ISV Volunteer Shares Her Experience in Thailand

by on Friday, 17 August 2012

Teaching English to Grade 2 © used with permission by Stefanie Langley, Project Leader, ISV Thailand

ISV has been sending volunteers to the Baan Unrak children’s home since 2007.  The project has a profound impact on the volunteers as they interact with the 140 children that call Baan Unrak home and learn about complex social issues such as: child abuse, neglect and poverty, displaced families, political/economic refugees crossing from Burma, migrant workers’ limited rights in Thailand, sex trafficking, etc. Lauren Bland, a recent volunteer with ISV at Baan Unrak, shared this about her experience:

Baan Unrak Grade 4 learning with ISV © used with permission by Stefanie Langley Project Leader, ISV Thailand

 

“Driving uphill to what looks like a mansion from afar, immediately your nerves are on edge not knowing what to expect, who will be there? Who are the children? What will this experience be to them? Right foot out, Left foot out, one step at a time, repeats over and over again in your head but as soon as your eyes meet the sparkle in a Baan Unrak child’s eyes, a smile instantly takes over your face and you are rushed with an encourageable love that truly takes your breath away.  As a short term volunteer many of us will say that despite the fact we were here only for 2 weeks, we know our presence affects the children at Baan Unrak as they share the joy of having someone care about them, care about their well being, and care about their happiness.

Baan Unrak © used with permission by Narelle Webber, ISV International Program Director

In a very short span of two weeks ISV has repainted the interior halls of the main home, added a few murals which we know will help maintain the cheery home environment, and taught English to the kindergarten, second and fourth grade classes at the Baan Unrak School. We have spent time knowing the children and giving them extra love that most will find necessary to cope with life’s hardships. For our group of ISV volunteers this has been a very humbling experience and also very rewarding, it instills a greater appreciation for the everyday things we may take for granted back home. This opportunity is not just one for the children but we have realized that this is very much a symbiotic relationship and that we, the volunteers, have gained probably more than the children have.

Leaving these children with positive memories that will last a lifetime is the most precious gift that any volunteer could ever give a child. Through our experience here at Baan Unrak we have learned a great deal about sustainable development and healthier living habits, which we plan on taking home with us and raising more awareness wherever we can.”

© used with permission by Lauren Bland

To learn more about ISV’s community development and children’s programs in Thailand visit our website www.isvolunteers.org.

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