VOLUNTEER IN THE HEART OF INDOCHINA Where countries and cultures meet along the mighty Mekong River! Your outstanding chance to explore the unseen Isaan, Thailand and Laos.
Content 1. Information the Northeast 2. Projects
Volunteer in Nong Khai, northern Thailand and stay at our Openmind Projects Training Center or a charming nearby guesthouse.
You can volunteer at a school, temple or one of the countryside projects that only Openmind Projects supports in either Thailand or nearby Laos. You can help so many people in some of the most disadvantaged communities in Asia.
Your Volunteering When you volunteer, you will work with village children and help local communities. Work with our young trainees from Lao, Thailand, and Myanmar at our Center as well as helping our local staff improve their work.Young volunteers, professional volunteers, families and retired and seniors can all find a role here
Your Free Time Nong Khai is where you find the famous Indochinese Market, ‘Tha Sadet’, a must for shoppers; where Vietnamese, Chinese, Lao and Thais trade their goods at prices much lower the tourist streets in Bangkok! You will realize this is the heart of Indochina, not Thai, not Lao, not Vietnamese, but it is Indochinese. Don’t miss the chance to get an expert foot massage while you are at the market, at a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay at home and it is even better!
Sights to see Nong Khai is where you find the unique Sala Keo Khu, a special temple and sculpture park; one of the most unique temples you are likely to visit on your travels. It features giant sculptures inspired by Buddhism and Hinduism. A photo of you and the giant underwater god and serpent Naga protecting Buddha, will make your friends wish they were there with you! Along the Mekong is where you will see mysterious Naga Fireballs rising from the Mekong, when itâ€™s full moon in October! When you volunteer with Openmind Projects, Gaweechat, called TT by friends, and cofounder of Openmind Projects, is a great storyteller who will tell you the full story of Buddha, the Naga and the war with the rain god! At full moon in October people from all around Thailand come to witness the Naga Fireballs, popping silently up from the dark Mekong waters. It is a spectacle to be witnessed, together with the thousands of Thai people, watching and cheering.
Places to visit A three hour drive from Nong Khai, you can spend the night or even volunteer in the Phu Wua Mountains that Openmind Projects helped get listed in the Lonely Planet! The once-amazing wildlife used to include elephants, tigers, leopards, bears, peafowls, giant hornbills, monkeys, gibbons and even the rare rhino - unknown to Western zoologists! The area was once the home to a communist insurgency. Today, you can spend the night in a tree-top and watch wild elephants coming for an evening feast on fruits and salt, offered by the monks in the temple nearby.
Don’t miss the crazy Phu Tok walk, down a creaky staircase along the walls of the mountain. It’s one of the world’s scariest staircases (according to the National Geographic!) and is not for the faint-hearted!
Projects nearby The Sabaeng School, Non Patana village and the world culture heritage of Ban Chiang changed archeological thinking! A site near this village is where volunteers are welcome too. This Bronze Age site dating back 4000 years makes the site one of the earliest Bronze Age cultures in the world.
Sabai Dee Laos! Visit Vientiane (the capital of Laos) on a weekend, which sits on the banks of the Mekong River. Once looted by the Thai, who stole three golden Buddhas, you can find one in Nong Khai, at beautiful Wat Pochai, one on the bottom of the Mekong and one in Bangkok! The national monument That Luang is a must to visit, as it is the symbol of Laos.
The foreigners (â€˜farangâ€™) always enjoy the many restaurants and coffee shops in there too. If you decide to go outside into the countryside, you can visit the Phou Khao Khouai mountain villages supported by Openmind Projects, which is only 3-4 hours away from Nong Khai. You can volunteer there too, if you want to stay longer. This is where many of our Lao trainees and staff come from, who you will meet at our Center.
READ ABOUT WHERE YOU CAN VOLUNTEER IN NORTHEAST OF THAILAND
1. Ban Bon Wittaya Temple School (Nongkhai) 2. Wung Yang Primary School (Nongkhai) 3. Ban Dua Tai School (Nongkhai) 4. Sabaeng School, Issan, Thailand (Udon Thani) 5. Nonghan Wittayayon School (Nongkhai) 6. Ban Don Pang School / Phu Wua (Bueng Kan) 7. Phu Wua Village (Bueng Kan)
ban bon wittaya templeÂ School
Teach English and Learn about Thai Culture
This school is located at Wat Ban Bon in the Nong Khai area. There are 13 teachers, including 2 English teachers, and 40 students from the ages of 13 to 16 at this secondary level temple school.
Daily Routine Since the students are novice monks, their mornings are busy with the routine of the temple: collecting alms very early in the morning, eating breakfast, cleaning the temple grounds, and then studying Buddhist scriptures and the Pali and Sanskrit languages that are used in sutras.
Lunch is at 11, and then the novices go to school at 1:30 to study regular classroom subjects. Students from other temples come to join in these classes as well. Temple schools are for novices who intend to become monks and also for novices who are there because their families are too poor to send them to regular public schools.
Volunteers will teach English or IT skills three times a week for about 2 or 3 hours in the afternoon. The school is located on a quiet road nestled between a rice field and a small village. Transportation to and from the school is provided for the volunteers. They are picked up and dropped off at the Openmind Training Center. The atmosphere at a temple school is a bit subdued because the novices follow precepts, or rules, that govern their behavior. It is very important to respect the rules. A main point to keep in mind is that female volunteers cannot touch the novices and must dress very modestly.
Location Ban Bon Wittaya Temple School
WUNG YANG PRIMARY SCHOOL
This is a very small school with only 60 students and 7 teachers, including 3 Thai agricultural volunteers from another organization.
There isnâ€™t an English teacher at Wung Yang School, so the volunteer will be working alone in the classroom. However, we send many volunteers to this school, so the students are used to interacting with foreign teachers. You will find them eager to learn and not shy about trying to speak English.
Because of the continued influence of our volunteers, the students from this small school score high in the standardized national tests.
The school grounds are very green and peaceful. The old wooden school building is bordered by a bamboo grove, fruit trees, fish ponds and a chicken farm with 200 chickens! The eggs are often served at lunch, and sometimes fish from the ponds are on the menu, too.
Classes have about 15 students per class, and the students are 7 to 12 years old.
The school is about a 20-minute car ride from downtown Nong Khai. A teacher from the school will pick the volunteer up at Openmind Projects Training Center at around 8:30 every morning. After eating lunch at the school with the students, the volunteer will be taken back to the OMP Center.
BAN DUATAI SCHOOL A school in Nong Khai Province in the North East of Thailand
NUMBER OF STUDENTS
NUMBER OF TEACHERS
Kindergarten School Five - Six Primary School
Seven - Twelwe
Thirteen - fifteen
SABAENG SCHOOL ISAAN, THAILAND
Sabaeng, Nong Han District, UdonThani, Thailand
A countryside school NORTHEAST THAILAND
Experience the old, but also poor part of Isan, Thailand, where people speak Lao. Sabaeng village is not far from our training center in Nong Khai. The school is surrounded by rice fields
You are welcome to teach their children so they can get a job elsewhere one day. The children are not always allowed to stay in the village, the poor farms cannot not support everyone. The school has a kindergarten, primary and secondary school with 25 teachers and 400 students. Many of the young Sabaeng students join our holiday camps at our center in Nong Khai every year. The village is surrounded by rice fields, water buffaloes and cows. Volunteers are welcome to try the hard work in the rice fields!
Sabaeng is situated about 60 km southeast of Nong Khai and 30 km east of Udon Thani, only about half an hour away from famous Ban Chiang, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site.
Accommodation You will stay with a host family, often that of a teacher, or in a separate village house. Meals will be at the school and with your host family. Spicy Isaan food. Make sure to try the Somtam,papaya salad, it is loved by everyone!