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Testimonial from

I travelled to Phang Nga in Thailand with GVI in summer 2017. Before I arrived, I had no idea what to expect. I did not know what I would be doing, where I would be doing it or who I would be doing it with. However, upon arrival at Phuket airport, it quickly became clear to me that I was about to embark on the experience of a lifetime. The staff who took us on the program were incredibly friendly, engaging, knowledgeable and funny. They looked after us all very well and at the same time were relaxed and let us have our own freedom. In the first week, we were involved with a number of volunteering activities. We did plenty of construction work at the CDC Centre in Ban Nam Khem for Burmese refugees. We broke down walls and moved plants from one end of the playground to another in order to create an outdoor classroom. I especially remember being passed bricks out of the side of the samlor (motorcycle + sidecar) by two Burmese boys of around 16. In that moment, with sweat dripping down my face and the sun beating down in my back, I felt as though I was doing something genuinely useful to benefit the lives of the community. We also helped out at a sea turtle sanctuary located on a navy base. There, we helped clean out the tanks as well as the turtles themselves. Basically, we gently cleaned them with sponges to wipe off dirt before using a purple dye to fight any infection which may be on their bodies. The turtles themselves are very small, usually no more than 6 months old, after which point they are released into the wild. Looking after the turtles from birth drastically raises their chances of survival from less than 1% in the wild to over 40% after being cared for at the sanctuary. In the second week, we embarked on an 'adventure tour' which included many incredible experiences such as kayaking through mangroves, bamboo rafting, visiting Buddhist temples, exploring vast caves, seeing the famous 'James Bond Island' and my personal favourite, an overnight stay in a beautiful boathouse located in the stunning Khao Sok National Park on Cheow Lan Lake. In short, the GVI under 18s experience in Thailand is a unique and incredible chance to experience some of the best sights Thailand has to offer, as well as providing people with the opportunity to truly benefit the local communities and wildlife.