In 2001 we were IT learning pioneers in Northeast Thailand, dedicated to reduce poverty. We still are, in Southeast Asia.
Openmind Projects Foundation is an NGO active in Southeast Asia
Founded in 2002, registered in Thailand, 2/2556, and with a network of local people and a global network of supporters, we help village girls and boys to better education. We work to unlock tech and innovation to serve the poor! Diversity and inclusion is in our DNA. It unlocks creativity and innovation.
Breaking ethnic, cultural and gender barriers to reduce poverty, we bring different cultures, rich and poor, together to understand not only the opportunities of tech and 21st century learning but also the problems of the poor.
Right from our birth in 2001 we believed tech will help the poor and we’re passionate about implementing practical solutions to do the job! We do this in our three pillars: a Training Center, Learning Camps and villages. And our next ambition is to launch an online market place for villagers to be able to sell their products direct without middlemen. We do this with limited resources and depend on international support and donations.
Once upon a time
There was IT in Isan, a pioneer IT project in Northeast Thailand based on the idea that IT can be the poor man’s best help to learn out of poverty! Two orphan homes and a village were the first projects!
DED, Demonstrate, show children what they can do with a computer, give them time to Explore, find out by themselves, and they will eventually Discover, learn and share what the learned with their friends.
IT in Isan became Openmind Projects and since then we use this simple principle, Learn by Doing, to all projects, our Training Center, our Learning Camps and in the field, the villages.
Funding and Opportunities
Funding and Support
Originally Openmind Projects was wholly supported by our cofounder Sven. Later volunteer contributions have come play an important part.
Gaweechat and Sven work as volunteers and also continue to contribute to cover 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 supported by the US Rotary Club of San Jose and a US family foundation. Donations from previous volunteers have also helped us improve our center.
In the future we will however need significantly more donations to realize our ambitions, more camps and more trainees at our Center and online.
Life changing and learning experiences for overseas volunteers who come to our Center, Camps and field projects. They help while learning about another life and about themselves. Local volunteers also come to help their friends and learn at the same time.
All volunteers who condfirmed and paid are invited to start at a monthly and free volunteer training at our Center.
Trainee and Camper Opportunities
Over the years many young people have come from poor villages in Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia to improve themselves at our Center and Camps.
They learn to learn, while they learn English, IT, about the world, the future together with Openmind projects people, staff, trainees and volunteers.
Life changing and learning experiences for young people who learn to help others while improving themselves with the help of local friends and volunteers.
Cofounders Sven Mauleon and Gaweechat Joompaula
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. About Sven in leading Swedish newspaper, Goteborgs Posten
Gaweechat is the operating and IT manager, self-taught and always eager to learn more, 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.’
We have been improving Learning and training methods and programs as well as our learning camps and train the trainer training.
We arranged our first ‘Mobile Mountain Camps’ for Karen, Burmese migrant and refugee youth along the Thai Myanmar border.
We were invited to an international volunteer campaign and competition by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, “The Little Big Project”, to promote volunteering in Thailand and won with over a million votes receiving 5000 USD which we donated to a saving endangered leatherback turtles project.
We arranged our first Learning Camps at our Training Center in NongKhai, Thailand and campers set up their own We Love Openmind Projects Facebook Group.
We started working with Burmese and Karen migrants and stateless young people on the Thai Myanmar border and also began inviting them to our Training Center.
As finalists we were invited to the Stockholm Challenge, ICT for Development in 2008. Thai sponsors and and Swedish Saab helped us bring a group of five Openmind Projects representatives to Sweden.
We began inviting students from Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia to to study at our Training Center.
We visited projects in Cambodia and Nepal and decided to work with some local projects.
CNN contacted us and wanted to recommend Openmind Projects as one of the global 'Be Your Own Change' initiatives.
We moved to our new Training Center.
After the tsunami Southeast Asia on the 26th of December, 2004, Openmind Projects and its volunteers was some of the first to help bring aid to people together with the Rotary Club of Patong.
We were invited to Laos to discuss support to sustainable ecotourism and community development, as a result we support several Laos communities and together with our volunteers we designed a website to promote Laos ecotourism, http://www.trekkingcentrallaos.com. And recruited volunteers to go there to help villagers.
We also initiated an ecotourism and community project in Northeast Thailand, designed a website, made a video, volunteers helped villagers. The local homestay is now recommended by Lonely Planet!
Openmind Projects visited South Thailand, conducted teacher workshops, met national parks and agreed to support some schools with volunteers.
We changed name from IT in Isan to Openmind Projects, designed our website to invite volunteers to teach IT and English to poor village children our Learning by Doing way. Let students learn something and then use what they learned immediately. No traditional rote learning, memorizing. See our Learning Idea
Our initiatives were featured in the Bangkok Post and recognized by UNESCO where cofounder Sven Mauleon also wrote about eco tourism in Thailand, 'Going Ethno in Isan'.
We opened our first very modest Openmind House for our first young trainees from an orphan home and a temple and for our first volunteers for whom we introduced our first volunteer and criss culture training program, see today's Volunteer Training version
Sven initiated a pilot project at two orphan homes and one village, to test IT learning for poor and isolated village children in Northeast Thailand, Isan, called IT in Isan. Gaweechat joined the project.
We were invited to present our pilot training projects at the Asian Institute of technology, in an international conference, 'Closing Gaps in the Digital Divide', sponsored by the Asian Development Bank.