC/GMS. I appreciate that the organization works with partners in the other countries in the Great Mekong Sub-region and considers human trafficking to be a global issue, not only a problem of Thai society.

Adrien_Photo for Self-Intro Blog Post_May 2014

“I loved my job in Europe, but I was drawn to the prospect of  living and working in Asia. I chose to pursue living in Thailand because I saw a volunteer listing on I was intrigued by the mission and vision of DEPDC/GMS. I enjoy working here because it gives me the opportunity to work very autonomously, on the topics and skills that fit my interests. I also have discovered new models of working styles, from both my colleagues in the International Department as well as Thai staff members. I have enjoyed the differences from the European style of work.

“I enjoy living in Mae Sai, which is a town with a checkpoint at the Myanmar (Burma) border. As I am very interested in migration and border issues, I can learn a lot here in my everyday life, and be in a very multicultural environment. Although studying Thai language and learning about the culture and politics is challenging, I am  really enjoying it.

“After being here for only a month, I am amazed by how much I have already learned. I believe that working at DEPDC/GMS will be a great professional, cultural, and personal experience that will impact my future.”

Meet an International Volunteer: Genevieve!

The International Department would like to introduce Genevieve, who joined our organization in February. Genevieve is an international affairs and political science student from the United States and has an interest in applying her non-profit and teaching experiences to help develop DEPDC/GMS in a way which supports our mission statement and vision. Genevieve brings with her the enthusiasm for youth development and human rights and wishes to contribute to several aspects of the organization such as grant writing, teaching English, fundraising, among others. Over the last four weeks, Genevieve has started an after school yoga program, worked on fundraising, and has contributed to social media. She is elated to have the opportunity to support the DEPDC/GMS mission.


“My academic career has been characterized by a fascination with human rights and social justice issues. Throughout my studies I have explored issues of human trafficking and exploitation as well as methods of prevention. As a student of Northeastern University I have had the privilege to develop skills in education, research, and writing through my classes as well as the University’s cooperative education program. Through the coop program, I had previously worked in an education and outreach position at a small San Francisco based public health NGO as well as a public school in Massachusetts. Through these experiences, I have become increasingly engaged in issues stemming from income disparities and global inequities. For my final coop, I was given the option to apply to volunteer at DEPDC/GMS and was immediately intrigued.

“As soon as I began researching DEPDC/GMS, I knew that it was a good fit for my interests and experience. After years of engaging in “arm-chair” speculation, I was excited by the prospect of volunteering at an organization that has played a significant role in preventing sex-trafficking and other forms of exploitative labor. The staff and directors at DEPDC/GMS are clearly very passionate and very knowledgeable about these issues. I agree strongly with the emphasis that DEPDC/GMS places on prevention and education. Throughout my own work, volunteer, and personal experiences, I have seen first hand the transformative power of education.

“I am very excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the mission of DEPDC/GMS and learn from the collective knowledge of the organization. I love working with the students and I am truly enjoying my experience here thus far. I feel that working in the field to support such an effective organization is truly a life-altering experience.”

The December 2013 Newsletter Is Here!

Inside this issue we talk about:newsletter

  • The recent World’s Children’s Prize event
  • The Mekong Regional Indigenous Child Rights Home and its projects;
  • Updates about recent activities at the Half Day School;
  • An interview with Khruu Somboon, a Teacher at the Half Day School;
  • DEPDC’s vision and the direction of its future projects;
  • .…and much more!

Download the newsletter here: December 2013

To read previous issues of our newsletter, please click on Newsletters in the menu bar at the top of this page.  We hope you will enjoy reading about DEPDC/GMS!  Please continue to spread the word about our mission and pass on the latest newsletter to your friends, colleagues, and family.

Meet an International Volunteer: Aaron!

The International Department would like to introduce Aaron, who joined our organization in November and has shown a keen interest in applying his experiences to help develop DEPDC/GMS in a way which supports our mission statement and vision. Aaron brings with him the enthusiasm to work in several aspects of the organization such as grant writing, research and updating social media, among others. Over the last four weeks, Aaron has taken over the ‘Child Voice Radio’ show; an essential platform for disseminating information about human rights, health and the rest of the work undertaken here at DEPDC/GMS. He is also currently investigating how to generate podcasts of the show in order to reach a wider, global audience.

Aaron deejays the daily morning radio show "English Fun"

Aaron deejays the daily English radio show for our Child Voice Radio program

“My interest in human trafficking started during my role as a special constable in the Thames Valley Police force. I was always surrounded by vulnerable individuals but knew that I wouldn’t be able to identify a trafficked person if I had encountered one. So I took a few of the e-learning courses provided by the department and became familiar with the process in which the trade is conducted, those who are perpetrating the criminal act, the identification of potential victims and methods of prevention.

“I continued researching the topic in my spare time to include how criminal organizations were exploiting every possible avenue to traffic individuals. More surprisingly, to me at least, was how much of a growing health issue human trafficking has become. Having spent the last four years both studying and practicing Applied Biomedical Science; I thought that a hospital laboratory was about as far removed from the world of human trafficking as possible. I was wrong. Health care professionals are on the front line in the identification of potential victims and far too many trafficked individuals fall through the cracks in clinics worldwide.

“Apart from the identification of potential victims; health care professionals need to regard the trafficking of humans as a global health issue in respect to disease epidemiology. Communicable diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Hepatitis, to name a few, are endemic among trafficked persons, especially those involved in sex trafficking.  Individuals who go unmonitored and untreated not only aid in the proliferation of these diseases but, a potential co-infection, for example with two different strains of HIV, provides a situation in which the virus can mutate. These issues therefore directly increase the health risk to the general public, but don’t even begin to cover the social impact of non-communicable disease, psychological distress or the escalation of organ harvesting.

“With so many aspects of my life being involved with potential cases of human trafficking, I figured it was time to have more direct involvement and was determined to volunteer with DEPDC/GMS. How better to tackle any problem than by working on the ground with those at risk, helping to prevent young individuals from becoming lost in the cycle, and even the possibility to help expand the work already undertaken here in Mae Sai and the other locations in which DEPDC/GMS operates.”

Meet an International Volunteer: Eléa!

One of our new volunteers is Eléa, who joined DEPDC at the beginning of November.  She is from France and is a recent graduate in International Relations with a Master degree in International Peace and Security.  She loves kids and has a deep commitment to making sure that children everywhere get the chance to live freely and to be happy and healthy.  She came to Thailand earlier in her life and developed a fondness for Thai culture and Thailand itself which, in addition to her passion for children’s rights, is what has brought her into the DEPDC/GMS family.

Eléa teaches the kindergarten classes at the Mae Sai centre and is redesigning the English classroom into both a nice study environment and a handy teaching tool with the help of other volunteers.  She also teaches at the Community Learning Centre, co-manages social media, occasionally helps Aaron with the radio show, and works to obtain the funding that DEPDC/GMS needs for its projects.

My love for children brought me here.  I strongly believe that education is the key to prevent and fight the most deeply-rooted issues of human trafficking.  I first learned about human trafficking through my degree and I had wanted to get involved in a meaningful project for a long time. When I did research and came across the work of DEPDC, I seized the opportunity to help the organisation to achieve its goals after I was offered a position.

Taking action early in the lives of children is the best time to tackle the cycle of human trafficking and prevent it from beginning.  The work we undertake here is to make sure our children have a safe environment to learn and grow confidently and happily, and also to raise awareness about the dangers they may face.  The scope and magnitude of the human trafficking problem in Northern Thailand is very saddening and negatively impacts human lives on so many levels.  At the centre, the kids are protected from traffickers looking for children in the surrounding villages and learn about their own protection.

Elea and two of her Half Day School students

Eléa and two of her Half Day School students

I strongly believe that investing human capital in children is one of the best and most valuable long-term investments we can make.  It yields positive benefits to economies and communities.  Investing all necessary resources to help children develop to their full potential will empower future generations and impact our common future, as the world of tomorrow will inherit the children of today.  I believe in every child’s capacity and I strive for a world where education is accessible by all; where children are protected and given the tools to learn and think by themselves.

I am so grateful for the opportunity and really happy to be part of this wonderful experience. I enjoy teaching the classes and doing all sorts of activities with the students. Restoring the classroom wall is a big project but all the children will be involved and I’m sure it will be a lot of fun!


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