When we think of Thailand we think of pristine beaches, great food and elephant safaris catering to international tourists. It is true that Thailand has experienced massive growth in the past decade but the country is still marked with inequalities and precarious living conditions in areas that do not see the benefits of tourism. In the northern part of the country, nomadic minorities are facing difficulties transitioning to a more modern lifestyle. Thailand is the second most popular travel destination in South East Asia. Tourism generates income into the country but it also brings other problems. Tourism often leads to ecologically destructive behaviour which the eco-tourism movement struggles to reduce. Although they try to help ethnic minority groups, they often do not have the means to do so. This is where World Volunteer steps in.
Learning by doing…the building stage
A wise man once said, "Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."
At World Volunteer we know that the best way to learn anything is by doing. Every project is hands on and done in real time. World Volunteer together with service learners actively participate in each project from beginning to end. It’s amazing that when you start where you are, use what you have and do what you can…mountains can be moved.
As part of the World Volunteer team, you will be building a sustainable clay eco-bathroom. These eco- bathrooms are built over the course of the service learning program. These structures play an important part in bettering the lives of villagers for years to come. Diseases are prevented and sanitary conditions are greatly improved. Together with the villagers, the volunteers build these structures using clay bricks found on site which provide a sustainable and natural source of building materials that are ecologically sound.
Social output…Why it matters
These eco-bathrooms improve the lives of each family, improving hygiene and raising awareness of potential disease. Because only locally sourced clay bricks are used, the community will always have access to building materials. The villagers learn how to effectively source and use the clay bricks when building the eco-bathrooms and a series of eco-bathrooms are built by both villagers and volunteers. For the villagers, these hands on projects transfer practical knowledge and skills that are put into practice for future builds. The project takes great care to respect the village customs and to protect their culture, allowing the volunteers to get a glimpse of a different way of life.
Your sample itinerary
The trip runs over a seven day period. From the moment students set foot on Thai soil, to the time they head home, they will be guided by team leaders who have vast experience in Thailand, are trained in first aid and have deep insight into the country, culture and projects. World Volunteer believes that all work and no play makes for a dull experience so emphasis is placed on combining work with fun. The actual build takes place over a three day period but we have incorporated trips to local sites and meals with local families in between. Walking around ancient temples and driving through breathtakingly beautiful scenery, practicing the art of yoga, participating in a traditional Tham Bun ceremony and sipping rich, locally brewed coffee with local farmers ensures that students get a real feeling for the way of life.