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Review for International Humanity Foundation, San Diego, CA, USA

Rating: 4 stars  

Deanna, IHF Chiang Rai, Thailand.

At the start of the year I finished my university degree in Australia and thought it would be the perfect time to travel and do some volunteering work. I found an ad posting on my university website and was immediately drawn to doing the Work-Study Program in Chiang Rai. I liked the idea of not only volunteering in the centre but also getting hands-on experience working for an NGO and seeing how an organisation run by volunteers worked. The thing that attracted me to volunteering at Chiang Rai was the young ones who live here are from a Lahu Hilltribe village, an extremely marginalised group that I wanted to learn more about and understand the challenges they face.

I had done a small amount of volunteering work in Australia but had never undertook something like this. I always had an interest in International Development and thought, if I don’t do this now then I will never do it! So I applied, was accepted and before I knew it I was on a plane to Thailand. I am coming to the end of my four weeks of volunteering and cannot believe how quickly the time has gone. Before I arrived I didn't know what to expect, luckily, everyone here has been welcoming & extremely kind. I am living with 5 incredible teenagers who are intelligent, funny, at times cheeky, but also caring. They look out for each other and I often find them looking out for me. We have had a lot of fun together, especially teaching guitar and playing music around the house. Music can work in such a special way, as it has demonstrated to me that it can help to overcome language and communication barriers. My time so far has not been without its challenges, and getting to know each other has, of coarse, taken time, but that is all part of the experience.

I feel so lucky to have this opportunity and will miss everyone dearly when I have to go. I feel extremely fortunate to have meet these incredible young people.

Role:  Volunteer