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VOLUNTEER POSITIVE IN THAILAND
Stories From Volunteer Positive Alumni in Chiang Mai
Our staff will walk you through all the steps necessary to prepare you for your service experience and are excited to be serving with you. Volunteer Positive is building this first of a kind program with expert support from The International Partnership for Service Learning and Leadership, experts from Payap University's Center for Southeast Asian Studies, and leading HIV and non HIV related NGO's servicing the northern Thai area based in Chiang Mai. Volunteer Positive staff will be with you during the entirety of the program and are looking forward to serving with you.
Jutatip Dechaboon, aka "Ann" is a long time resident of Chiang Mai and has been active in the HIV community as an activist, trainer, caregiver, capacity builder and leader or over 10 years. A recognized local expert and HIV counsellor, Ann has represented the changing needs of the northern Thailand HIV community both nationally and internationally. She sits on various community NGO boards directing HIV outreach and advocacy, is a talented voice over artist, and an activist for women's rights and all human rights. Ann works closely with Volunteer Positive's founder matching the needs of the community to the talents of the volunteers while delivering consistent and comprehensive support and feedback. Her easy laugh and flexible style are the epitome of what a local leader should be; caring, demanding, and anchored in the needs of those who are most vulnerable.
HIV Travel Policy for Thailand
Thailand has no restrictions on tourist travel into the country regarding HIV. All volunteers must consult with and be cleared by their personal physician before being allowed to participate in a program. Your safety is our primary concern.
Chiang Mai has excellent health centers, as does Thailand in general. In addition all volunteers will be required to purchase temporary international medical insurance and emergency evacuation insurance so that all contingencies are covered in case of an emergency or natural disaster. Our staff will walk you through the simple steps of purchasing of these temporary policies. All volunteers will also register with the US Embassy in Thailand for added support and security.
will be staying in the center of Chiang Mai at a safe, simple and
comfortable location with all the necessary amenities and support,
near the cultural center of this dynamic and important city. The
location is ideal for access to arts, education, coffee shops, art galleries, entertainment, temples, nightlife, and great
food. This guest house is staffed by some of the nicest people you could meet and the morning breakfasts are delicious. They make staying in Chiang Mai, cool, comfortable and like being part of a family.Each volunteer has his or her own air conditioned room for the duration of the program with shower, TV, and small refrigerator. There are daily laundry services if needed and free wifi.
is free access to high quality internet through wifi which is easy to
find all over the city of Chiang Mai and at your guest house.
Volunteer Positive partners with the most recognized and respected NGO's in the region. These include and HIV education groups run by Buddhist Monks, programs for HIV orphaned Thai children, LGBT advocacy groups, Arts organizations, refugee advocates from neighboring Burma, HIV+ community support networks, primary and secondary schools, sex worker education facilities, 3rd gender communities, and public health facilities that serve those living with the virus.
Since the focus of Volunteer Positive is service, volunteers will be putting in 40 plus hours a week, and likely do extra hours most weekends. Each volunteer will be matched with a specific placement, and in addition will also participate in additional group service work. The placements and the extra duties equal more than a full time commitment, sometimes from very early in the morning to late in the evening. It is hard work, but it is good work.
Cultural Orientation Program
In addition to committed daily service placements, volunteers will learn about the history of the region, Thai culture , Thai language, and current issues related to Thai HIV polices. Cultural competency building will be supported by a schedule that includes recognized experts leading the group through:
- Classes on Thai History
- Lectures on Thai Buddhism
- Lectures on Thai Gender Identity
- Community Events
- Cultural Excursions
- Structured Reflection
Thailand is full of exciting opportunities for excursions, and Chiang Mai is one of the most wonderful and exciting places in the country. Volunteer Positive groups will be provided with a few delightful excursions meant to deepen your understanding of the region and its people. Though these are fun, they serve a serious purpose as a significant part of your training and development.
will embark on a daylong visit to an elephant preserve where you will
learn about the symbolic and functional role of the species in Thai
society. We will ride on the elephants through the Thai forest and
return to the sanctuary for an amazing home cooked Thai
- You will visit the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand high above the city to better understand how faith influences the world view of the community and informs its unique approaches towards life's challenges.
- You will attend the famous, exciting and expansive night market and day markets in the city highlighting the complex economy of the region and to better appreciate the role of work in Thai culture.
- You will have a guided city tour orienting you to the location of your NGO placement location. You will also have a welcome dinner and final culminating event which brings NGO leaders and the community together. These events will help you connect not just to the place you are living, but to the community you will be serving.
- You will have free time to explore the city and region on your own and have many unique experiences from which to choose. These personal excursions are not covered by your program fee, but are very reasonable. Chiang Mai is a center for tourism with more to do and discover than can be imagined.
Background On Thailand
Getting to Chiang Mai
Volunteers are responsible fortheir own transportation to and from Chiang Mai. It is possible to fly directly into the international airport, or it is also possible to fly into Bangkok and either take a short 1 hour plane ride to Chiang Mai, a direct and comfortable overnight train, or a bus if you are feeling adventurous. The modern airport is 15 minutes outside the city and it is an inexpensive taxi ride from there to the guest house.
in and around Chiang Mai is easy, convenient, and inexpensive.
Volunteer Positive will provide transportation for group events and
excursions. Part of the fun of the city is learning to get around via tuk tuk (small 3 wheeled taxi), or on foot. Most people feel comfortable negotiating their way around within a few days time.