Volunteer in Thailand with Friends for Asia

Children’s Home – Advice

Advice from Successful Children’s Home Volunteers

The following are excerpts from past volunteers who successfully completed the Children’s Home Volunteer Project.

Volunteer 1

Things that went really well / Things you recommend future volunteers to do in your project/school/placement:

I definitely recommend organising some sort of weekend activity for the children. The children absolutely loved having us during their free time, when they did not have school. We played some simple outdoor activities using balloons and also did some face painting. We also made some popcorn for the children, which they loved very much, since they’ve never eaten popcorn before in their life. I also recommend sharing some of your culture with the children. We made them pasta which they loved, and also taught them a lot of english games which also helped improve their english. Finally, I definitely recommend having a plan of what you’re going to teach the children during english time. The children very much look forward to english time, and if you’re there unprepared, they will easily get bored and not pay much attention to what you’re teaching them.

Things that didn’t go so well / Things you do not recommend future volunteers to do in your project/school/placement:

There was nothing in particular that we did that did not go well. However, one thing that was a disappointment was the fact that there were times when we did not have anything to do to help the children. Most of them were quite independent and did not really need our help with their chores.

Comments / Other Suggestions:

Chiang Mai is probably my favourite place to be in thailand because there are numerous things to do and you would never get bored. I definitely recommend getting a thai massage at the woman’s prison, since I personally thought it was less painful than all the other thai massages in town. I also recommend going to Doi suthep which is one of the many beautiful temples in Chiang Mai. The view from the top is stunning! The night markets are also amazing because you get beautiful suveniours and food at a cheap price. Make sure you remember to gamble the price because they may rip you off.

Volunteer 2

Things that went really well / Things you recommend future volunteers to do in your project/school/placement:

The children enjoyed basically all activities, as the children were happy that there was someone who paid attention towards them. Therefore you don’t always have to come up with new books, games, but try to surprise them with simple things such as balloons. Join them and let them teach you their different games or how their way of doing certain things. The children at the Children’s Home loved creative activities such as drawing or modelling clay. Try to come up with activities, they are not able to do everyday such as going on a walk or visiting the zoo.

Things that didn’t go so well / Things you do not recommend future volunteers to do in your project/school/placement:

Being around the orphans is a wonderful experience, as they are all lovely, warm-hearted children. Nevertheless, do always keep in mind that you are fully responsible for them while being around. This refers especially to times when you take them out of the orphanage site.

Carine Vera – Lyon, France – Children’s Home, January, 2013

I choose the Children’s home project, because I wanted to give my time and attention to children and enjoy a cultural experience. I really love children and I believe they are our future.

Throughout my two weeks on the project, I learnt patience and observed the way children naturally are drawn to you, to play and receive affection. It was such a cultural experience, I learnt a lot from the house mother Yupee. I enjoyed watching and learning how she cooked and took care of the children. I enjoyed seeing how respectful and responsible the kids were throughout meal times. I loved playing with the children and teaching them new games, such as hopscotch.

It was great working alongside volunteers and discussing with volunteers of the children’s home and other projects, how their day was and the experiences they had, had. Listening and sharing stories was inspiring and I made great friendships.

The Friends For Asia staff were so helpful and always there to help and care for us. Thank you very much! You made my experience a smooth and enjoyable one.

In conclusion I discovered a new passion or vocation for my future. I hope to continue to volunteer and possibly work for a volunteer organization. I really loved Thailand, I enjoyed discovering the landscape, people and food. I hope to come back many times.

Judith Vrolijk – Amsterdam, the Netherlands – Children’s Home, January, 2013

Girl at Children's Home

I really loved my time at the Children’s Home! The children are much more affectionate, I believe, than children from Europe. They hug you every day! The girls love to do your hair, and make you ‘beautiful’ with their baby powder. I also helped the children with their English homework and did lots of games and badminton! They love to make pictures or play games with your cell phone, and if you give your camera to the older kids, you’ll get it back a couple of hours later with hundreds of pictures and videos they made! It will be sad to leave the project on Saturday, after spending 6 weeks there. It’s weird to leave, not knowing what they will become in the future. That said, I would love to come back in a couple of years from now and see how they have grown up!

Kelly Kyung Woo Wams – Utrecht, the Netherlands – Children’s Home – December, 2012

In my three weeks at the Children’s Home I really had a magnificent time! When you enter the premises the children are very friendly and open-hearted. Just return their wais, smiles and hugs and both you and the children will have a great time. During my stay (20 November – 8 December 2012) I have also assembled cabinets, manufactured benches for the dining room (house 3) and installed mirrors in the sleeping rooms (house 3 & 4). Furthermore, I will install clocks in all the sleeping rooms (house 3 & 4) and replace the socks which are worned out (house 3). If you also think you can make any kind of contribution, be pro-active and share your ideas with your fellow volunteers and the Friends for Asia staff and make it happen!

Jacqueline McHugh – Glasgow, Scotland, UK – Children’s Home, October, 2012

I found that my Children’s Home project challenged me (in an emotional sense) but it was also hugely gratifying. I learned a lot about the children and about myself, for example, I learned that despite coming from a very different background from the children, I could teach them about my culture, and through that connection we shared fun and laughter every day. I felt a genuine friendship with them (as a group and on an individual basis) for the time that I was volunteering. My time at the Children’s Home gave me a unique experience whereby I could show love, friendship and companionship. In this way, my role in Thailand was markedly different than my previous work experience with children from the USA and UK.

Katy Berninger – NY, New York, USA – Children’s Home, June, 2012

group 97

I spent eight weeks in Chiang Mai, Thailand volunteering with the Children’s Home. My experience was unique because I happened to be there during the children’s holiday from school, therefore our days were less structured and involved a lot more time to have free play and just have fun with the kids.

I was immediately amazed at how happy and full of life the children are. They are genuinely excited to have the volunteers come and spend time with them. We participated in a range of activities with them from just running around and being silly, to arts and crafts, and cooking.

The staff at Friends for Asia were very helpful in being liaisons between the orphanage and other volunteers. If we had questions or concerns I always felt that I could talk to one of the staff members to find a solution.

Overall, I had an amazing experience as a volunteer abroad. Immersing yourself in a different culture and witnessing the way other people live is incredibly eye-opening. Recognizing that there are ways to do things, other than your own, allows for you to learn how to adapt and embrace experience outside of your comfort zone. Before you know it the things that were so different to you in the beginning become things you love. And when that’s the case the possibilities become endless. Volunteer abroad. Do it! You won’t regret it.

Sonja Greiner – Walldorf, Germany – Children’s Home Volunteer Project, October, 2010

“The volunteer work experience in the Orphanage was amazing. You have to learn so much, not only about the children also about yourself. The people in the orphanage are so friendly and thankful so it is much more easier to work there. At the first time I thought that 3 weeks is a long time- but it goes unbelievable fast… I’m happy to have this kind of new experience and when you really in love with children you should do the same great experience that I had I also want to thanks my Organization. I’m very happy because anyone is always reachable. In addition to that I want to say that Run and Aom ensure a very comfortable feeling in the house”