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.

Meet an International Volunteer: Kamile

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.

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“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.”

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“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!”

A Look into the Swimming Home by our two new volunteers

Hello, we are students from Ireland. Currently we are on our university work placement with DEPDC. The next five months will be spent working at the organisation’s “Swimming Home” shelter in Mae Chan. This shelter provides accommodation to a number of at risk children, as well as swimming and English lessons. They also provide the necessities to attend the local school.

The centre also offers these swimming lesson to local children. Affordable English lessons, taught by volunteers are available to the public. We are currently working on flyers and posters to advertise the English courses and will start teaching in just over a week’s time.

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At present, it is the summer holidays, so most of our duties involve fundraising and preparing the public English lessons, however our responsibilities will alter once the children return in a few week’s time.

There are only two boys staying at the swimming home right now as unlike the other children who live in the centre during the school year, they have no family to take care of them during their holidays. We spent a few days playing with them and getting to know them better. Having done so, it is safe to say that they are kids just like any other and crave the same things – attention and affection.

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A few days ago, we visited the Ban Klang Na shelter, which provides women and families at risk accommodation and teaches them sustainable living by providing them with agricultural inputs such as land and seeds so they can grow crops. The living conditions there are very basic but they have everything they need; a safe place to live and food. It is located in quite an isolated area in order to protect the women, as many of them come from a human trafficking background.

Overall, the last week, even though quiet, was very helpful in helping us gain a better understanding of the human trafficking issues prevalent in the Northern part of the country, how it affects people and how DEPDC assists these individuals in accessing the tools for a better future.

Meet an International Volunteer: Francesca

The International Department would like to introduce Francesca. She joined our organization this past month. Francesca is from Massachusetts, USA and is a recent graduate in International Studies and Business from Muhlenberg College. She has taken the year off from beginning her career search in order to explore the world and herself. Francesca has had previous experiences volunteering in South East Asia with children and is looking forward to the new opportunities DEPDC/GMS will bring her. During her first few weeks in Mae Sai, Francesca has worked on writing grant proposals, managing social media accounts, and started teaching dance classes. She is eager to have the new term begin and to see how she can further help DEPDC/GMS to grow, and how the DEPDC/GMS can help her grow.

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“My college career had been focused through lenses on human issues. Though my studies began as a pre-medical student, that evolved into overall human issues and looking for ways to help those who did not necessarily have the abilities to help themselves due to their given circumstances. Throughout my studies I have explored issues of black-market economics, the issues of trafficking, as well as women and children’s rights, and the international laws that are being made to prevent these situations. When I was in my junior year I had the opportunity to live abroad and decided at that point that I would live abroad at some point after graduation. Once I saw the opportunity DEPDC/GMS offered I knew this was where I wanted to be.

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“As soon as I found and began looking into DEPDC/GMS, I knew that it was a good fit for my interests. I was excited by the idea of volunteering at an organization that has played a hands-on role in preventing sex trafficking and other forms of exploitative labor, and would allow me to do the same. I also have seen the benefits of prevention through education and was intrigued by the possibility that I could be one of those people to truly make a difference in someone’s life.
I am very eager to have the opportunity to contribute to DEPDC/GMS and learn from the organization and staff here. I love working with the few students who are here during the term break and cannot wait until school is back in session. I am excited to continue to get to know my coworkers, the village and Mae Sai, and work towards achieving as much as possible for DEPDC/GMS over the next coming months!”

Meet an International Intern: Loung!

I am Mr. Aik Loung Hseng, originally from Keng Tung, Eastern Shan State, Union of Myanmar. I am studying at Rangsit University’s, department of the “Institute of Diplomacy and International Studies (IDIS)”, majoring in “International Relations and Development (IRD)”. I have been doing my internship here at DEPDC/GMS for over one month. I will be here until the end of April to complete my three month internship for my Bachelor Degree.

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I travel across the Thai-Burma border at Mae Sai-Tachileik very often but I didn’t know that there is such a good organization like DEPDC working on preventing human trafficking and providing education for migrant children and children who have family problems, their parents separated, and some don’t have enough money to send them to school. Until one day when I was at university and started research on the internet for an organization in Mae Sai that accepts volunteers.  I found the DEPDC Blog, and I became really interested to volunteering here. I was especially interested in the program that teaches children at the Half Day School in the morning and working in the office in the afternoon. So I applied and I was lucky to get a chance to do my internship here.

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I really like working here at DEPDC/GMS because I have met such nice, kind, lovely and friendly staff, teachers, and students. And I am so happy to see children have a chance to study, even though they are migrant children and some of them don’t have an ID Card. Normally, these kinds of children face difficulties in having opportunities to study because many schools will not easily accept them. It’s a good opportunity for children to have a center or school like DEPDC. It’s a place that can change the children’s future for the better. Some people have asked me, “If you want to help your people why do you go to do it in Thailand, why not in Myanmar?”. I told them that the organization where I work now, even though it’s located in Thailand,  most of the students have heritage from the Shan State who migrate to Thailand and some of them come directly from the Myanmar side to the school every day. So working here can not only help Myanmar migrant children but also can help Thai children too.

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My job as an intern here is to help the director of administration, help with the agriculture project in the evening, repair the building in my free time, sometimes help the international department teach English at the Half Day School, write reports to donors, attend meetings, and help the Half Day School if there is work.  I have learnt a lot and gained many new experiences from doing my internship at DEPDC/GMS.

 

Meet an International Volunteer: Katie!

The International Department would like to introduce Katie, who joined us the beginning of December 2015. Katie is a Sociology and Anthropology major from the University of Oregon. She spent years working with NGO’s in her home state specializing in the areas of drug and alcohol dependency and mental health. She lived and taught English in South Korea for four years and now owns a Yoga studio in Oregon, USA that she opened 18 months ago.  She is excited to support the mission of DEPDC through her non-profit, ESL teaching, and yoga teaching experiences. During her first months in Mae Sai, Katie has been busy starting an after school yoga program for the HDS students, teaching morning English classes, co-writing reports to donors, and managing the social media accounts.

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“University was my first exposure to the social issue of human trafficking. Some years ago I set out on an extensive backpacking trip through SE Asia where I became even more aware of the large scale atrocities committed by this injustice. It was then that I began research into organizations that work on behalf of victims and at-risk persons. DEPDC/GMS was first on that search list. After reading through their website and gaining further information on their methods of prevention I knew this was the perfect place to volunteer.”

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“My background has provided me with many resources that I hope to offer during my time here at DEPDC. I am honored for the opportunity to be a part of the DEPDC team. The work they do, the possibilities they provide and the mission they are committed to continues to inspire me. I have only been here a short while but already I can see that the staff and students will be teaching me much more than I could ever hope to teach 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: Linn!

The International Department would like to introduce Linn, who joined us in the beginning of August. Linn has been teaching in Norway for seven years after completing six years of Teacher Education in Oslo and Trondheim, Norway. In addition, she spent one of her years studying in Southern Thailand. She will be working at the center in Mae Chan, mainly at the Swimming Home. Since arriving at the Swimming Home in Mae Chan, Linn has been working on researching potential funders, networking, reading up on DEPDC’s work and updating social media accounts for the Swimming home and teaching English to the children at the shelter. She looks forward to get to know the children better and to learn more about the Greater Mekong Sub-region and the issue of trafficking in the region.

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“During my time as a teacher in Norway, I have been blessed with leaders that encouraged me to evolve all the time. I love being a teacher, but what I love the most about it, is the social aspect. I love being there for the children, to see them grow both at school and personally. However, during my last year as a teacher in Norway, I realized that I needed bigger and different challenges”.

“While living in Thailand recently, I became more aware of the different aspects of human trafficking in the country. During this period, I read up on the subject, and I realized quickly that I truly wanted to contribute and work for an anti-human trafficking organization. Since I already know a lot about the Thai culture and have a connection to the country through friends and interests, I started checking out NGOs in Thailand. I came across DEPDC/GMS and read everything I could find online about the organization. Knowing that it was a well established NGO working to prevent human trafficking and to protect victims of human trafficking, I decided to apply as a volunteer”.

“Through working for DEPDC/GMS, I hope to gain more knowledge and understanding of the work that is done to prevent human trafficking and to protect victims of human trafficking. I hope that I can contribute to the organization through my teaching skills, administrative skills, interpersonal skills and intercultural skills”.

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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.

Visit from GlobalGiving #GivingSummer

This week we have had two lovely visitors all the way from the UK with us here in Mae Sai as well as at the Swimming Home in Mae Chan! Tapiwa and Alice, volunteers from GlobalGiving UK came to meet with our directors and volunteers, have a look at how we run our organization and give us a few pointers on how we could utilize our time and resources to the fullest, as well as working with us to help expand our supporters and donors through global giving.

Global Giving volunteers, Alice and Tapiwa, giving their presentation to DEPDC

Global Giving volunteers, Alice and Tapiwa, giving their presentation to DEPDC

The girls came as part of Global Giving’s ‘giving summer’, a programme where trained volunteers travel to organizations supported by global giving, do a short evaluation and provide information and tools to expand support and donations from the UK.

If you would like to learn more about our projects or to donate and support our efforts here at DEPDC, please click here to donate to our Community Learning Centre, here to donate to our Half Day School in Mae Sai, here to donate to our Swimming Home and Shelter in Mae Chan or here to donate to our lunch programme at Half Day School.

We greatly appreciate all donations to DEPDC, large or small, everything makes a difference.

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

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