Gap Years, Community Volunteering

Burmese Community Volunteer, Thailand

A rewarding volunteer project based in community centres and schools in Thailand. Volunteers are needed to improve the lives & opportunities of Burmese communities living in Thailand.

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£181.00 ⁄ wk

Deposit £150.00

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Overview

Burma, a country bordered by China, Laos, Thailand, Bangladesh, India and the Bay of Bengal, has long been an object of concern for the international community and human rights organisations due to its military regime.

Twin Work & Volunteer works closely with a volunteering project that was set up to give the Burmese population in Thailand an opportunity to improve their lives

  • Burmese migrants (both children and adults) face very difficult situations in Thailand due to the fact that they do not have legal citizenship in Thailand nor are they recognised as bona fide citizens of Burma. Simple things such as owning a mobile phone or driving a car are forbidden for Burmese migrants. Moreover, they are even subject to controlling martial laws such as an 8pm curfew.
  • Most Burmese children are unable to attend school in the Thai education system, and they're expected to earn a living in rubber plantations or fisheries.

How can volunteers help the Burmese people?

This project has become particularly popular with volunteers because it gives them the freedom to teach whatever skills they think may be beneficial to the Burmese migrants. Whether it be computer training, English language classes, self-development (such as female empowerment), or simply caring for the children in the community - there are no restrictions as to what volunteers can do to help the Burmese community

Volunteers will work in centres & schools that have been set up to break the vicious cycle of poverty that affects the disadvantaged and disenfranchised Burmese children and adults. 

Your daily tasks will ultimately entail working to improve the lives and possibilities of Burmese citizens. Your work can include:

  • Organising workshops aimed at empowering young girls and older females.
  • Working indirectly with the Burmese community: For instance if volunteers have a background in marketing, they can work to publicise the plight of the community, or organise social events.
  • Teaching English: Knowing English is a vital asset for Burmese migrants looking to venture out into the working world. Volunteers can choose to dedicate some of their volunteering time to teaching English to children and their parents.
  • Helping Burmese adults and adolescents learn new skills - computing, personal hygiene, sewing, and so forth. 

This volunteer opportunity will allow you to have an enriching experience immersing yourself in both Thai and Burmese cultures.

Project details

  • What's included?
  • Dates & duration
  • Eligibility
  • Location
  • Project life
  • Accommodation
  • Flights & Visas
  • Insurance

What's included?

  • Pre-departure information and advice
  • In-country assistance and support
  • 24-hour emergency contacts
  • In-country induction or training
  • Donation to the project
  • Accommodation: volunteer or on-project residence
  • Food: Lunch is provided by staff or host family
  • Transportation: School bus to and from the Learning Centre. Volunteers will also be provided with a bicycle to get around town

What's NOT included?

  • Flights
  • Insurance
  • Visas
  • Sightseeing activities
  • Monthly stipend
  • Transportation: airport pick-up (this can be organised for £55 through your travel advisor)
  • Transportation: airport drop-off

Dates and duration

  • Duration: 2 to 26 weeks, with extensions made in 2 week blocks.
  • Volunteers are welcome to join the project on Mondays throughout the year.
  • The centre is closed from March to mid-May and from mid-September to late-October.

School Term Dates...

October – March: OPEN
March – April / May: CLOSED
May – August: OPEN
September –October: CLOSED
 

 

The following dates are public holidays in Thailand, so children will not be attending school on these dates:

  • January 1st: New Year's Day
  • February: Magha Puja (commemorating the preaching of the Buddha)
  • April 6th: Chakri Day
  • May 5th: Coronation Day
  • Mid July (full moon): Asanha Puja (commemorating the Buddha's first sermon)
  • Mid to late July: Khao Phansaa (beginning of Buddhist lent)
  • August 12th: Queen's Birthday
  • October 23rd: Chulalongkorn Day
  • December 5th: King's Birthday
  • December 10th: Constitution Day

Eligibility

  • Whether or not you have any previous teaching experience your help as a volunteer teacher will be very much appreciated.
  • You should be proactive and able to work independently. There may be times when you might be the only volunteer teacher in the school.
  • You should also be: open-minded, proactive, patient, willing to accept new ideas and be tolerant towards different cultures, independent, mature, flexible and most of all have a great sense of humour
  • Learning some basic Thai during your stay will be a really good idea
  • International volunteers are welcome

Location

Project life

By teaching English at the Burmese Learning Centre, you will directly help to improve the lives and opportunities of Burmese youth and adults living in Thailand.

On your first day at this volunteer project, the dedicated staff will give you an induction workshop to outline what to expect during your stay with them.

  • Your induction will include an introduction to teaching and a selection of resources that will be available for you to use in the centres and classrooms. The staff recognise that you're getting lots of new information so they won't expect you to take it all in, just don't be afraid to ask questions! You'll have plenty of opportunity to ask anything that's on your mind regarding your stay.

The project staff will ensure that you feel part of the team and they'll get you up to speed on the main cultural do's and don'ts in Thailand, so that you offend anyone by mistake during your time in Thailand (simple things like taking off your shoes when entering a home).

  • You'll spend your second day in Khao Lak, about 1.5 hours from Kuraburi. Here you will meet with the English as a Second Language (ESL) coordinator for Phang Nga Province. The ESL coordinator will tell you more about the teaching structure and curriculum for the Burmese Learning Centre. You will also get a chance to find out more about the situation for Burmese migrants in Thailand.
  • On day three you'll get to meet the other teachers at the Burmese Learning Centre and you'll get a chance to familiarise yourself with the school. You will be able to teach with their coordinator, who will provide support, tips and advice on teaching the various classes.

Many of the Burmese students have not had the opportunity to speak with a native English speaker so you'll be able to assist with the students' conversational and pronunciation skills. Your presence in the classroom will help build the confidence of the teachers and students who will gain from interacting with English-speaking foreigners. The duration of each class is about an hour. You'll lead classes each week and watch as your students' skills grow.

If you feel that your teaching skills are strong enough to teach alone, then you can also lead classes each week.  Taking over a class is an amazing way for volunteers to properly assess the progression of their students’ English language abilities.

Although many volunteers come here solely to teach, the Burmese Community Volunteer programme can also be used by volunteers who want to do so much more…

The beauty of a volunteer project like this one is that it is truly a community project, and so, offers volunteers numerous opportunities to develop the local area in any way that they or the project organisers feel is necessary.

There are a number of activities that volunteers at the Burmese Community project can get involved in:

  • Help design posters that highlight the cause of the Burmese migrants.
  • Technology is limited in the area, so volunteers can help locals with their computer skills (many volunteers choose to bring their lap tops with them so that they can conduct computer lessons).
  • Work with a Burmese woman’s group to empower women, young girls, and adolescents to become more involved in the community.
  • Interact with the local community teaching life skills.
  • Help local Burmese children and/or adults with their conversational English so that they can interact properly with the many tourists that come to the area.
  • Use any marketing skills to help promote a range of handicrafts produced by the locals.

Weekends are free for independent travel. Kuraburi is near many fascinating places including Phuket, Khao Lak, and Koh Surin National Park (seasonal), offering a variety of activities from eco-tours, homestay programmes, snorkelling and scuba diving.

Accommodation and Food

For our volunteer programmes, in addition to covering accommodation, lunch, volunteer introduction activities and 24/7 local support, your contribution is vital to support the ongoing efforts of the projects that are largely reliant on charitable donations.

  • You will be provided with furnished accommodation.
  • In the mornings you will find a large selection of items to choose at the local markets, including waffles, rice soup and coffee.
  • The local restaurants offer a wide range of tasty local specialities. There is also a late-afternoon market from about 4 to 8pm for snacks, fruits and dinner.
  • Please allow a daily budget of 200 Baht (US$6 or £3) per day for food expenses (excluding alcoholic beverages).

Flights, Transportation & Visas

  • International flights are not included
  • Please make sure to arrange for your arrival in Kuraburi on a Monday. Please contact your travel advisor for additional information.

 

CIBT Visa advice...

For expert visa advice we advise our volunteer, work placement, and internship participants to get in touch with CIBT - a company that we work in partnership with. Our UK, Canadian, and US travellers can use CIBT for visa advice and to get their visa applications processed - with visas returned within a week.


Canadian citizens should state account number: 57497
US citizens should state account number: 57496

Safety & Insurance

  • All of Twin Work & Volunteer's placements are in partnership with recognised and established local organisations, run by or employing local people. These organisations, depending on the nature of what they do, might be small-scale NGOs, family projects, schools or orphanages, or local initiatives with environmental or social goals.
  • We often use local businesses to provide logistical and support services to volunteers such as transfers, pick-ups, accommodation and so on. In this way, we support the local economy through helping independent local businesses to thrive. We take our partnerships very seriously and work extremely closely with all our partners.
  • We provide 24-hour emergency support from the UK and our partners provides support locally.
  • We have an agreement with the crisis management service Tranquillico, should the very worst situations arise.
  • If any wider safety concerns arise in the destination, such as civil disturbances or natural disasters, we seek advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and implement their recommendations where appropriate.

 

Insurance options...

Comprehensive insurance is available for all programmes. You have no obligation to take up insurance with any of these companies, but insurance of a suitable sort is mandatory on all our programmes.


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You will be living in the small town of Kuraburi, Phang Nga province, 2.5 hours from Phuket. Despite its closeness to Phuket, Kuraburi is far from 'touristy', giving you a unique insight into the Thai way of life. 

Kuraburi is surrounded by flourishing mountainous jungle, boasting several idyllic waterfalls perfect for swimming. Stretches of deserted beach are a mere 20-minute drive from where you will be staying - a perfect location to see the stunning Andaman sunset.

  • Kuraburi is a small town, and everything is within walking distance. Volunteers will be provided with a bicycle to get around town and explore the area. 

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