ISV Finalists in the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s “Little Big Project” Competition

by on Thursday, 19 December 2013


Team Chang Rai’s campaign in the “Little Big Project” competition to support the children at the Mae Kok Foundation

Earlier in the year, ISV was one of five organisations to be approached by the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to be part of the “Little Big Project” which has been designed to encourage tourists to participate in a purposeful vacation in Thailand.  

For 12 weeks earlier this year, people from around the world were invited to enter the “The Little Big Project Thailand” online contest. The contest attracted over 4,500 entries from 68 countries with the top five entries coming from: the USA, the UK, Australia, Thailand and Indonesia.

Mr. Pitchawut Virutamawongse and Ms. Danielle Garafola were the two finalists with ISV © all images used with permission by International Student Volunteers Thailand

The winners received a free volunteer tourism experience in Thailand with participating organisations, one of which was ISV!  ISV hand-picked our project in Chiang Rai in Northern Thailand where we partnered with the Mae Kok Foundation which focused on community development initiatives with the Akha Hill Tribe Children, particularly in the areas of education and training.

In July, ten finalists were announced. Five teams of two participants (a foreigner and a Thai) were then assigned to undertake their various volunteer experiences. Each team had to share their daily experiences with a global audience by posting blogs, photos, videos, media interviews and travel stories with social media tools. The team that scored the most votes would win $5,000 for their host project.

“Chiang Rai Team”; Pichawut, Chonnikarn (ISV Project leader), Metreeya (ISV Tour leader) and Danielle.

The two finalists who volunteered with ISV at the Mae Kok Foundation under the name of “Chiang Rai team” were Mr. Pitchawut Virutamawongse or “Tae” and Ms. Danielle Garafola, a 23-year-old from New York.

  • About Tae – Mr. Pitchawut Virutamawongse or “Tae” is a 26 years old architect from Nonthaburi, Thailand. Pitchawut has worked in Singapore for almost 3 years. Wishing to have a life changing experience through volunteering and having the chance to help communities and explore new places and meet new people, he applied and is extremely grateful to have been chosen for the Little Big Project.
  • About Danielle – Ms. Danielle Garafola, a 23-year-old from New York, United States of America is an artist, a nature-lover, a volunteer, and a “wanna-be” world traveller. Danielle has a bachelor’s degree in Sociology majoring in Human Services. For the past 10 years she has been doing volunteer work with an incredible organization called the Hope Children’s Fund which established and maintains a children’s home for HIV/AIDS orphans in Meru, Kenya. Much of her desire to help others has stemmed from her experiences with this organisation and the amazing people involved with it.

    Project tasks were highly diverse and important for the daily operations at Mae Kok Foundation

During the two weeks project, Danielle and Pichawut were hosted by the Mae Kok Foundation along with two of ISV’s most experienced project and tour leaders; Chonnikarn “Dear” Petchprasidd (who has three years experience leading projects with ISV and is passionate in Children and Community Development) and Metreeya “May” Jaidee (May has five years of tour leading and tour managing experience with ISV).

Congratulations on becoming finalists Pitchawut and Danielle, and thank you for your contributions at the Mae Kok Foundation

At Mae Kok, Danielle and Tae took part in a variety of tasks designed to improve the lives of underprivileged Hill Tribe children by providing housing, sustainable food, education and other vocational training activities. These activities could include painting the guesthouse walls, teaching English, designing English lessons, planting vegetables and caring for the gardens, assisting teachers and many other vital duties. Apart from achieving their main goal of painting the guesthouse walls, they played with children, taught them English, designed English lessons, planted vegetables, cared for the gardens and helped with other work wherever possible. A highlight was spending time with the children and getting to know them a little better each day.

We want to congratulate Pictawut and Danielle for becoming finalists and thank them for their contribution with ISV at the Mae Kok Foundation.

To learn more about ISV’s program please visit our website –

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: