Thank you for your interest in volunteering.
Before you fill in your application, please read the information below as well as our Child Protection Policy and the Volunteer pledge.
- The only reason to apply should be that you want to help us take care of our children
- You have to stay minimum 4 months – no exceptions
- You have to be prepared to work hard – coming to us is NOT a holiday
- You have to be very independent and understand that you apply to come and help us to take care of our children and that no-one will take care of you
- You have to be able to work together with people that do not speak the same language as you
- You have to have an open mind and be aware of that things can be done differently to what you are used to.
- You have to understand that you will be a visiter to another country and you have to be able to accept and respect the Thai culture and Thai laws
- The children are brought up according to Thai culture so you have to accept that things are done in a different way that you are used to.
- You must like dogs
- You cannot be afraid of insects, snakes, frogs, spiders and so on
- You will live at Barnhem which is built to Thai standard and you will share room with other volunteers
- You will live in the country side far away from beaches and restaurants
- You will have to be able to coop with heat as well as heavy rain
- You have to be able to drive a motorcycle, a car or a bicycle
- You will have to rent the vehicle of your choice yourself.
IF YOU GET ACCEPTED
- You have applied for 4 months and have to stay 4 months
- You have to understand that if you get accepted you will represent Barnhem during your whole stay – even on your days-off.
- You will have free accommodation at Barnhem
- Breakfast and dinner are for free if you eat the food served at Barnhem – we cannot take into consideration any special diets
- You must make sure that you have a good insurance.
- You are fully responsible for your belongings and the safekeeping of them – Barnhem will not be liable for any damage or loss
- You have to check what vaccinations/immunizations that are needed and get them
- If you get sick you have to be able to take care of it yourself
- If you are in an accident – you will have to take care of it yourself
- If you break Thai law – we will have to terminate your volunteering period immediately and we will not help you with your contacts with Thai law enforcement
- If Barnhem has to terminate your volunteering period – no matter the reason - all costs related has to be covered by you.
- You will work at least 40 hours a week
- You have to be flexible with your working hours as they might change with no prior notice
- Your will work approximately 8 hours a day
- You will work early mornings
- You will work late evenings/nights
- You will have night-shifts when you sleep in the rooms of the children excluded from the eight hours
- Your will work on a rolling schedule.
- You will teach English at local schools
- You will need to go to the schools using some kind of vehicle of your choice – motorcycle, bicycle och car. You rent and you pay for it yourself
- You will usually have your days-off on your own as the other volunteers will be working.
- All Above without any exceptions for anyone
HOW TO APPLY
- Make sure that you have read all the information thoroughly
- Fill in the application form
- Send the application together with your CV, references and a copy of your criminal record from the authorities to: firstname.lastname@example.org
- When we have got your application you will be contacted for an interview in your country.
- After the interview you will be informed if you have been accepted or not.
- If you get accepted we will set you in contact with a former volunteer that will help you in your preparations.
LET US TELL YOU A LITTLE BIT MORE IN DETAIL
Let us tell you a little bit more in detail about Barnhem as well as about life as a volunteer and our expectations of you.
Barnhem, which literally means children’s home in Swedish, started as a result of the December 26 tsunami that hit, amongst other places, Thailand it opened in February 2005
However, we do not seek to help victims affected by the flood waves, in fact, not a single person at Barnhem today is here because of the Tsunami.
Many people in Thailand were poor and exposed already before that particular tragedy and all our children have poverty in common.
Today Barhem houses children for many different reasons. Some have lost one, or both, of their parents; others are here because they lack a family member or relative to care for them – or relatives lack the strength to do so. The children come form all parts of Thailand.
A few children live at Barnhem together with their single mom or their grandmother.
Barnhem is in a state of constant change. Decisions are made quickly; new children can arrive with very short notice or children that you have grown fond of can move out just as quickly. Consequently, as a volunteer you have to feel secure in an ever-changing environment.
We accept volunteers from any country.
Professional experience from similar “jobs” as well as relevant education in teaching, psychology, health care is, of course, very good, however, not a requirement.
We cannot underline enough that the most important is dedication, guts, stamina, humility, a will to work hard, humour and patience. Qualities that you have if you yourself are in a “good place” in your life.
Let us be very clear about this; there is no place at Barnhem for volunteers who have a lot of “issues”, feel burnt-out or think that Barnhem is a good place to recoup. You have to be strong and regard it as rewarding to help other people, our local personnel, other volunteers but foremost the children at Barnhem.
It is very important that you never forget the fact that you will be a visitor, a guest, in another culture and another country. And that the children most probably never will leave Thailand. This said, you understand that many things will be done in the Thai way. This way might not always be your cup of tea – deal with it. The children we take care of must primarily function in the Thai society. It is therefore important to humbly listen to the Thai staff and their opinions on how to raise children.
The Thai staff will be your colleagues and they are working under Thai working conditions.
They are employed to take care of the children not to take care of our volunteers.
They were here before you started thinking of coming and they will be here after you have left.
We expect you to show them respect and also to realise that they do a lot of important things that you will not see or understand. You too will do some things that they will not see or understand but the Thai staff will fully respect you as their colleague.
The children and the staff speak Thai. Some of them speak a little bit of English as well, the rest hardly speak any English at all. This is why you have to have the guts, strength, stamina and will to deal with people in a situation where the English language can only be a small part of the communication.
Each volunteer must find ways to cooperate and to communicate with the Thai staff and through this interaction gather information about the children and the on-goings at Barnhem. Why wasn’t I informed that… is a line used too often by some volunteers.
The volunteers that interact the most with the Thai staff are also usually the ones that have the most fun and benefit the most from the stay here.
As mentioned before, the children have very different backgrounds. Some have had a comparatively decent childhood, some have not. Most of the children are very easy to get in contact with, a few are harder. We can’t change what has already happened in their lives but we can help them help themselves. We will truly succeed with some children but we might also truly fail with a few.
For the moment there are 32 children at Barnhem. Some of them are teenagers. A sincere interest in dealing with teenagers – and all the challenges related to that age – is therefore essential.
The children are absolutely fantastic and deserve fantastic volunteers. The type of volunteer that show interest in them, listen to them, does arts & crafts with them and play games with them, that keep the home tidy together with them, teaches them English, learn Thai from them and last but not least – that do not feel sorry for them. If you feel sorry for them, they might start feeling sorry for themselves and a person who starts feeling sorry for themselves becomes a victim and a victim has a harder time helping themselves.
For the time being, volunteers work 5-6 days per week, about eight hours per day. We work our shifts alone but the shifts sometimes overlap in order for us to give the children as much time and attention as possible. Additionally, there is night shifts and some stand-by shifts, when we normally do not work but have to be present at Barnhem. Working hours and workload naturally vary according to the number of volunteers at that time. Being a volunteer means that you have to be flexible with your working hours since these may change with little or no prior notice. If something important comes up you will be called in even if you are not scheduled to work.
For instance you might have to spend the night at the hospital, on a mattress, should a child become ill. And this on a night you had planned to something completely different.
Exempel of work tasks:
Help with the morning routines; wake-up, dressing, breakfast and getting the children off to school.
Help with the after school routines; making sure they get their afternoon snack, helping with homework, playing a lot, being there at dinner and for the going-to-bed routine.
During daytime, play with the children not in school.
Help the children making sure they wash their clothes, clean their rooms and get to bed in time.
Teach English at the local schools and at Barnhem.
During the weekend, go on different excursions.
Keep Barnhem tidy and clean.
All our volunteers must teach English at the local schools and at Barnhem. The English lessons are something where our volunteers really can make a difference. At this time, we teach children from 6 to 12 years in three different schools. According to our schedule, all volunteers teach all ages. Most schools are poor with very limited means. With our presence we hope to give the children inspiration to learn English as well as help them improve their pronunciation.
The volunteers have to go to the different schools to teach English by themselves. You have to rent your own vehicle. If you rent a moped, you will have to spend about 100 Bath a week on gasoline. The school furthest away from Barnhem is approx. 3 km away.
As volunteer you stay for free at Barnhem with breakfast and dinner included. The food is very healthy, sometimes spicy and always Thai-style. We can and will not make any exceptions because of special diets, allergies or such. The food is made with the children’s best in focus.
If you want to buy your own food, you should calculate minimum 50-80 Bath per meal. The rooms, that are of Thai standard and similar to the ones the children live in and are shared with other volunteers. Thai standard means that you sleep on a madrass on the floor, have a fan, mosquito net and cold running water.
As you will live at Barnhem you have to remember that Barnhem is the home of the children. Children tend not to be quiet when they are awake, but children do tend to wake up before volunteers do.
There are cats and dogs staying at the Barnhem.
Barnhem is not located in a city but in the countryside. This means that snakes, lizards, spiders and other animals can and will “visit” us – deal with it.
16 consecutive weeks is the absolute minimum. It is incredibly important that you and the children have time to get to know and trust each other. The same is true between the employees and the volunteers. With respect to the children and the other volunteers, the length of stay agreed upon is conclusive.
The period for which you have signed up is binding. No, you may not leave early, no, you may not take time off. Volunteers are there for many, not the other way around.
We want to point out that, as we have mentioned earlier, Barnhem is under constant change. In other words, things might be different once you come to work with us. This is the current situation.
Concerning immunizations, we recommend you to contact your local vaccination/immunisation place.
We must once again stress the fact that you must make sure that you are fully covered, regarding everything, insurance-wise. Barnhem does not have any kind of insurance that covers volunteers.
Barnhem will neither accompany nor give rides to volunteers to the Police, insurance companies, hospitals, Immigration or such.
Straight talk: Are you kind but lazy? Do you complain a lot? Are you overly social and better at talking than at working? Do you like to be at the centre of attention? Do you often get ill? Don’t like animals or insects? Do you really look forward to hanging out with the other volunteers? Are you bad at taking criticism? Are you heat sensitive? Do you expect gratitude or leniency from children or staff just because you have come to us to be a volunteer?
In that case – do not apply!
Parts of the information above may sound harsh or even deterring, but out of experience we want to be very clear on facts.
The majority of our volunteers have been amazingly adaptive and hard-working people. They have come here with all the intention of helping the children. They have lived here with an open and humble frame of mind.
But we have also had a few that more or less were looking for free lodging and a few have come here as a solution to personal problems. Working with the children has been more of a necessary evil for them. Some have also displayed disrespectful behaviour towards the children, the employees and the Thai culture.
Volunteership can and will be terminated immediately should a volunteer not follow the above-mentioned rules, the child protection policy or Thai law. In the case of this happening, all costs related to a volunteer having to leave will be a matter for he/her to clear.
If you still are interested in volunteering with us after reading all the information, please fill out the volunteer application and return it to us by e-mail together with your CV, references and a copy from the authorities of your criminal record.
Should you have any questions please contact us – email@example.com
If you want to speak to us by phone, you can reach us at: +66(0) 8789 33 692
Sussi and Hans