Working at a Thai Orphanage
Volunteering at an orphanage in Thailand is an incredible exercise in empathy, service, and cultural immersion with children who don’t always have the benefits or advantages of others in their community. Students volunteering abroad in Thailand with Global Leadership Adventures have the unique opportunity to engage with these kids, all the while learning more about who they are and the people they want to be in facing global challenges on a local scale.
“For the past week my group has been working at the Wildflower home… When we arrived, we were greeted by Kelly, an excited Australian who works at the orphanage. We were shown around the orphanage and led to a room where we received our formal introduction. We watched a video about Agape’s past, which highlighted the founder, Avis… The rest of the day was simply amazing. We spent about an hour doing service. When that was over the kids arrived home from school and we spent the afternoon and early evening playing with the children. We ate dinner with the kids and then returned to the home base to spend the evening playing cards and hanging out.”
– Riley Janeway
GLA students who volunteer at the orphanage have friends and staff members to help them make sense of the experience, and this sharing of stories, activities, and good times brings a level of positivity and compassion that would be difficult to achieve when volunteering alone. These students from the July 1st Cultural Kaleidoscope program don’t only volunteer together, they spend their days immersed in the local culture and go off on excursions as a team, which only makes the bonds between them all stronger and more resilient.
“We woke up and had breakfast really early as usual, but then we went to Chiang Mai University and did ceramics! The art students taught us to make these really cool clay pieces with molds and some jewelry/key chains with paper clay. Later in the day, we went to Joy’s Farm for the first time. Joy’s Farm is a farm that doubles as an orphanage for Burmese and Thai children from ages 5-17. We met the kids that live there, they gave us a tour of the place, played ping pong and badminton, made paper flowers, and ate dinner together.”
Joy’s Farm is filled with a diversity of experiences that make the volunteer excursion unique. These GLA teens go from helping out in the kitchen to teaching the children English (while mixing in some playtime as well), all in a day’s work! Dinner is then eaten together on-site, to give the students a chance to become immersed in the daily experience at Joy’s Farm.
“We started teaching English at an elementary school with students from K-6 grade. Although teaching was tough and new for most of us, the students were very cute and it feels good at the end of the day to know that we’ve stepped out of our comfort zone. Our director Todd told us to always “expect the unexpected” while teaching, which was a helpful warning because our plans would change throughout the day and we would just have to “flow with the go,” as our mentor Kees always says. We are very excited to continue working with the students throughout this amazing journey.”
-Mackenzie Moorhouse and Molly Thayer
Cultural Kaleidoscope couldn’t be more aptly named. The contrast between the incredible volunteer work and the exotic sights, sounds, and flavors of Thailand makes for a colorful experience that most teenagers couldn’t dream of – and yet, when it happens, all the contrast begins to make sense. The time spent at the orphanage with local children, combined with exploration in a vast and awe-inspiring countryside, makes the time and place all the more real, and the service all the more meaningful.
Want to learn more about the Thailand Cultural Kaleidoscope experience? Check out the program guide and put yourself in the shoes of our volunteers at a real Thai orphanage.
Curious about what you’d have to pack? Rain boots or sunscreen? Jackets or shorts? Read The Young Leader’s take on the ultimate packing list and get ready for your future travels.