The impact volunteers have on communities worldwide is massive. Volunteers make a distinct difference in daily life by doing tasks such as firefighting, search and rescue, delivering meals for seniors and to the homeless, and manning the phone lines at abuse centers, just to name a few of the many jobs volunteers contribute to. Volunteering is a fulfilling and rewarding service to society, and Pattaya has many volunteering opportunities that are available for both tourists and locals to participate in.
The common perception of volunteering is that the person who volunteers does so solely for the benefit of others and the greater good of the community. However, it is important to realize that volunteering also holds a certain amount of personal benefits for many people. Some people are not comfortable with the idea of a volunteer benefitting from their charity work because of the belief that volunteering should be a selfless act. The truth is, volunteering is more of an exchange in the mindset of volunteers who benefit from their work with others. Neighborhood watches are a good example of volunteering that benefits the volunteer. While watching out for others, the volunteer is also watching out for trouble for themselves. While not all volunteering is selfless, it is helpful and a needed part of a community.
Commitment and Cost
When volunteering in Thailand, be aware that some volunteer services require a minimum amount commitment in order for a person to volunteer, and some costs may be required for living expenses. A volunteer’s required commitment to an organization can be anywhere from a day drop-in to 6 months. Therefore, when choosing a volunteering opportunity, be sure to research the organization of choice and know all facts in regards to costs and commitment.
However, if the idea is to come to Thailand to volunteer first then vacation later, it is ideal to select an accommodation that fits your budget. One hotel to consider is the Holiday Inn Pattaya, a budget-friendly hotel offering rooms and services to travelers staying in Pattaya.
The Mercy Center in Pattaya is a small, yet very committed, Christian organization that consists of missionaries and volunteers. Mercy focuses on education, moral, social, and spiritual training for the poor of Pattaya. Mercy undertakes strategic projects to transform poor communities in Pattaya, such as providing food and water, clothing, visiting widows, orphans, and prisoners, as well as, caring for and visiting those who are sick. Volunteers are welcome; just contact the coordinators for details on costs, accommodations, and the amount of commitment time needed.
Father Ray Foundation
The Father Ray Foundation educates and cares for orphaned, abandoned, abused, and disabled children. The foundation is located in Pattaya and relies on volunteers to assist the local Thai staff in order to provide the best possible life for the over 850 children in residence. There is a minimum commitment of 6 months to volunteer with the foundation, but volunteers receive free accommodation and food during their stay. Volunteers will enjoy a varied work schedule and take part in all aspects of the foundation. Volunteers will work teaching English at the vocational school for the disabled, accompany blind students on a trip to the beach, as well as teach them English, take daily walks with the elderly, spend time with street children at the drop-in center, and participate in arts and crafts at the children’s village, just to name a few of the many activities.
Volunteering With Elephants
The Elephant Mahout Project is 20Km south of Pattaya. This particular volunteer experience does cost money for each individual participating, listed at 450 GBP per person, per week. However, the fees are for each person’s accommodation, meals, project fees, and English speaking support. Although there is a distinct cost for this particular volunteering project, all proceeds go towards the elephant sanctuary. This UK based charity provides a unique opportunity to understand domestic Thai elephants and their relationships with their mahout. While in residence, volunteers participating in this project will have the opportunity to live in and understand the traditional life of the mahouts and participate in communal activities. Each volunteer will work with one elephant and their mahout throughout the duration of their stay, and will follow a progressive training schedule. The volunteer will learn how to feed, ride, and care for their elephant.