An NGO, non profit charity, in Southeast Asia
Openmind Projects, the special NGO, born in Thailand and supporting people in Southeast Asia
Openmind Projects is a small and local organization where local people help local people. We have a large network of supporters, volunteers, advisors and friends around the world.
Openmind Projects was originally founded in 2002 to help poor girls and boys in the poor Northeast Thailand. They get very limited, if any education, and remain poor. Village schools are poor. IT, Tech, can help!
We want to give them another chance and invite you to help us!
The Birth of Openmind Projects
Before Openmind Projects was born there was IT in Isan, an IT project in Northeast Thailand. IT can be the poor man’s best help was the idea! The first projects took place in orphan homes and villages!
Sven Mauleon, an international consultant from Sweden and Gaweechat Joompaula, from a Thai village, were eager to find out how to help young people without traditional teaching. They thought DED! Demonstrate and show the kids what they can do. Then let them Explore to Discover, learn, and share with their friends. Learning by Doing!
Since then Openmind Projects applies Learning by Doing to all education projects, at our Training Center, our Learning Camps and in the fields.
Funding and Opportunities
Originally Openmind Projects was self funded but volunteer contributions have later played an important part.
During the first years our cofounder Sven Mauleon covered the costs. Gaweechat and Sven has ever since worked as volunteers themselves and also contributed to covering costs. Gaweechat's rice farmer family has for many years supported our Center with food supplies.
During the past years our learning camps for migrants and ethnic minorities have been sponsored by a US Rotary and private donor. Donations have also helped us improve, repair our center.
We however need significantly more donations to be able to realize our ambitions to run more camps and cover the costs to help more young girls and boys in the future.
Opportunities for Local People in Asia
Thai, Laos, Burmese and Khmer youth from poor families are welcome as trainees at our Training Center.
Thai, Laos, Burmese and Khmer girls and boys are welcome to our Learning Camps at our Center and elsewhere..
Local volunteers are also welcome. They help their friends and they learn at the same time, role models and camp leaders.
Opportunities for International Volunteers
International volunteers and interns are welcome to our Center, to our Learning Camps and to volunteer at schools and other field projects.
Life changing learning for volunteers. They help and they learn about the world and about themselves, Learning by Helping!
All new volunteers are invited to a monthly and free volunteer training week at our Center.
Openmind Projects Cofounders - East meets West
Sven Mauleon from rich Sweden, and Gaweechat Joompaula, from a poor Thai village, are the co-founders who set out to find ways to use IT to help the poor.
Sven focus on development and brings extensive international experience to Openmind Projects. Gaweechat is the operating and IT manager, self-taught always eager to learn, with new ideas, a true role model to his local people!
Sven: ‘I had an idea to bridge knowledge divides. Now we bridge culture divides too!’
Gaweechat: ‘I grew up without electricity. Then I got a chance to learn to use computers to help other people. I believe in learning by doing. Let people take responsibility for their learning.’
Openmind Projects. Milestones and Recognition
Better learning methods
Fundraising to help more people
Our first ‘Mobile Camps’ for isolated Karen, Burma migrant students in the Thai Myanmar mountains, thanks to international sponsors.
They were very successful and popular and school will look to find finding for more learning camps in 2017.
Openmind Projects was invited to take part in an international campaign by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, “The Little Big Project”, to encourage volunteering in Thailand.
Openmind Projects won overwhelmingly with over a million votes winning 5000 USD which we donated to save endangered sea turtles.
We began to arrange for our own Learning Camps at our Nong Khai Center.
We connected with Burmese and Karen migrants, stateless, by the Thai Myanmar border to support local projects by recruiting volunteers to go there to help and donate computers to local projects.
We also began inviting Karen and Burmese students to our Training Center.
We were a finalist in the Stockholm Challenge, ICT for Development in 2008. Generous sponsors helped us to bring a group of five to present Openmind Projects work in Sweden.
We began inviting students from Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia to our special Learning Camps at our Training Center.
We improved our learning methods and began training our trainees to help run our Camps.
On to Cambodia
Openmind Projects visited Cambodia and Nepal, and decided to work with some local projects, and to invite trainees to our center and recruiting volunteer to the projects.
We were approached by CNN. They wanted to recommend Openmind Projects as one of the 'Be Your Own Change' initiatives.
We moved to our new Training Center, a former fitness center, which we converted to a Training Center!
We went to Laos, invited to support sustainable ecotourism and community development.
With volunteers we designed a website to promote Lao ecotourism, trekkingcentrallaos.com
And volunteers began to go there to help local villagers.
As a result, Openmind Projects initiated an ecotourism, community project in Northeast Thailand. We designed a website and made a video. Now the homestay is recommended by Lonely Planet, Ban Kham Pia , as one of the best in Thailand!
Openmind Projects expanded to South Thailand. We conducted teacher workshops and met national parks. After the tsunami on 26th December, 2004, Openmind Projects was one of the first organizations to help bring aid to people.
We changed name from IT in Isan to Openmind Projects, and designed a website to invite our own volunteers to help Thai village schools and children to learn IT and English. We have always practiced learning-by-doing, task based learning. Let students learn some skills and then apply it immediately. Or ask them to solve a problem, and to find out how to solve it. No traditional rote learning by heart!
Our initiatives were featured in The Bangkok Post and recognized by UNESCO.
And we opened our first very modest Center for trainees and volunteers.
And introduced our first volunteer training program.
We were invited to present our findings at an international conference, Closing Gaps in the Digital Divide, hosted by the Asian Institute of Technology in Bangkok and sponsored by the Asian Development Bank.
As a result international volunteers contacted us to help us.