Family volunteering in Northeast Thailand

Give your children the adventure of a lifetime with V2T in the unspoilt northeast of Thailand. Bring your teens or toddlers to explore the customs and culture of rural Thailand and at the same time help to support the village community.

Although our village schools providing a basic education to around 650 children aged between 5 and 12 years old, resources are limited and teachers are in short supply. The children are hungry to learn and are ready to greet you with the warmest of smiles. Your children can join them in the classroom and experience primary school education 'Thai style' whilst your teens help with after school activities such as games, sports or arts and crafts. Realise your own teaching ambitions by teaching the students English though informal and fun classes. The whole family will be helping to provide the children with a better future.

During your stay with V2T you will have the opportunity to help the local community in so many diverse ways. From teaching at the village school to helping the farmer with his rice harvest or livestock, your contribution will always be greatly appreciated by the community. And every penny you spend locally during your stay directly  supports local jobs and in so doing helps to stem the flow of yet another generation of youngsters drifting off to the cities to find any kind of employment to support their families.

Join the local cultural events, dress up in Thai costume and learn a little about the Buddhist way of life with a visit to one of the many beautiful temples in the area. The way of life in the Isan region of northeast Thailand has little changed over the centuries and a stay at the V2T campus will give you a more authentic experience of Thailand than a stay at the many popular tourist destinations. Why not make volunteering part of your Asian adventure and contact us today? Check out the video for an insight into family volunteering with V2T. 

Our experience - Testimonial Thailand 14 June to 12 July 2019 

With our family, consisting of Wout (6 years), Anoek (9), Charlotte and myself, we have been part of a small community in the Northeast of Thailand for a month. We stayed in a kind of compound where several volunteers could stay. Despite the fact that the facilities are less than we are used to in our little country, it turned out to be a wonderful retreat. We had a nice room, which we called our penthouse, a cosy communal area with various hammocks and a shower where occasional cosy beetles would delight you with a visit while showering and doing a message. The many insects in combination with the high temperatures certainly took us some getting used to, but you also get a very nice experience in return. During our stay we also met several volunteers, with in the first week a group of Canadians, then a group of Mexicans, followed by Portuguese and a group of Dutch young girls. So in our four weeks we met many interesting and nice volunteers from all over the world. 

In terms of work, we participated in the Ban Nong Kung primary school for four weeks. We gave English there, or at least made an attempt. Our children went to this beautiful school. We wanted to give our children an experience about how things are going in other places in the world. Thanks in part to this school, it has been a top experience for our children, and they look back on it with great pleasure. The children adapted easily and quickly had boyfriends and girlfriends. 

It is a very rural area with many rice fields around you. It is a poor area where people can use a helping hand. Although our presence has been short, you notice that the children have come to speak nice English. Whether that is due to the volunteers who are coming there for 5 years now or the teachers there, I do not know. But I am convinced that the Volun2thai project makes a positive contribution to the area.

It is a small community where everyone has always responded enthusiastically to our presence. It has been a special and educational experience in many ways. By staying a little longer in one place, we believe it is a nice way to get to know people better and to know the ins and outs of a community. And of course it is not all fun and fantastic, because you also come across yourself, which is also an educational experience for yourself. Sometimes it takes some time to find out how you can participate in such a project so that it leads to a positive experience for all involved, including yourself. For us it is at least an unforgettable month that we will never forget for the rest of our lives, just like our children. It is also very special that we have been able to experience this together with our young children.

This month was part of a longer stay with our family in Southeast Asia, where the question to our children where they would prefer to go back, they invariably mention the two volunteer projects (Sri Lanka and Thailand). Many thanks to all people and of course Raimund and Linly that we have been allowed to be part of this for a short period.

Steps to make a world trip with the family

In addition to good preparation, we have completed the following steps in the order mentioned. We deliberately chose to do it through the booklet and not deregistering from the Netherlands (which is also a possibility of not being subject to compulsory education). It seems a lot, but it is also easy to oversee.

Half a year prior to the intended departure: making a plan containing a place for the children's education. We deliberately opted for the period March - August, because there are relatively many school holidays in that period. This minimizes the missed education and there is no exemption required from the moment the Dutch summer holiday starts.

The first steps for us, after the global plan, were (half a year before departure):

  • contact with the compulsory education officer (how we could do this, get permission, in accordance with the rules
  • contact with the primary school, how they view this and to what extent support or teaching material is possible.

As a result of this contact, we chose to do volunteer work as part of our trip at schools abroad, whereby the children would then go to the schools where we were going to do voluntary work. In this way, they could experience education in another country. Our children are also formally registered at the school where we went, which obtained the exemption from compulsory education. In addition to lessons at the schools in Sri Lanka and Thailand, we have also taught our children using the Dutch learning material from their own primary school and digital tools (Squla, Qynzi kids, E-reader). We searched via internet for a suitable volunteer organization for the intended education. After first contact with the organization, it turned out that it was a possibility, so then proceeded more concretely and visited the organisation. 

After that:

  • adjusting the plan, including the necessary budget (the costs during the volunteering period are considerably lower).
  • contact with the employer for unpaid leave
  • Schedule vaccinations 3 months before departure (some vaccinations must be repeated several times). Vaccination costs for family more than 2000 euros, so take a good look at the additional healthcare insurance
  • renting out a home after approval from the mortgage lender and contact the insurer (household effects and building), with a lease contract through a broker (costs contract 300 euros).

If you have any questions, please send an email to sandervandermeer77(ET)

Vrijwilligerswerk met het hele gezin! (oorspronkelijke tekst in het Nederlands) 

Thailand 14 juni tot en met 12 juli 2019

Met onze familie, bestaande uit Wout (6 jaar), Anoek (9), Charlotte en mijzelf, hebben wij een maand lang onderdeel mogen zijn van een kleine gemeenschap in het Noordoosten van Thailand. We verbleven daarbij op een soort compound, waar meerdere vrijwilligers konden verblijven. Ondanks dat de voorzieningen wat minder zijn dan wij in ons kikkerlandje gewend zijn, bleek het een heerlijk onderkomen. We hadden een mooie kamer, zelf ons penthouse genoemd, een gezellige gezamenlijke ruimte met diverse hangmatten en een douche waar af en toe gezellige torren je tijdens het douchen en het doen van een boodschap even kwamen verblijden met een bezoek. De vele insecten in combinatie met de hoge temperaturen waren zeker even wennen, maar daar krijg je dan ook een hele mooie ervaring voor terug. Tijdens ons verblijf ook meerdere vrijwilligers leren kennen met in de eerste week een groep Canadezen, vervolgens een groep Mexicanen, gevolg door Portugezen en een groep Nederlandse jonge meiden. Een hele leuke plek dus om vele interessante en aardige vrijwilligers vanuit de hele wereld te ontmoeten.

Qua werkzaamheden hebben wij vier weken meegedraaid op de Ban Nong Kung basisschool. Daar hebben wij Engels gegeven, of in ieder geval een poging gedaan. Onze kinderen gingen mee naar deze mooie school. We wilden onze kinderen een ervaring meegeven over hoe het op andere plaatsen in de wereld gaat. Mede dankzij deze school is het voor onze kinderen een topervaring geweest waar zij met heel veel plezier op terugkijken. De kinderen pasten zich makkelijk aan en hadden snel vriendjes en vriendinnetjes.

Het is een zeer landelijke omgeving met vele rijstvelden om je heen. Het is een gebied waar de mensen een steuntje in de rug goed kunnen gebruiken. Ondanks dat onze aanwezigheid kort is geweest, merk je bij de kinderen dat zij in al die tijd dat er vrijwilligers zijn gekomen toch wel aardig Engels zijn gaan praten. Of dat toe te rekenen is aan de vrijwilligers of de leerkrachten daar weet ik natuurlijk niet, maar wel overtuigd dat het project van Volun2thai een positieve bijdrage levert. Het is een kleine gemeenschap, waar eenieder altijd enthousiast op onze aanwezigheid heeft gereageerd. Het is op vele manieren een bijzondere en leerzame ervaring geweest. Door wat langer op een plek te verblijven, is wat ons betreft een leuke wijze om mensen en het reilen en zeilen van een gemeenschap beter te leren kennen. En natuurlijk is het niet allemaal genieten en fantastisch, want je komt jezelf ook wel tegen, wat uiteraard ook voor jezelf een leerzame ervaring is. Het is soms toch wel even zoeken hoe je op een dergelijk project kan meedraaien zodat het voor alle betrokkenen, inclusief jezelf, tot een positieve ervaring leidt. Voor ons is het in ieder geval een onvergetelijke maand die we de rest van ons leven niet meer zullen vergeten, net als onze kinderen. Heel bijzonder ook dat we dit samen met onze jonge kinderen hebben kunnen en mogen beleven. 

Deze maand was onderdeel van een langer verblijf met ons gezin in Zuid-Oost Azie, waarbij op de vraag aan onze kinderen waar ze het liefst naar terug zouden willen gaan, ze steevast de twee vrijwilligersprojecten noemen (Sri Lanka en Thailand). Heel veel dank aan alle mensen en uiteraard ook Raimund en Linly dat wij hier voor een korte periode deel van hebben mogen uitmaken.



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