Raintree Foundation – Foster Children Mae Hong Son Province Project.
Stay at Hot Coffee, Mae Chaem Orphanage visit, Visit to Chiang Mai Offices, Interview (offer of position)
11th to 13th of September, 2013
(Note: If you are considering any volunteer work overseas please stay safe, read our blog disclaimer and consider your personal decisions carefully. Also consider that volunteering with a family in tow, involves far more considerations, compromises and sacrifices, than that of a solo traveller. We declined this volunteer position offer due to securing a more timely, suitable position).
I first read about the Raintree Foundation whilst researching accommodation for the Mae Hong Son Loop. I came across the review of Hot Coffee Guest House and Resort (Mae Chaem) on Tripadviser and decided we would go there. It was nice. Read about our visit there on our post Mostly Looping the Loop. Before we left I wrote an email to them advising of my interest in volunteering.
The Rain Tree Foundation in conjunction with Thai Care e.V. is a social welfare organisation helping the poor in Thailand. Their main focus is; children’s education, water projects and community projects. They work in rural areas with a practical and grass root philosophy. In 1992 they started Program Thai Care, which is committing to help children in need in Thailand. It has grown over the years and currently they serve and support more than 230 children in 5 projects. Their Foster program is similar to a child sponsorship program except many of the children are orphans and according to the spokesman I spoke to, unlike many programs where admin costs use up most sponsorship gifts, all payments in their program directly benefit the child.
Hot Coffee is a bed and breakfast resort. (All the money you spend there goes to the Rain Tree Foundation and “Hot Coffee” income specifically supports a childrens home in Mae Na Chorn). It was a welcome rest for us on the MHS loop. Whilst there I visited the orphanage. I met Anna there who among other things, fundraises and coordinates Raintree Foundations Foster Program from Germany. She was on a three month trip visiting each child in the program. The first time I was invited by her so my kids could play with the other kids. The next time was in the evening for their nightly meeting and prayer. It was peaceful there listening to the children as they sang songs and read from the bible. The next day, Anna gave me the grand tour of the orphanage. I saw the bare basic volunteer rooms, the water purifiers they were soon to distribute, the classrooms, the pigs, the tree house overlooking the river – complete with ensuite, the chickens, the vegetable garden and the playground. The children are educated at the local government schools.
On our return to Chiang Mai, I visited Claudia and the rest of the Raintree Foundations staff. They were very friendly. She assessed my application and offered me a teaching position starting on October 24th with a ten day Induction and language course, here in Chiang Mai. I would be required to pay all our own costs during this period plus additional costs for the induction itself. Small fees were also payable during the offered 3 month volunteering period, towards food, etc – although basic accommodation at the school would be provided. I had to advise my acceptance two weeks prior to this date. On advising them that I would not accept the position in early October, they kindly offered me a volunteer requested position in Surathani post November but sadly due to our plans to spend Christmas in India, the time we had available was too short.
I was impressed by the motivation and care of this small charity. I applaud their endeavours to helps Thailand’s poor especially the wonderful children they support and their efforts to improve clean water supplies. We wish them continued success.