Volunteer in Thailand with Friends for Asia

Care-giving at a Home for Single Mothers – Volunteer Stories

Volunteer Stories – Caregiving at a Home for Single Mothers in Crisis

Annika Rijke – Breda, The Netherlands – Single Mother’s Home, November, 2010

“My time at the Single Mother’s Home began with just playing with the kids and getting to know their schedule. It’s now typed out and hangs inside the daycare, you can read it at first but it just has to get into your system. I loved being there and really wanted to do more then only playing with the younger children (older ones get Thai and English lessons in the morning), so I started with watching some English lessons (with the woman). After a while I took over one hour of teaching (first only one woman, in my last weeks another woman also joined) because another volunteer was leaving. I also joined the lesson of another volunteer (with two woman) a lot of times to get ideas and to help out. Some days I didn’t join but went for a one hour nap with the kids instead… After a little while I also started assisting the English lesson with the older kids in the morning. Also I spent some individual time of teaching (writing, reading, picture practice etc..) with a new girl because she had to catch up with the rest before she could join. My day was most of the times pretty tiring but totally worthwhile, I loved doing it. In lunchtime was my time to sit down for a moment and talk with the staff and the woman! It was nice to work with the staff of the Single Mother’s Home and other volunteers as well.”

“This project really helps the woman out that come there. I see how woman who come from violent situations learn to correct their child in another way then hitting them, how woman are being taught the Thai and English language, how kids are happy and developing as kids should. I really believe the Single Mother’s Home gives woman the opportunity to create a better life for themselves and their (unborn) child in the future. I would love going back to the Single Mother’s Home one day, it is an experience I’ll treasure forever!”

Susanne Wiss – Houten , The Netherlands – Single Mother’s Home, March 2010

I had a great stay at Chiang Mai! Living in the Friends for Asia House was nice and comfortable. It was fine that there were some others volunteers living at the house at the same time. We shared a lot of experiences. Also having Run and Aom around maked my stay comfortable. I felt as ‘home’ for me! Volunteering at the Wildflowerhome is a fantastic experience. It’s a very good project. I felt very needed there and everbody was happy to have you there. I also learned a lot at the Wildflowerhome. To see the motivation of the women and men was great. I will never forget that. It surprised me that you get so much connection in 4 weeks with the people, to feel that connection was important for me. I hope I can come back at the Wildflowerhome in the future!

Maaike Schulte – Hengelo ,The Netherlands – Single Mother’s Home, March 2010

The volunteer work experience at wildflower was amazing. The best job you can ever have! It’s so thankfull and what a learned from the women is there strength, the come from a long way but the really want to make something of there lives.

Robin van Dorn – Rijswijk, Netherlands – Single Mother’s Home October, 2009

“Friends for Asia is a well organized. They make you feel at home from the moment you arrive. Fai and Run, the two staff members, will guide you from the moment you arrive. They are the world. If you have a question or something they will always do their best to help you in any way. FFA also supports you if they can in any activity you want to organize at your project. FFA gives you background support for you volunteer work.

The house for single mothers, is a project where you can make a different just by putting a smile on a persons face.”

Marianne Kreling, Oegstgeest, Netherlands – Single Mother’s Home October, 2009

“Friends For Asia is well organized from the moment you arrive. They will pick you up on the airport/railway station. The orientation weekend was great! It was very useful to learn some Thai words and sentences. Besides, they gave us useful information about Thai culture, security and about trips you could do in the weekends. They also showed us Chiang Mai and could tell a lot about it. We saw some beautiful temples. A good start of your volunteer period. Also during the volunteer period everything is well organized. They will bring you to your project on the first day. In the FFA house is always someone to talk with or to ask your questions to. The house is nice and clean and is situated in a street with an internet café and some good places to eat. The project I worked in was a home for single mothers. I took care for the children. It was a wonderful and impressing experience! I would recommend everyone to do this or some other volunteer work. It enriches your life!”

Shannon Ng, Hawaii, USA – Care giving at the Single Mother’s Home September, 2009

“My 4 weeks in Thailand went by so fast. In fact it went by too fast. Care giving at the Single Mother’s Home was the best volunteer experience that I’ve had. Hearing the laughs and seeing the smiles of the mothers and children was the most rewarding part of the whole experience. The Friends for Asia house gave most of the comforts of home, mostly in thanks to the people (Fai, Run, Todd, and my fellow volunteers). The similarities between Thailand and Hawaii were, at times, uncanny; it literally became my home away from home. I definitely want to come back one day, and I’m very appreciative towards Friends for Asia for helping during my first visit to Thailand.”

Janneke Ruygt & Eveline Schruer, Woerden and Breda, Netherlands – Caregiving at Single Mother’s Home August, 2009

“We volunteered for four weeks in the single mother’s home. We took care of the children with the age of 2 till 5 years old. Sometimes it was difficult because we don’t speak Thai. The Single Mother’s Home is situated in a beautiful nature. That gives you the feeling that you are in a totally different world. They really take good care of the mothers and children over there. They give them the opportunity to start a whole new life. We never did this before so it was a wonderful experience for us. And we learned a lot about their culture.”

Kelsey Gagnon, Maine, USA – Gardening at Single Mother’s Home July, 2009

“My father once told me a quote he had heard, and of course I can’t remember it in its actuality when it counts. To paraphrase, it said something to the effect of, “when leading people, it is better to push from behind, than to pull from in front.” In that, you can inspire people to breach their own intellectual and physical boundaries. At the Single Mother’s Home that was my goal, to offer up any of the few useful skills I have to the women so that they may use them for their own betterment. And in attempting to do that, the people there became my teachers, and caused me to break through my own theories of how life should be lived, and how to define success at the end of the day. They don’t need leaders. They are strong, hopeful, determined, and some of them carry more burdens around with them than I was even able to fully understand in the seven weeks I worked there. That was the greater undercurrent of my time spent at the Single Mother’s Home, while on the surface I worked along side the women digging, lugging, hoeing, weeding, and planting; that part was no less satisfactory. The experience is completely what you make of it. You neither be just the student nor teacher. But if you put yourself in different situations where you can be both learning and teaching, you will certainly leave with more than you came with.”

Katia Grant, New York, USA – Caregiving at Single Mother’s Home July, 2009

“I had a great time volunteering at the Single Mother’s Home. The children were always so happy and excited to do basically anything with the volunteers. Walking into the daycare and having a bunch of children run up to you because they are so excited to see you is definitely a great feeling! The staff at the single mother’s home is really friendly and will be happy to answer any questions you have (especially Olga, the director of volunteers at Single Mother’s Home). Friends for Asia was very organized and I found the orientation to be very helpful. The house is pretty big and it’s very convenient for hanging out with other volunteers and making new friends. You get breakfast every morning and the bedrooms are air-conditioned. Fai and Niti were very helpful and they were more than willing to help me with anything I needed on my stay. I met a lot of new people and enjoyed hanging out with them and getting to know them. Chiang Mai is a great city with lots of different things to do and see!”

Jojanneke de Vries, Utrecht, Netherlands – Elephant Park and Caregiving at Single Mother’s Home May, 2009

“This trip has been amazing. The country is lovely, the people are great and very nice. The food is great and very cheap. The other volunteers have been very easy to talk to and are all very friendly. Like I read someone else mention, the FFA house has really been a home away from home. Fai is lovely, very nice and always ready and willing to help you with anything you may need help with. (do I hear a raise Todd? ;) ) The volunteering has made my trip something special. I hope to come back here sometime in the future!”

Alex Jacobson, California, USA – Teaching Monks and Caregiving at Single Mother’s Home March, 2009

“The Land of Smiles” is the perfect phrase coined for Thailand. Love radiates from this country through the smiles and warm greetings from the local people. Whether it was during my trip in Pai, the Friends for Asia home, or at either of my volunteer projects, I feel that I made many unexpected friendships! For instance, during the Single Mother’s Home project I had to take a white songthaew (local bus) to the location every day. I ended up getting to know the regulars that rode the same route as me, as well as the drivers. Eventually I no longer had to buzz when I needed to get off, and a Thai lady with a food stand at my stop was always waiting with some fried bananas to give me! The way Thai people live is “from the heart,” and it has inspired me to return to my home country with this sense of being.”

Volunteer Stories – Caregiving at a Home for Single Mothers in Crisis – 2008

Judy Nordeen, California, USA – Caregiving at Single Mother’s Home December, 2008

“While in the process of considering joining Friends for Asia to volunteer, I had many questions and second thoughts about my decision to volunteer. I emailed many questions to Todd – he answered all of them within the next day – I found this very encouraging and comforting. Todd and Bird were invaluable resources throughout my stay in Chiang Mai. Getting around and learning how to get what I needed would have been very difficult without Friends for Asia.
I found his experience to be a major impetus for my personal growth – in more ways than I imagined. I was humbled by the welcome I received from women and children of the Wildflower Home who had been through more during their short lives than I could ever imagine experiencing in my own. The women are a bit shy at first and the children are playful but needy. In spite of this, they were the ones that made me feel comfortable and showed appreciation for any little thing that I did. The other Friends for Asia volunteers that I met were competent, confident and caring individuals who did not come to change the world but came with a genuine enthusiasm for giving of themselves and respecting cultural differences. My world is a smaller place now – my experience volunteering with Friends for Asia has brought the world to me.”

Karol Epstein, Vancouver, Canada – Caregiving at Single Mother’s Home , November, 2008

“I think that this is a great place for volunteering as there is such a need for help in so many ways, If one likes children, there is a great deal one can do for and with them. Bringing some ideas would be a great help for the volunteer. The day goes by very quickly as there is always some one or something in need. Hearing the laughter of the little ones is very soothing. One can always disappear in the nursery to cuddle a baby and get a smile from them. If outdoor gardening is your preference one can always pick up a tool and pitch in helping. This is a very rewarding place to spend some time!!!! As an addition to this testimony I would like to commend Todd and Friends for Asia for an incredible job. From beginning to end we felt we were being looked after in a very professional manner, and felt comfortable coming to volunteer with this organization. We were taken care of from the moment we landed and Bird, who is always there to assist us, met us at the airport! Whatever we needed, someone was there to help. The home is very adequate with all the amenities one might need. We felt fulfilled with the work and knew we would take this experience with us for many years to come. Congratulations Todd and Bird for a job well done and may you continue to help those in need in this beautiful country for many years to come!!!!”

Sophie Adler-McKean, Caregiving at the Single Mother’s Home -April, 2008

“I absolutely fell in love with the kids, and the mothers were all lovely as well. I had been expecting a level of apprehension from them, as we were just coming in as complete strangers to look after their kids, but I didn’t experience any at all. I think that this has something to do with the real sense of community there- the kids are looked after by all the mothers-they take turns watching the babies, feeding them etc, which I felt was a really good way to instill trust and respect. I also loved being out in the countryside- it is so beautiful there. I also think that living in the house was a good thing, as it gave me time o chill out and think about each day- I feel that if I had been staying at the home, I probably would have ended up spending a lot more time watching over the kids which may have left me feeling frustrated.”

Salina Parlberg, Caregiving at the Single Mother’s Home, April, 2008

“Good experience if you love watching children of all ages.”

Volunteer Stories – Caregiving at a Home for Single Mothers in Crisis 2009 & 2010

Volunteer Stories – Caregiving at a HOme for Single Mothers in Crisis 2008