volunteer work in Thailand
volunteer work in Thailand Bangkok Reviews
Apr 19, 2006
In Thailand the social infrastructure is relatively well setup for a 3rd world country. There are surprisingly few beggars and street children in Bangkok, much less than say Rome or Bucharest, I’ve never seen boys sniffing glue or splashing dirty water on windscreens. I’ve never encountered dangerous or desperate people in Thailand, no-one ever asked me for money. Even the stray dogs are fed by monks and housewives.
Since Thais are a generous people almost everyone has their physical needs met but they have other needs. One is education for the underprivileged.
Every week I would go to an orphanage to teach. The orphans from the Rangsit Babies Home were up for adoption by people from North America and Western Europe. Since they only spoke Thai the staff relied on foreign volunteer workers to teach them English which would make their adjustment easier. I took a group of 8 small children from age 4-8. Unlike my students at school these kids were not disciplined, in fact they ran totally amok with me. Its always difficult for me to work with these children from troubled backgrounds as they usually have poor character. I would try my best to keep them pacified with games, colouring, dancing etc but they still drove me nuts with their misbehaviour.
I wasn’t the only one struggling at it, there were plenty of other young people from Israel, UK, Europe and US who were giving their time to help. There are plenty of NGOs and government institutions in Thailand to work with on a variety of projects. I think these kids were a bit spoiled with all the attention they were getting. We were only teaching them English not what was wrong and right (like any proper parent would) which is a downside to government institutions.
Once I was drawing pictures for the children to colour with crayons. “A for apple. Now what colour is an apple? Good here you go.” I gave a boy, called Deang (red), a flower to colour (see chom poo) pink. The other kids giggled “Deang ben katoey (he’s a homosexual/transexual)” they teased. “Oi! stop that. Who told you about that stuff anyway?” I was surprised how these kinds of unnatural/adult things were known to first-graders. In Thailand there is a lot of confusing things for even adults, it goes without saying these children are totally clueless.
I believe children shouldn't exposed to unusual/extreme things without responsible explanation or guidance. It is important that children have clear concrete perceptions of the world or they may become at risk, a huge problem in SEA, and definitely emotionally unadjusted/confused individuals. Most of these kids crave natural affection and care as well as discipline and clear moral guidelines more than material goods, they’re too young to know the value of goods anyway. If they have a good emotional and character base established as children I believe it could somewhat alleviate the social problems such as child exploitation and give them a brighter future.
Part of the Stumbling through the 3rd world again 2005-... travel blog
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