Interested in volunteering in Chiang Mai, Thailand? We’ve got a list of reputable organizations as well as some pro tips to consider to truly get the most out of the experience.
Volunteer Opportunities in Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Care For Dogs is an organization striving to create better lives for the homeless dog and cat population of the city by providing sterilizations and appropriate medical assistance.
- Accepts long and short term volunteers
- FORRU aims to develop sufficient methods to restore tropical forest ecosystems.
- Elephant Nature Park is a rescue and rehabilitation center for not just elephants, but dogs, cats, buffalos and many other animals as well.
- Note that you have to pay to volunteer with the fee covering your accommodation and meals for the time you’re there. There’s an option to volunteer with other animals at the park that is cheaper than volunteering with the elephants.
- Burma Study Center creates sustainable education and social welfare projects to support youth from Burma as well as hoping to educate the world about the struggle for peace and freedom in Burma.
- BEAM provides education programs facilitating access to higher education for Burmese migrants.
- Thai Freedom House is a language- and art-based community providing assistance and support to refugees coming from Myanmar as well as other minority groups around Thailand.
- Migrant Learning Center’s primary focus is their two-month ‘Adult Literacy and IT Programs’ that are aimed at ultimately providing Burmese migrants with better access to jobs and educational opportunities.
- Kids Ark Foundation is focused on providing opportunities for children coming from disadvantaged homes around northwestern Thailand as well as providing assistance and support to at-risk village women, many who are HIV positive.
- Urban Light is dedicated to empowering at-risk boys and providing emergency services to victims of trafficking and exploitation in Chiang Mai.
- Wildflower Home Foundation is a community created to provide pre- and post-natal care as well as job skills training to marginalized women.
Volunteering Tips for Students Studying Abroad in Thailand
For students studying abroad in Thailand spending your time volunteering is an excellent way to give back to a community that you’ve been able to call home for a semester. But, to be able to make a significant impact, one must be able to dedicate a substantial amount of time and effort.
Students’ schedules can often fill up fast between studies, field trips and personal travel adventures, leaving minimal time to foster a deep connection with the organization you’re working with. And that’s what volunteering should be about, right?
Therefore, if you’re a study abroad student with your heart set on volunteering (which we wholeheartedly support), we recommend considering extending your stay in this region at the end of the semester. Having the flexibility to put in the time will allow both you and the organization to learn, grow and gain the most you possibly can.
These are just a handful of organizations in the area, but northern Thailand has heaps more opportunities, so feel free to research on your own. Once you’re in Thailand opportunities can also arise through your connections with your professors, Thai friends and personal explorations of the region.
Don’t forget that taking initiative, showing enthusiasm, being patient and going with the flow are all ways to ensure both you and the organization have a worthwhile experience!