Volunteer in Northeast Thailand, the unknown Isaan
Help young villagers from the poor Northeast to a better life. These children of rice farmers are left behind in isolated villages and schools. They leave school with little education and few opportunities; a factory in Bangkok or abroad. They work in a tourist bar or on the beach in the South. You don’t find many young in the villages. They all go for low paid jobs elsewhere.
Volunteer with Openmind Projects, a non profit, NGO
Volunteer in Northeastern Thailand and enjoy the hospitality and friendship of the Isaan people. Welcome to our Center by the Mekong River where we will introduce you to volunteer work and teaching, culture and language! Read about our Volunteer Training, https://www.openmindprojects.org/volunteer-training. Read also about our Center, https://www.openmindprojects.org/innovative-learning-center .
Work and Life as a Volunteer in Northeast Thailand
Teach English. Most of you teach English at a school, at our Center, a school, temple or juvenile detention center. Our trainees and the English teachers, young monks are happy to have someone who speaks fluent English to help them.
Teach IT. DED. Demonstrate how to use a computer. Let the students try, explore, and they will discover what they can do! Let curiosity and inspiration drive learning, our motto! Train students to search online to learn and combine this with English, making presentations about what they have learned.
We practice Learning by Doing at our Center, listen and speak. Avoid struggling with difficult grammar. Instead make the school children and our trainees like and gain the confidence to speak English.
Doctors, nurses, farmers and doers. You may volunteer with us, hands on practical minded volunteers are welcome and we will discuss how you can help. We are always open to discuss how volunteers can help depending on interests, experience and skills. Tell us!
Prepare to Volunteer. Try to come for a few extra days at our Center before you start! Extra days at no cost. Learn about volunteering, work, teach, culture and some language too!
Stay and Eat. Volunteers either stay at a our Center, a guesthouse or with a host family, mostly a teacher. You have lunch with our trainees or teachers and students at the school, dinner at our Center or with your host family or try a local place!
Work. You normally volunteer work 4 - 6 hours per day and spend some time to prepare lessons. And of course spend time with our trainees or the kids in the village
Your Free Time. Enjoy NongKhai town and also the nature of the Northeast, the mighty Mekong River, mountains and national parks. Enjoy its rural culture, with more temples and villages than elsewhere in Thailand, Enjoy the happy Isaan music, the incredibly spicy papaya salad, ‘som tam’! Use your week ends to explore the sights of NongKhai, the famous sculpture park, the night market by the river, try the grilled bugs. Don't miss the rest of the unknown Isaan, the Mekong River, the mountains. Go wild elephant trekking in the mountains where Openmind Projects helped create an eco tourist destination recommended by Lonely Planet. There is also one of the scariest cliff walks according to the National Geographic! Maybe come along with one of our Laos trainees to his/her village! They will be happy to show you, a great way for them to practice English too! Go exploring with your local friends!
Eat. Try the food, the tasty som tam, papata salad, the sticky rice typical of the North and Laos. Maybe something even more exotic like a cricket, scorpion!
Read also about The Heart of Indochina
Did you know this about the Laos Thailand?
Isaan is the least-visited region in Thailand and the poorest! But with the most spectacular sunset in Thailand, over the Mekong River! One third of the country, in space and population, the friendly Isaan rice farmers speak Lao, not Thai!
In October, every full moon night, strange fireballs rise out of the Mekong, the Naga fireballs!
The unique Sala Kaew Khu Temple and Sculpture Park in NongKhai, features gigantic statues of the Lord Buddha.
NongKhai is the gateway to Laos and a truly Indochinese town, where Vietnamese, Chinese, Thai, Isaan, Lao mix, work and live together.
You find many ancient Khmer temples in Isaan and many national parks some where you can go wild elephant trekking.
Farming is the main livelihood but millions of young Isaan economic refugees head for Bangkok, or abroad to find a job.