You will find yourself struggling to avert your gaze from this program located in Phang Nga, a province recognised for its stunning picturesque beaches and island oases in the southern region of Thailand.
You will work with children and young adults that are physically or mentally disabled or suffering from other illness or injury in the provision of basic rehabilitative and physiotherapy exercises, sensory-related arts and crafts activities, basic English teaching and some basic sports in order to stimulate body and mind. You will also assist in other areas such as health and hygiene education where required in schools and centres.
In Thailand resources for disabled and debilitated people are either extremely limited or non-existent, but you will be able to fill a crucial void in the provision of these simple activities and exercises to provide these people with opportunities for stimulation and learning.
All internships are geared at developing your leadership and role model skills, allowing you to develop a variety of key soft and hard skills that will put you a step ahead the rest of the pack. GVI have been running community development, education, and conservation projects since 1997 and our highly experienced field staff will help you gain and improve vital skill sets to improve your future job prospects.
"When I entered the project I had a lot of expectations, and almost none of them were met as the way I thought they would be, it was much better! This was my first trip to a foreign country ever and my first volunteer project and I think it was a really good life experience. I am already looking for something more to volunteer to, and I know it’s because my experience here was as good as it was."
What's Not Included
Life on the Internship
Monday to Friday
You will be working in a social center for disabled children leading simple games, exercises, play or art therapy and learning activities with children based there. At other times you will be teaching and leading health and hygiene education and sports programs at the local schools and care centre. Other opportunities for teaching and support in other sectors of the community may be available during your stay and is subject to demand by the community and our local partners.
As a short term intern you will also take on more responsibility taking on more of the lesson planning duties. Collaborating creatively with the field staff and adding your ideas into the mix. You will also take on more lead after training has been completed. Time will also be set aside for leadership development that further assist the projects and contribute to your personal and professional development. At the end of your internship you will plan and implement your own project that contributes to the long term development goals of the project and the community as a whole.
The work you will contribute to will be rewarding and although not strenuous, you should keep in mind that Thailand is a tropical country and so days can be tiring. You will live with other interns in basic dormitory style accommodation electricity and cold running water. The area itself is extremely diverse with access to a great number of various activities and amenities.
If you would prefer to stay in private accommodation while on this project, this location does offer upgrades. Contact us for more information, or mention to your Country Expert who will be able to assist you.
What's Not Included
You will be working in a social center for disabled children assisting with rehabilitative and physiotherapy exercises, sensory-related arts and crafts activities, and simple games with children based there. At other times you will be teaching and leading health and hygiene education and sports programs at the local school and care centre. Other opportunities for teaching and support in other sectors of the community may be available during your stay and is subject to demand by the community and our local partners.
How this project makes a difference:
In Thailand the infrastructure, support and resources for the disabled is extremely limited. The added support to the families of these individuals helps reduce their burden and provide them with tools they can use at home.
Leading simple health related exercises in local schools and communities can be used for exercise, relaxation and focusing the mind as well as providing basic stimulation. Basic health and hygiene education and support will make the difference in the overall quality of the community’s lives.
*During school holidays and national holidays and festivals participants may do other healthcare related projects such as holding community based workshops, basic first aid courses/workshops for villagers, working on resource development and curriculum improvement, village cleans, and a variety of other projects.There may be opportunity to assist with work related to other project focuses.
Phang Nga short, mid, and long-term objectives
All of our programs have short, mid and long-term objectives that fit with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. This enables us to report on our collaborative impact across the world in a streamlined manner, measuring which UN SDGs we are making a substantial contribution to. Furthermore, this will help our local partners and communities measure and visualize their contribution to the UN SDGs.
Upon arrival to base, you will be educated about the history of the UN SDGs. You will learn about the specific goals of your location, the long-, mid- and short-term objectives, and also clarification of how your personal, shorter-term involvement contributes to these goals on a global level.
Our aim is to educate you on local and global issues, so that you continue to act as active global citizens after your program, helping to fulfil our mission of building a global network of people united by their passion to make a difference.
Learn about the long-term objectives you will be contributing to in Phang Nga:
1. To provide equal, quality education to children of all backgrounds.
2. To Promote Good Health and Wellbeing through education to all children
3. .Increase skills for local people to assist with equal employment opportunities in our communities within Takuapa and Ban Nham Khem
4. Increase awareness of local populations to environmental issues and facilitate change towards sustainability through scientific studies.
5. Increase our in-country capacity by providing environmental and conservation education and training
6. To assist and develop local coastal conservation efforts through providing practical support to project partners, data collection, awareness raising and habitat restoration
What's Not Included
Interning with GVI not only allows you to participate on programs developing education in communities but it also offers wonderful opportunities to travel in the local area in your down time or further afield either before or after your program. Many decide to travel after interning, solidifying the lifetime friendships established on program.
Our long term field staff are a great source of advice and are here to help you make the most of your time abroad. Remember to ask about discounts on local activities and side trips through your association with GVI. Our Phang Nga field teams have helped us put together the following information on trips and travel options in Thailand!
Optional Side Trips
Take advantage of the amazing sites and scenery the Andaman region of Thailand has to offer. There are endless opportunities to visit islands, beaches, parks and caves and many can be done on weekends. While on the ground, we are here to help so make sure to ask our field staff to assist you with planning trips.
Explore the amazing Khao Sok National Park, including the stunning Cheow Larn Lake and 740km² of rainforest and which is home to elephants, leopards, tigers, deer, monkeys, lizards, birds, and the Rafflesia – the largest flowers in the world, 90cm across with a unique aroma…of rotting flesh! Take a day trip for a quick sample of the park’s delights or stay overnight and discover even more – perhaps in one of the jungle tree houses, or even on a bungalow that floats on the lake. Trek through the jungle, kayak around Cheow Larn lake visiting spectacular limestone caves, swim in idyllic waterfalls or just relax and see what you can spot!
Khao Lak is a very popular tourist spot close by, with beautiful, seemingly endless beaches, so many dining options you’ll be spoilt for choice and hundreds of spas offering massages and treatments at reasonable rates. With a wide range of accommodation options, from luxury resorts to hostels, Khao Lak offers you the chance to spoil yourself for a few days, whether you’re on a budget or looking to splurge a little.
The Similan and Surin Island groups, both under the protection of their Marine National Park status, are home to some of the best diving and snorkelling spots in the region. You can take a day trip, stay on a live aboard boat or even stay overnight on the islands themselves. These islands are only open during the drier, high season, November to May.
Phuket Island, about 90mins south of Khao Lak and renowned for its colourful night life is also a great stop-off for divers and snorkelers, but if you’re not the diving type you can explore Phang Nga Bay by speed-boat or sea kayak, stopping off at James Bond Island, made famous by the 1974 film ‘The Man With the Golden Gun’ before visiting the floating Sea Gypsy village. Phuket is also very popular with surfers, playing host to annual surfing competitions, though there is a great ‘secret spot’ near Khao Lak…if you’re interested GVI staff will show you the way!
Neighbouring Krabi Province is a treasure trove for intrepid travellers; from the crystal clear Emerald Pond to the epic 1,237-step climb up to the Buddha image and stunning views at the Tiger Temple Cave to the enchanted scenery and pools of Than Bok Khoranee National Park to the shopping and late night bars of Ao Nang to the chilled out beaches of Koh Lanta Island to the parties of Phi Phi, where ‘The Beach’ was filmed – the options are truly endless!
Further Travelling Opportunities
Thailand is a country with a whole range of fantastic places that you could visit. If you have the time and budget, you could consider going to see the following; the waterfalls of the picturesque Khao Yai National Park, the mountain town of Chiang Mai, the local tribes of Nam Province, the beaches of Ko Tao and Mu Ko Chang Marine National Park, the golden kingdom of Ayuthaya, the temples and nightlife of Bangkok and many more…
Meet Molly, our hard working country director for both Thailand and Laos. Over seeing operations in two countries is no easy task but Molly is more than capable.
She started volunteering and travelling at a young age, working in soup kitchens, with AmeriCorps, at animal shelters, as a Big Sister with Big Brother Big Sisters of America and as a Guardian ad Litem. She studied family development and psychology and loves to dance.
Her goal is to visit one country for every year she is alive. The most unusual place she has travelled to is Uzbekistan, on a trip beginning in Europe and ending in Southeast Asia. This is where she fell in love with Laos which began her journey with GVI. She started working for GVI back in 2012 and she is now based in Thailand. GVI has hubs all around the world and she has been lucky enough to visit the hubs in Nepal, Thailand, Laos and the office in South Africa.
Conservation project coordinator
Meet Katie, our brilliant conservation project coordinator in Phang Nga, Thailand. She is experienced in environmental education, working within zoos and outreach programmes in the UK, teaching a huge range, from pre-school children through to university students.
From a young age she travelled to many unique and culturally diverse places with her family.
During her short term internship with GVI, at Jalova Biological Research Station, she developed and advanced her surveying, research and project development skills whilst working in one of the most biodiverse regions in the world.
Her must bring travel item is her trusty camera; "There is not a day that goes by where I don't encounter a moment that I want to capture, especially when exploring the worlds natural beauty."
Meet Dora, our insightful base manager in Phang Nga, Thailand. She has spent much of her life traveling, studying and volunteering all over the world. She grew up in China but felt the need to explore the world. She's lived in many different countries such as Egypt, Japan and the Phillippines,saying that she's not one to stay in one place for very long. She's also explored most of Europe an the west of the USA.
She has a BA in international relations focusing on the continents of Africa and Asia. She's also a certified, open water NAU diver.
Her favourite thing about working for GVI is how every day is different and how meeting so many new people has taught her so much about herself. She's a real life traveller and we're lucky to have her on board.
Meet Karissa, our vibrant country expert for our Cape Town and Thailand, Phang Nga, hubs. She loves travelling and has had her fair share of travelling too. Her first solo travel was to New Zealand to work as an Au Pair, followed by Fiji for over a year. She then travelled to Thailand, where she met her South African partner and worked as an English Teacher at a public High School.
Karissa is TEFL qualified and has first-hand experience of working abroad. What first attracted her to join GVI? “The amazing volunteer projects and stunning locations across the world.”
She moved to Cape Town in November 2015 from her home country, the USA, and is loving every minute of being able to call South Africa her new home!
Director of Programs
Meet Shayle, our innovative and driven director for all our projects around the world. She has two honours degrees, one in Industrial and Organisational Psycology, and another in Developmental and Education Psycology. Shayle also has over 10 years experience in setting up, managing and evaluating environmental and community programs across Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.
She is well-practiced in facilitating meaningful and effective intercultural engagement and this makes her the perfect person for overseeing our operations in the multicultural country of South Africa.
When not attending meetings or planning her next endeavour, Shayle can be found spending time with her family or taking part in some or other exciting outdoors activity!
Caroline Van Der Does De Willebois
Service Learning Manager Thailand
A conservationist and adventurer at heart with a passion for sustainable development and marine conservation. Caroline has a Master's degree in International Development and past experience working with the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, educational marine conservation with the Marine Megafauna Foundation in Mozambique, and dive instructing in Thailand.
Caroline believes that GVI's combination of conservation and community development projects helps us to reach a true and sustainable impact in the field.
Her travels have taken her all over the world, but she is grateful to have returned to Thailand to join the GVI family and support and train others to have the best possible Service Learning experience!
Assistant Director of Programs
Meet Jill, our Assistant Director of Programs and line manager for Thailand, Laos, India, Nepal, Australia and Kenya programs. ‘Manow’ (lime), as she’s locally known in Thailand where she's based, taught English, environmental education and art in the USA and Thailand before joining us to set up a TEFL and Community Development Expedition. “I haven’t looked back since!”
When Jill isn’t working, she likes reading or doing just about anything energetic. “I devour books, love cooking and enjoy finding some time to get some exercise – yoga, dancing and aerobics are some of my faves.”
What does Jill like most about her job? “It’s great to see volunteers rising above the cultural and language barriers between themselves and the communities. That, and every day is completely different, which is the way I like it- it keeps me from getting bored.” Being ‘allergic’ to being bored has led to Manow doing some pretty amazing things. “I once ended up spending a week living in a cave with some Buddhist monks while I helped them build a small adobe monk hut.”