YOUR SKILLS ARE LIFE CHANGING
Could you give your time and talents to support children in Thailand? Our partner charity, CCD, welcomes volunteers and professional interns from all over the world to work alongside their own employed staff with children and communities. For Life Thailand is responsible for managing all volunteers from Europe. If you are applying to volunteer from outside Europe, please click here.
For Life Thailand and CCD promote ethical volunteering. This means volunteering in a meaningful and mindful way with organisations that do not cause any harm, exploit or enforce its own ideals on the individuals and communities it serves. To ensure our volunteering opportunities are ethical and rewarding for both volunteers and communities, we invite volunteers with specific skills and qualifications or those with a talent and passion for caring for children.
We do not accept volunteers on short-term placements (less than 3 months long) or as part of a tour or travel plans. This ensure that placements are meaningful and rewarding and do not cause disruption or harm to communities. We also screen prospective volunteers to ensure their suitability for the role and will not accept individuals without proper interviewing and training. For more information please see our FAQs.
Placements are available for volunteers looking to spend between 3 and 6 months working in Thailand.
Placements are available for volunteers looking to spend between 6 months and 1 year in Thailand.
We can offer internships to students studying relevant disciplines and require an industry placement as part of their course.
We offer flexible placements to qualified professionals in physiotherapy, social care, speech and language therapy, special education or other relevant professions.
“Volunteering was an immensely rewarding time; being able to utilise my skills to help some very needy children and even see some small yet significant changes in their lives.”
Am I suitable to volunteer?
Volunteers must be patient, adaptable, caring and considerate and enjoy working with children. Following instructions from the Thai staff and working in a large team forms a significant part of the volunteer’s role. As a volunteer, you are representing CCD and will be expected to follow their ethical code in your treatment of the children, fellow staff members, the government staff, and in your conduct outside of working hours. Volunteers must be respectful of CCD’s Code of Conduct and sensitive to Thai culture at all times.
Due to the vulnerable nature of the people you will be looking after, no-one with a previous conviction of violence or sexual abuse towards children or adults is suitable for the volunteer role. Please see our Policy on Screening Volunteers Regarding Criminal Convictions for more information (available on request).
What is a normal working day like?
Working hours at CCD are Monday to Friday, 8.00am to 3.30pm. Volunteers must be able to maintain these working hours reliably. The work is very physical in nature and will require you to sit on the floor and bend over to pick children up. Your health must enable you to do this in extremely hot and humid conditions. The work is also very emotionally draining, and therefore volunteers must show a level of emotional stability and maturity.
Due to the vulnerable nature of the people you will be looking after, no-one with a previous conviction of violence or sexual abuse towards children or adults is suitable for the Volunteer role. Please see our Policy on Screening Volunteers Regarding Criminal Convictions for more information (available on request).
Will I receive any training, preparation or support?
For Life provides a mandatory training session for volunteers (prior to flying out to Thailand), which includes an introduction to CCD’s projects, Thai culture, disabilities in Thailand, CCD’s ethos, health advice, visa advice, child protection, our relevant policies and how to be a good volunteer. Once volunteers arrive at CCD, the CCD Volunteer Coordinator will arrange an induction/orientation, and is available to provide support for any concerns or queries. The For Life Volunteer Coordinator is also there to support you from the UK, and give the opportunity for debriefing and feedback to volunteers when they return home.
Where will I stay?
CCD rent a local house for volunteers. Accommodation is comfortable but basic, and you will probably share your room with other volunteers of the same gender. There is a communal kitchen and lounge, and two shared bathrooms. There is washing machine and WiFi available for volunteers to use. The house is not air-conditioned, but there are plenty of electric fans available. Volunteers are required to contribute to the cost of their accommodation, this is usually around £50 per month.
How much will it cost?
Volunteers must cover the cost of their trip themselves, and CCD keep costs as low as possible so as to make it affordable. You will need to consider the cost of flights, health insurance and vaccinations prior to your arrival, and general living costs while you are volunteering (food, travel etc.). Please take these costs into account and ensure that you are able to fund yourself, or raise financial support, before you apply. You must take into account flights (from the UK, these vary between £350-£1,000), travel vaccinations, travel insurance, your visa, accommodation and living costs (food, transport, leisure, etc.) Please contact us for an approximate breakdown of costs when at CCD (e.g. CCD administration charges, rough cost of living etc.).
What is the local area like?
CCD is based in an area called Pakkred, just north of Bangkok. It is a busy town with good connections into Bangkok, and sits on the banks of the Chao Phraya river, near to the tiny village island of Koh Kret. The streets are constantly sprawling with market stalls, and every CCD project is located within easy distance of each other, either by bus, bicycle or motorbike taxi (not for the fainthearted!). There are a few local swimming pools, shopping malls, supermarkets and a cinema.
What is the food like?
Thai food is delicious! The diet centres around rice or noodles, and is very flavoursome; fish sauce, garlic and chillies are key ingredients. Stir-fries, soups and curries are readily available, and most Thai people buy their meals freshly cooked from one of the hundreds of food stalls that line the streets. This is the cheapest, simplest and most cultural way to eat! It is very difficult to source Western food during the working day, so volunteers must be willing and able to eat Thai food as their main diet. There are also Western fast food restaurants available, as well as limited typical Western ingredients in supermarkets, but these options are both very expensive in comparison to Thai food.
Will there be other volunteers there?
Our volunteer numbers rise and fall throughout the year, so we advise applicants to be prepared to be either one of the only “foreigners” around, or likewise to have a full house which requires you to share a room. CCD welcomes volunteers from all over the world, so as well as immersing yourself into Thai culture, the volunteer house itself can be quite an international experience! Whether there are other volunteers around or not, the local CCD staff members are incredibly warm and friendly and love to welcome volunteers and get to know them.
When can I book my flights?
We advise all applicants not to book their flights until they have received official confirmation of acceptance as a volunteer. We also ask that volunteers liaise with us directly about arrival times before booking flights – we generally require volunteers to book their flights to arrive during working hours, Monday to Friday (so that a staff member can meet you at the airport), however there are often other factors such as bank holidays to consider as well as staff availability on certain days, therefore we ask that all arrival dates and times are approved with us prior to booking.
Will I need a visa?
You will need to obtain a visa from the Thai Embassy in order to volunteer for CCD. Once you have been accepted, we will send you a letter and other supporting documents you need to apply for a Non-Immigrant Visa (category “O”). You will need to take this to the Embassy or Consulate, along with other necessary documentation. Requirements do vary between Embassies/Consulates, and do sometimes change, so make sure you check these before going! It is also sometimes possible to apply by post. We will provide the support you need to acquire your visa before leaving for Thailand.
Will I need vaccinations?
It is highly recommended that volunteers have up-to-date vaccinations for Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio. Some of these require a course of injections over a number of weeks, so you will need to factor this into your planning schedule. Your doctor or nurse may also advise you to consider vaccinations against Hepatitis B, Rabies, Japanese Encephalitis and Typhoid. There are also plenty of mosquitoes! Take a good quality mosquito repellent containing DEET with you. We advise all volunteers to contact their GP or travel nurse for the most up to date guidelines on whether there are malarial zones in Thailand.
What about my health while I am in Thailand?
If you have an existing health condition, even if it is well-managed, we recommend you ask your doctor whether or not they are happy for you to travel. This is because the extreme heat, humidity and dust can often exacerbate conditions.
Volunteers must be aware that they will be required to sit on the floor with their legs crossed for long periods of time – this is a cultural practice. Volunteers must also be able to cope with heavy lifting. If you suffer from joint problems, mobility problems or bone problems, you must seriously consider whether or not this is the right placement for you.
We strongly recommend that volunteers take out travel insurance with good medical coverage. There are several excellent private international hospitals nearby in Bangkok, but they are very expensive! Travel insurance will help with this. We recommend that volunteers only use these private hospitals if they need medical care.
Can I take any holiday or go travelling?
Volunteers can take up to 20 days holiday a year pro rata – this means you can take 5 days holiday for every 3 months of volunteering. Many volunteers actually prefer to go travelling before or after their volunteering placement, to allow them to travel further afield and make the most of their time both at CCD and in beautiful South East Asia.
You can find out more about life as a volunteer on our blog.