Please note: Volunteers will be working extensively with children. Baan Dada therefore requires a completed application form and one of the following from all applicants: a criminal record report or a referral letter from a long-term volunteer (past or present).
Water Conservation Project:
A drip irrigation pipe has been installed. We are waiting for the greenhouse to be finished by the end of April and we will isntall the rest of the drip irriagation inside the greenhouse. The pipe goes along the gardens and can be rotated according to the needs of the vegetable plants. Volunteers can help with clearing the area, maintaining the area and doing gardening.
The 40 x 140 meter greenhouse is in the final stages of installing the roof. If anyone can help with planting vegetables for all seasons or raising money for buying seeds and tools to get the project on the way, this would be very helpful. We hope to finish the project before the rainy season begins in June.
Composting and gardening:
To support our agriculture project, we want to produce our own organic compost in liquid and dry form. We are also planning to build a composting toilet as a part of this project. This will be particularly useful in the dry season when there is limited water. We prefer volunteers who have knowledge about composting to take this project. However, volunteers who have an interest in this are welcome also.
***Volunteer Required*** We are seeking volunteers (long term 6 months plus preferred, short term also welcome) with farming or agriculture experience, who can preferrably work self-supervised, although those with a strong interest can receive some guidance and supervision. Areas of work would include weeding, watering plants, composting, water conservation, irrigation and the greenhouse. Those interested please complete the application form!
Second Floor Boys House:
Installation of a metal railing around the second floor, painting of the walls and plastering of the support beams will begin around the beginning of May. Volunteers are needed to assist in welding work, painting of the metal and walls and plastering.
We are currently renovating our kitchen and dining area. Volunteers can assist with constructing a bamboo fence around the area, painting the C-section frame and concrete work. The projects will be completed according to the schedule of volunteers and fundraising to buy the paint is needed for this project.
This meditation center will be available for everyone at the home (volunteers, children, workers) who want to have a quiet time and space for meditation. This project needs hardworking, fearless volunteers who aren’t afraid of jungle vegetation and getting dirty. In the beginning, volunteers will help in clearing the area and digging the pond. Later on, they can help with construction of the building. A volunteer with landscaping experience would be useful for this project.
Volunteers who have knowledge about how to administer vaccinations (nurses, pharmacists, doctors, etc.) can assist with our vaccination program at the Thai/Burma border. Visit our community projects page for more information.
Eye Care Program:
Visit our community projects page for more information.
***Volunteer Required*** We are seeking optometrists to assist our eye care program. We haven’t done this program for one year due to lack of volunteers. Those interested please complete the application form!
English teaching is one of the most important ways volunteers can help the children at Baan Dada succeed and is therefore a compulsory part of volunteering. The children are divided into groups by skill level and receive classes at night after dinner when there are enough volunteers. They often have English homework also and are grateful for one-on-one tutoring.
In addition, the local school which the children attend in Huay Ma Lai is always grateful for English speakers to come and teach in the school. A schedule can be made for teaching according the the volunteer’s availability.
Baan Dada provides an ideal field for learning and exchange for volunteers. The basic atmosphere is holistic, with regular weekly yoga, and meditation practices (which you can join if you like), vegetarian meals and dedication to the service of others.
Baan Dada offers food and accommodation and asks for a small contribution of:
400 baht per night (volunteering more than 2 weeks)
500 baht per night (volunteering less than 2 weeks)
All volunteer monetary contributions go strictly towards the supplied food, accommodation, extra wages for the single-mother cooks and care givers, and maintenance of the Home.
Please note that Baan Dada has a very tight budget. To make it easier for us to manage your day to day needs, it is essential that you pay the appropriate amount for your entire stay upon arrival or on the next day. Money can be given to the Volunteer Co-ordinator. If there is no Volunteer Co-ordinator, please place money in the donation box in our office and write it up in the ’Log Book’.
We also have a ‘Registration Book’ for incoming volunteers which has to be filled in upon arrival or on the next day.
Length of volunteering time:
Volunteering is for a minimum of 1 week. Groups coming to Baan Dada to complete certain tasks or projects will be an exception. In saying this, the longer your can volunteer at Baan Dada the better for both you, the children and the Home!
Please think about your motivation for volunteering. Remember that volunteering with us is not a holiday. There will be a combination of office work, teaching English and physical work. Often the work is labor intensive and teaching can be frustrating, but it is always worth it in the end. It can also be stressful for some people to live in such a remote area, so take this into account as well.
The volunteer house will also need to be kept tidy and cleaned on a regular basis.
If you are interested in volunteering, please read ALL of the description below before sending us an email as this information should answer most questions.
Teaching English is one of the most important jobs a volunteer can do!! It will help carry the children all the way to university. You also can teach arts, music, or any other skills you have, or simply organise different activities for the children.
There are always many other jobs to do from building, farming, tutoring, driving, administration work in the office, cooking, fundraising or helping to support the many community projects Baan Dada is involved with. The volunteers can also greatly contribute in their own ways and enhance the progress and development of projects. Volunteers are welcome throughout the year.
We are seeking volunteers from all backgrounds who are experienced (or are eager to gain experience!) in a variety of skills. We are especially in need those with experience in:
- Teaching (English, music, art, and computers)
- Engineering, metal work, and masonery (to help with construction projects, and or teach about mechanical things)
- Agricultural skills (if you have knowledge about grafting, seedlings, or general agriculture and would like to volunteer please specify in your email)
- Graphic design and office experience (to help with press releases, fliers and website maintenance, and fund raising)
- Medical fields (to help with the children’s health, and eye care program)
The volunteers will be communicating with a mentor at the project who will oversee the needs and work of the volunteer (of course we like volunteers who are self-driven). If you are interested and able to volunteer time from your own country, we have many things you may be able to help us with. Please contact us for details.
The project is free of drugs, alcohol, and smoking. Anyone can have a drink, but they must stay in a guest house in Sangklaburi for the evening. Smoking is permitted FAR from the view of any children, as it is not the type of behavior we want them to replicate.
Volunteers will be responsible for their own return ticket, health insurance, and visa arrangements. They are expected to respect the local cultural norms and holistic lifestyle at the project.
Please make sure to make arrangements with us prior to arrival so we can make sure there is a bed available!!
WHAT YOU SHOULD BRING?
- Toilet paper
- Mosquito repellent
- Washcloth and Quick Drying Travel Towel
- A spare pair of rubber sandals / flip flops to wear in the bathroom areas
- Long clothing to protect from mosquitoes at night. Breathable fabric is good.
- Malaria tablets
- A torch/flashlight
- If in rainy season, waterproof or quick dry clothing and rubber flip-flops (June – October)
- Cash for your stay, ATM’s can be found at Siam Bank and Krungthai Bank in Sangklaburi town. Bring enough to pay for your stay in advance and buy some snacks and other small things (cheap convenience stores are 20 mins walk)
- A small First Aid Kit, plasters/bandages for blisters etc.
- Wet Wipes
- Sanitary Napkins or Tampons
Here is a list of the things we provide:
- Blankets, pillows and sleeping sheets
- Mosquito net
- Fridge, water boiler, toaster and kettle (when they are all working)
- Safe drinking water
- 3 cooked vegetarian meals a day
- Internet access
Here is a list of Items you can bring for the kids
Note: Items such as school supplies, toys, medical gear and so forth can be purchased much more cheaply in Thailand. It saves travelers cash and space to bring the money rather than items. That being said, there are some things that you can bring that are harder for us to get a hold of cheaply:
- Educational games, new laptops, software, and computer supplies
- Used eyeglasses, and sunglasses preferably real UV protected
- High end specialized tools (such as those for auto and bicycle maintenance)
- Old jewellery, accessories, and used clothing (baby clothes and mens shirts sell well) for the children to sell on market day
- Old digital cameras (preferably still in working condition)
If you have a question about what you might like to bring please include it in your email.
IF YOU ARE ABLE TO DO SOME FUND RAISING
Many volunteers do some fundraising before going to Baan Dada. This allows them to pour money into the project that they are most passionate about, or perhaps propose a new project. In the past ex-volunteers have conducted small charity dinners, walks, concerts, or bike rides and have raised thousands!! If you have questions about how to conduct such an event a list of volunteer contacts is at the bottom of this page. Please email them and ask about their time at Baan Dada and the projects they helped create.
HOW DO I GET TO BAAN DADA?
You can use the Northern or Southern Bus terminal to reach Sangkhlaburi (a town 13 km from Baan Dada).
Northern Bus Terminal (MOCHIT):
Air conditioned buses leave Mo Chit bus station and go directly to Sangkhlaburi town(6-8 hours). Last bus leaves Bangkok at 9:30 am. Get there within plenty of time for the bus you want to catch as tickets often sell out early! If the bus is sold out, you can get a mini-van to Kanchanaburi. From Kanchanaburi, a van leaves for Sangkhlaburi every hour (Last van leaves at 4:30pm).
Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai):
Air conditioned buses leave Sai Tai Mai for Kanchanaburi every thirty minutes. It is a minimum two hours ride. From Kanchanaburi, a van leaves for Sangkhlaburi every hour (Last van leaves at 4:30pm).
If you arrive at Kanchanaburi after 2:00 pm, it’s strongly suggested that you should stay there for one night (the Jolly Frog is a cheap hostel) and then catch a bus to Sangkhlaburi on the next day. Since it takes about 3-4 hours from Kanchanaburi to Sangkhlaburi by bus, there will be no Songthaews or motorbikes from Sangkhlaburi to Baan Dada after 6:00 pm.
There are buses in Kanchanaburi bus station going to Sangkhlaburi and the last bus leaves at 3:30 pm.
Once in Sangkhlaburi
If you arriving from the Southern or Northern Bus terminal, you will be dropped at Sanghkaburi Bus station. At the southern end of the parking lot (same end as shop called “7/11″), there should be a few green songthaews (covered pick-up trucks). Get on a Songthaew that is heading for Huay Ma Lai (the village where Baan Dada is located). There are no English signs, just walk up to the drivers or the people hanging out near the songthaews and say “Huay Ma Lai” or “Baan Dada”. All of the drivers know about Baan Dada and will know where to drop you. Huay Ma Lai is about 13 km from Sangkhlaburi and the songthaew ride is 40-60 baht (depending on how many people are in the songthaew; 300 baht if you are on your own).
Alternatively, you could catch a ride on a motorbike or truck by the stand just outside the large parking lot and go to Baan Dada. It should cost around 150 baht per person.
Once in Huay Ma Lai
The songthaew driver may offer to drop you off at the orphanage; however, this is usually not the case. The songthaew should drop you at a crossroad bus stop with a small waiting stand on the right. You will be walking from this point. Take the right at the crossroads. Walk about 500 meters, you will go up a hill, and then down it. Early into the walk there should be a small Christian foundation on your right. At the top of the hill there should be a clay and dirt quarry on your right, next to a rubber tree plantation. You will come to another crossroads intersection as you are going down the hill. Take a right at the Baan Dada sign.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What’s the weather like?
There are three seasons, warm season from February till May, rainy season from the end of June till October and the ‘cool’ season which extends from November till January. From February till October the temperature averages at around 35°C but during the cool season it can reach as low as 10°C, so remember to bring layers. During rainy season there is frequent unpredictable rain.
What about drugs, alcohol and smoking?
The project is free of drugs, alcohol and smoking. Anyone can have a drink, but they must stay in a guesthouse in Sanghklaburi for the evening. Smoking is permitted FAR from the view of any children and also is not permitted at or near the volunteer house, as it is not the type of behavior we want the children to replicate. Be a good role model!
Where do I dispose of my garbage?
Garbage is separated into ‘rubbish’ and ‘recycling’ at the volunteer house. When the bins are full, the rubbish goes near the girls house to be burnt and the recycling goes into a large container outside the weaving room for the Dada’s to collect as they get money back for the bottles.
Is there a dress code?
There is no enforced dress code. It is advised however to not wear anything too revealing or short, to fit in with the culture of Baan Dada. Comfortable, practical clothes are best. Bring some older clothes too, which you are happy to get dirty!
Is there Internet access or cellphone service?
Yes, there is phone service, and there are computers in the office with Internet access (wired and wifi), but volunteers have to share them with the staff and the children. Office work takes priorty over personal internet use on Baan Dada computers. There is also good mobile phone service in the area – you can either use your phone with your existing cell phone number or you can buy a Thai SIM card in Bangkok, at 7-11s or at a mobile phone store in Thailand to pop into your own phone (Currently only 1-2-Call has reception in the area). Data services for many smart phones also work here, but check your phone carrier for roaming and international charges.
Is there a post office nearby?
Yes. There is a post office in Sangklaburi.
Do volunteers sleep in the same space as the children or separately?
It is not prohibited to sleep where the children sleep, but it is not common.
What are volunteer conditions like?
There is one main volunteer house, as well as 3 other bamboo huts. A couple of the toilets are ‘western’ and there is one shower with ‘warm’ water, while the other showers involve showering with a bucket of water. The volunteer house is situated 5 minutes walk from the main living area of Baan Dada. There is a volunteer fridge, kettle, toaster and fans available, and electrical plugs in rooms.
Do males and females sleep together?
There are no ‘rules’ for where to sleep in the volunteer house. It is completely up to the volunteers.
It depends on how many volunteers are staying at Baan Dada, but sometimes yes.
Does the volunteer house have electricity? Internet access?
There is electricity at the house but internet access does not reach there. Power outages are common, especially during the rainy season.
What about food and water?
The ‘Mothers’ who live and work at Baan Dada cook three vegetarian meals a day, which don’t include eggs, mushrooms, onion or garlic. However, sometimes treats such as Burmese tea leaf salad which contains garlic is bought from the market. There is usually no dairy either as it is too expensive. There is usually fruit included with the meals, but more can be purchased at the local Thursday morning market which is a 20 minute walk away in Huay Malai, or in Sanghklaburi. It is not allowed to bring meat to Baan Dada. Most volunteers comment on how great the food is. You can also help to cook, especially if they are understaffed in the kitchen – usually around 4am, 10am and 3pm. There is safe water available from one tap in the kitchen. It is fine to use the water in the taps at the volunteer house to clean your teeth, but make sure not to swallow the water.
Will I be washing my own clothes?
Usually volunteers hand wash their own clothes at the volunteer house. There is plenty of space to dry clothes there. However, there are washing machines at the Home which the Mothers use and can wash your clothes for a small donation.
Are there any medical risks?
It is recommended by doctors at the local hospital that you should use a anti-malarial prophylactic – Doxycyclin or Malarone is currently recommended. Please consult your physician for up to date advice. Please note the anti- malaria tablets are readily available here for a fraction of the price you may pay in your home country.
How long can I stay with a tourist visa?
Usually 30 days. It is up to the volunteer to organize their own visa. Please check with the Thai embassy or consulate in your country before coming to Thailand.
Can I extend my visa once in Thailand?
Yes. It depends on what kind of visa you have. Sometimes you can pay for a visa extension at an immigration office in Thailand, other times you may have to exit and re enter Thailand. Many volunteers opt to do this via Malaysia, Cambodia or Laos. We are close to the Burma border, although sometimes the border is not open.
Am I expected to take part in any religious practice?
No. There is regular meditation practice which is open to all, but not at all compulsory.
Is there a Volunteer schedule?
Weekly meetings will be held to create agreed upon schedules.
What will I be doing?
There are ongoing projects which volunteers can take part in, for example the construction of a new workshop and daily small group English lessons. Teaching skills to the children and fundraising money for the home are always welcomed activities for volunteers to take part in.
Do I have free time?
Yes. Volunteers are advised to take at least one day off every week, and are welcome to have time off during the day.
How many volunteers are there at one time?
Anywhere from 1 volunteer to many. We have comfortably held over 30 volunteers in the past.
Is all of the work physical?
There is a lot of construction going on at any one time, however, there are always jobs which need little physical exertion, such as teaching and office work.
Should I be able to speak Thai?
No. It is not necessary to speak Thai, Burmese, Karen or Mon. Both Dadas speak English. The children’s abilities to speak English range form very little to a good level of conversation English. Most of the younger children speak Karen amongst themselves, while the older children speak Thai. You won’t need to speak Thai to use the transportation to Baan Dada, however be patient if people cannot understand your pronunciation of place names.
Are there any animals at Baan Dada?
At the moment there are 6 cats, so please bring any allergy medication if required.
PREVIOUS VOLUNTEER CONTACTS
The following past volunteers would be happy to tell you more about their time at Baan Dada and the projects they helped create and complete
- Sean Jewell (USA) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Heidi (Australia) email@example.com
- Pol (Belgium) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Machteld (Belgium) email@example.com
- Mathijs (Belgium) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Katie (England) email@example.com
- Kate (Canada) firstname.lastname@example.org
- Katie Cumbers (England) Katiecumbers@live.com
- Matt Donatelle (USA) email@example.com
Now that you have read the above information all that is left is for you to do is email us with (1) your completed application form and (2) your criminal record report or a referral letter from a past or present long-term volunteer.
THANKS SO MUCH, WE LOOK FORWARD TO MEETING YOU!