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VOLUNTEERS WITHOUT BORDERS.org - Is the official website for the Volunteers Without Borders Foundation, (Reg. No. Chor Mor 353) based in Chiang Mai, Thailand. 

The primary objective of The Volunteers Without Borders Foundation is to develop a more equitable model for responsible tourism that puts (local) people over profits, protecting their futures, customs and culture against the negative impacts of mass or mainstream tourism.

Its collaborative operating model ensures that 100% of funding contributed by volunteers for specific VWB community service projects does just that (without any commissions levied on them.)

VWBs overheads and other expenses are funded exclusively by Track of the Tiger T.R.D., its tourism industry partners. In selected cases, skilled volunteers are subsidised by individual and corporate donors. 

CS & CSR Project Menu

The following menu lists the full range of projects available to Individual VWB Volunteers, Corporate CSR Programme Clients, School CS Groups.

Providing rural based Thai schoolchildren with a higher level of English language education (Read more / read less.)

      

  • The Intelligent Playgrounds Project - Like that of many countries, Thailand's education system relies heavily on having students learn by rote, and on regular testing. Finland went from being ranked 20th in the world to 1st, by abandoning that approach, for one that encouraged free play, creativity and team work. Eventually the rest of the world will catch up, but these things take time. VWB offers a shortcut. Rather than build conventional playgrounds in schools, we propose building  intelligent playgrounds, in which the individual challenges/activities used are custom designed to develop (a) critical thinking (b) physical development (c) team work.

In addition to being used in normal play, these challenges/activities, both fixed and temporary (deployed in designated free spaces)  and can also be used to assess developmental progress of each individual student every 4-6 months.

The challenges are either provided by VWB in knock down format (cured bamboo / rope/ rubber etc.) for transport to then installation by volunteers on site. The components are assembled and boxed along with an inventory of components and operating instructions, before being delivered to the schools. Once installed we provide an initial demonstration for students and teachers and hand over the detailed but easy to follow instruction manuals.

  • The Saturday School Project - There is significant variation in the standard of the English language education provided across the 20 plus schools in the Sanpatong area (and elsewhere in Thailand), due primarily to budget limitations that impact (a) the quality of the materials available to the teachers. (b) the number of students in the classes. (c) the number and experience of the  English teachers available. (d) the time allocated to English language lessons. 

To provide teaching assistance in a way that (a) does not disrupt the flow of the lesson plans the individual teachers are following. (b) benefits the students and teachers alike. VWB has determined that the best solution is to provide lessons outside school hours, and open to interested students (initially from grade 4 only (9-11 years old), and held at the Sanpatong Farm Stay & Activity Centre.

VWB's system relies on following highly interactive custom designed lesson plans, developed for the age group by qualified ESL teachers and aligned with the national curriculum.

Incoming volunteers (teaching assistants) are given 2-4 hours training in assisting with the delivery of the lessons (understanding the what, the why and the how) before spending roughly the same time delivering those lessons under the supervision of the qualified ESL teacher.

The lessons are invariably taught during VWB's Saturday School held at the Sanpatong Experiential Education Centre every  weekend of the school term, and during the school term breaks. In 2018 we plan to extend the programme to cover: English, Meditation, Outdoor Activities, Environmental Studies and Sustainable Agriculture.

  • Assistance with English language education for rural school children - As stated above we have to be extremely careful about volunteering in local schools in a way that hinders rather than helps their English language education efforts. For that reason we only invite interest in applications from teachers or teacher trainees that:
    • Can commit for a minimum of 14 days.
    • Have a qualification in ESL teaching.
    • Have no formal qualification but have worked on one of our Saturday School Project programmes.
 

Implementing small-scale projects that enhance the ability of the local schools to provide a quality education. (Read more / read less.)

      

To provide the supporting infrastructure that rural schools need to enhance the quality of the education they provide, and the environment in which they provide it. Many rural schools have larger student bodies than they are allocated budgets for. This is in part due to the fact that they take in children from the ethnic minority groups in their region. Class sizes, dining areas, toilets, water sanitation systems are inadequate given the number of students using them.

The Options

  • Permanent Buildings / Structures - The requirements and budgets vary, but we can work with clients to have fund time consuming work undertaken by local craftsmen, with representatives from the corporate client company playing a hands on role at any or all phases of the work, and for the completion ceremony. (enquire about our menu of projects.)
     
  • Temporary Buildings / Structures - VWB has developed multipurpose cured bamboo based knock down style structures in a pavilion style design. They are suitable for use as additional classroom / meeting / work station areas to allow students to work in smaller groups where beneficial to do so. They can be erected in a half a day by teams of 5-10 unskilled volunteers.
     
  • Basic Infrastructure - Many schools in the rural area lack access to clean water and that can be often be resolved by the installation of a pump system, piping and filtration - either to bring water in from a nearby source, or from an onsite down-hole bore.
 

Developing small scale sustainable agriculture projects in rural schools to help subsidise the cost of school meals, and to provide viable 2nd revenue streams to small rural tourism businesses. (Read more / read less.)

      

Although rural schools are allocated a budget by the department of education to provide school lunches for their pupils, the funds are never enough to cover the cost of meals with a nutritional value the students need to function/learn to the best of their ability.  VWB addresses that problem by building small scale sustainable agriculture projects on the school grounds. They serve two purposes:

  • They allow for the production of high quality organic herbs and vegetables at low cost, subsidising the school meal budget.
     
  • They serve as demonstration and training projects for students, that could also implement at home saving costs, improving nutrition levels for the whole family, and generating additional revenue.
Examples:
  • Mushroom Houses - 2m x 4m units constructed in a knock down format from cured bamboo and thatch, stocked with racks of pre-packed recycled bottles in which mushrooms are produced. Small groups of 5-10 can erect and stock these units in half a day.
     
  • Greenhouses - 2m x 4m (or longer) constructed in a knock down format from cured bamboo and mesh that provide an environment for growing herbs and vegetables, free of chemicals.
     
  • Vermiculture Projects - Raising worms in bins or concrete rings to convert food waste to high grade solid and liquid fertilser for use on the school's small scale sustainable agriculture projects.
     
  • The Plant & Seed Fund - Not an activity per se, but donations to this fund allows VWB to run a nursery from which plants can be provided for replanting in school greenhouses.
 

Assisting in the development of micro and small locally owned responsible tourism. (Read more / read less.)

        

To provide business development assistance and market access to locally operated micro and small tourism business enterprises, who are willing to work towards implementing responsible tourism best practices, and in so doing contribute to building a vibrant local visitor based economy.

  • Project assignments for qualified volunteers - Individuals or task forces. Track of the Tiger's 'Travel4Good' project provides micro and small tourism related businesses with their own T4G Business Partner profile - essentially a multi-page interactive website hosted on the T4G Vortal (a search and booking platform.)
The profiles are built using custom designed 'online editors' easily mastered by those with medium  level computer skills. Copywriting, photography, video skills are also an asset. VWB Volunteers working on this project are eligible for subsidies in the form of T4G vouchers.

The T4G Business Partners donates vouchers (rooms, tours, meals etc.) with a given face value to the VWB Volunteer, (converted to a EU value and held in the volunteer's online account.)

The VWB Volunteer then uses that voucher value to purchase (rooms, tours, meals etc.) as advertised online, by other T4G Business Partners.