2 Goodwill Ambassadors for Volunt2Thai's children

Bild könnte enthalten: Olivia Gwendolyn Helena Hart und Cheyanne Robinson, Personen, die lachen, Bart

Olivia Gwendolyn Helena Hart and Cheyanne Robinson at Volunt2Thai Campus and cultural Centre, Ban Nong Kung, Udon Thani, Thailand.
21. December at 11:22

Wanted to check in because there is so much to keep up with. This last week has been intense, incredible, and immersive. I almost don’t have words for what my mind, heart, and soul have been a part of - but I will try my best to express. This will be a very detailed account of my first couple of days into my volunteer experience.

Upon arriving in Udon Thani, we picked up enough fresh produce to literally feed a small village (or seven), and we piled into the back of a truck in the hot sun. We drove an hour and a half into the rural countryside. I watched civilized infrastructure disappear the further we went. There were rice fields for as far as the eye can see, with small bouts of housing made from anything they could be resourceful with.

There is one temple that a fifty year old nun is investing in building for them. It was incredible to wander through its unfinished brilliance. This entire area is vast and extremely underdeveloped, a blank canvas to the community upon which they can grow and expand on.

We stayed at the heart of the project. It was a small farm/after school campus. I met the pig that we later had as our meal. That was a tough one for me. I heard his last moment. Tears swelled in my eyes as I replayed the pep talk from the lion king on the circle of life.

The food was constant as well as the work. These people live very busy lives, rising well before the sun. Understandably, given that there really isn’t anything in this world quite like a Thailand sunrise. The entire sky becomes consumed in a deep purple hue, bright pink warming up the horizon. One of the most magical things I’ve ever seen.

The morning of their annual Christmas party, we rose at 2 am. An army of grandmothers lay about barefoot on straw rugs as they prep food. We lend a helping hand without being able to understand any words, only gestures. I unfold hundreds of wrapped treats. The communal bond here is similar to that of them sticking to each other like sweet rice to a banana leaf.

Seven monks came at seven o clock to bless the food. The cultural way they went about this process was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. This is the first year they’ve done this. The monks sat on a lifted podium and the village lined up with food and flowers. The people went one by one, putting a piece to their forehead before placing it in front of the seated monk, moving onto the next.

Once the entire podium was covered in handcrafted Thai food (that took literally days to prepare) we all sat praying for about 20-30 minutes. I was starving, looking at my bowl of soup, then thought of the monks not having ate since before noon the day before. After the prayer was done, the people chanted for a moment as well. One of the monks came around and splashed us with holy water, one by one. A few older ladies began giggling, sending a warmth throughout the room.

Children were gathered round playing. There are a handful of hand-me-down instruments I had to give some love in order to be playable. I shared my music and tried to teach the kids. One of the girls (6 yo.) speaks four languages fluently, a prime example of the international importance in this unique program.

I walk away to smoke by the water buffalo and process. I think about how these children live and nearly start to cry. One of the schools has no running water. Hot showers are unheard of btw. There’s also two months of the year that there is no school, and they don’t have access to much food during that time. They eat frogs or ants or really anything they can catch in the countryside. I think of this huge meal that meant so much to them. How this is their Christmas. How they are all such happy people with close to nothing but one another.

I think of these strangers inviting us into the community. The smiles. The laughs. The bonding. The eternally grateful spirit they share. The food. The way they all sit together to eat it. The work. The positive attitudes. All while children in America are upset they didn’t get the new iPhone, these children got one bag of cookies, and if they were lucky, a t shirt.

I can’t quite put into words the feeling in the air or the way my heart feels right now, but this will stick with me for the rest of my life.

Photo credit to the very talented Cheyanne Robinson


Olivia is from Utah, USA where she studied Fine Arts, now balancing four part time jobs. Multitasking is one of her many strengths. The most rewarding of the four jobs is professional art instructor.. Cheyanne (also from Utah) is a Head Teacher for an international language program in Thailand, she is looking forward to gain a career involving the outdoors, education, youth work, art, and travel.

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merry christmas and happy new year 2020

Thanks to all sponsors, volunteers and friends!

it was a wonderful Christmas party, everybody was happy, not only the children got something, also the old people. Everyone from the village celebrated together and had a good time. There were good vibrations and beautiful memories were created. Thanks to all who helped! Thanks to all who worked day and night, prepared food, had hardly any sleep to make this beautiful celebration possible.  To a joyful present and a well-remembered past.

best wishes for Happy Holidays and a magnificent New Year 2020

Raimund Wagner

President Volunt2Thai

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The Management Strategy of Quality Schools - Thesis of Dr. Weerasak Tanong

Dr. Weerasak Tanong
Date of birth 1 March 1976

Executive Director, Ban Nong Kung District
Work location, Ban Nong Kung District
Amphur District, Udon Thani Province

History of education

  • 1998 Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood Education) Udonthani Rajabhat University
  • 2007 Master of Education (Educational Administration) Mahasarakrm University
  • 2019 Doctor of Philosophy (Educational Administration) Udonthani Rajabhat University

The Ban Nong Kung School Model is a demonstration project at the forefront of the measurable joint success of the collaboration between Volunt2Thai and the local schools. Dr. Weerasak, the initiator of the "Ban Nong Kung School Model", his sign Master of Education, Doctor of Philosophy - Udonthani Rajabhat University has recently completed his Dr. Thesis "The Management Strategy of Quality Schools under the Office of the Basic Education Commission" which we are proud to publish here.

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Isan youths' development stunted as parents go to Bangkok

Bangkok Post

Eight-year-old Thai girl Chayanit (left) sits with her grandmother Chanpen Uthachan at their home in the village of Baan Dua in Ubon Ratchathani province. Chayanit and her five-year-old brother Kittipop have been raised by their grandparents for almost their entire life after their parents left their rural village to find work in Bangkok. (AFP photo)
Eight-year-old Thai girl Chayanit (left) sits with her grandmother Chanpen Uthachan at their home in the village of Baan Dua in Ubon Ratchathani province. Chayanit and her five-year-old brother Kittipop have been raised by their grandparents for almost their entire life after their parents left their rural village to find work in Bangkok. (AFP photo)

With a bit of luck eight-year-old Chayanit will see her mother twice this year.

The little girl has been raised by her grandparents for most of her life after her mother left their rural village to find work in Bangkok.

A tide of internal migration has left 3 million Thai children growing up in similar circumstances and experts fear the phenomenon is incubating a social crisis.

Grinning widely as she plays with a top knot in her hair, Chayanit says she is happy with village life in Thailand's Isan region.

But the smile fades as the conversation turns to her family setup, an arrangement shaped by economic realities in a rice-farming region where work is scare and wages low.

"I like being with my grandparents, but I miss my mum. I can't go to see her and she can only come here every six months," she says.

Five-year-old Kittipop (right) is prepared for school by his grandmother Chanpen Uthachan at their home in the village of Baan Dua. (AFP photo)

Her mother has an office job in Bangkok and sends back monthly remittances of around 3,000-4,000 baht.

Poor but populous Isan has for decades seen its families split by migration. An estimated 30% of the region's under-18s are the children of migrant workers, most of whom leave for several years at a time, returning only for annual holidays.

The exodus "has been normalised" by society, said Ms Aree. But it is laden with risk. Their research indicates that Thai children living without their parents are prone to being poorly nourished, and suffer from developmental and behavioural issues.

Those factors are particularly damaging in Isan, where deprivation has been compounded by an ongoing drought. The region has several of the country's poorest provinces and its schools already turn out some of its worst-performing students.

Baan Dau in Ubon Ratchanthani province is much like any other Isan village: the tallest building is an ornate Buddhist temple, chickens flit between yards while a tiny shop serves a close-knit community cocooned by rice fields.

It is also nearly completely devoid of working-age adults.

Most have gone to where a taxi driver can make several times the monthly wage of a farmer.

"Maybe 80%, 90% of the households have grandparents raising the children," says Chayanit's grandmother Chanpen Uthachan, 70. "There is no work here, so my children have all moved to Bangkok."

Mrs Chanpen and her husband Prajak, also in his 70s, care for the girl and her five-year-old brother Kittipop. While there is no shortage of love, Mrs Chanpen says she has less energy than when she raised her own offspring.

"It's hard especially when they are sick and I have to stay up all night," she laments.

It's not just home life that suffers. Local teachers say rural children without parents struggle to concentrate and as a result score lower in literacy and numeracy than their urban peers.

Bangkok has for generations pulled in poor rural migrants. But the topic of what happens to the children left behind is not widely discussed.

Children aged between eight and 15 were significantly "less happy, less responsible and less confident" than those brought up by their parents. Worse still, infants' language and social skills suffer.

"Children are less exposed to activities that stimulate them such as reading, storytelling or games," Ms Aree, the academic, said, explaining the rural elderly are often poorly educated themselves.

Chayanit does her homework at her grandparents' home in Baan Dua. (AFP photo)

In addition, the absence of breast-feeding and a poor awareness of a children's dietary requirements also means many suffer stunted growth.

The issue amounts to a poverty trap, explains Thomas Davin Unicef's Thailand representative, as migrants doggedly trying to remedy their situation end up undercutting their children's lives.

"The poor become poorer... the cycle of vulnerability repeats itself," Mr Davin adds.

Boosting rural economic growth to encourage parents to stay and overhauling the country's education system are among the long-term solutions, while Unicef is also working with the government to give monthly support payments to poor families with young children.

But policy implementation is rarely simple in Thailand, a country whose recent history is saturated with coups and political unrest. Policies involving Isan are often highly charged.

When they are allowed to vote, Isan's people do so for parties allied to billionaire ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, whom they laud for recognising their challenges and aspirations, but who is hated by the Bangkok-centric elite for his populist appeal.

But it is the distance from his two young sons, not the politics of poverty, that preoccupy Assani Laocharoen, an Isan migrant who works in Bangkok delivering furniture.

Outside a squat, scruffy block of flats for migrant workers he says he can make it home only twice a year.

"I miss my kids so much. I just want to live with them, hug, kiss and hang out with them," he said.

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Office of Secondary Educational Service Area 20 (Udonthani)

Thanks to the support of the Office of Secondary Educational Service Area 20 (Udonthani), represented by Mr. Kriangkrai Petsatien, we are able to offer our volunteers a classroom/teacher training via English camps.

Volunteers can receive free teacher coaching if needed. (1 to 2 times a month). This takes place within the framework of English camps (@Englishstarsteam) at public schools in Thailand. We are very grateful that our volunteers are invited to participate proactively.

Profile Mr. Kriangkrai Petsatien


Master of  Education: Curriculum and Instruction ( English Languages )

Khonkaen University

                   Bachelor of Education:  Primary Education

Contact:   Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  061-159-4651

 (FB :Englishstarsteam)

Experiences:    2018 – Present: Educational Supervisor, English Teaching Training (English Camp) , Special Education (special; students))

                        2010 -2017:     Trainer about Youth Camp

                       Trainer  Teachers about technique teaching in classroom.  


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