Children’s Home - Volunteer Reviews

THAILAND

Read what our volunteers say about their time volunteering

Find out more about the Children's Home project

Elin - 2015

“Do it. Really. You will not regret it. It was an amazing experience to see how the home is run and to be able to help out. Even if you don't feel like you are doing much, the gratitude and humbleness of both staff and children is quite overwhelming. I initially thought one week would be too short to form any bonds with anyone, but somehow you just become part of this large and happy family from the first moment. The children are so happy and joyful, and the language barrier is not a problem at all.

What did you find most rewarding? Probably to see the gratitude and humbleness of both the children and adults. They really do not have much at all, but they seem so hapoy with their lives.

What did you find most challenging? It's hot, humid, and with no air-con and cold showers you will get sweaty, dirty and sticky. But it really didn't bother me at all.

What advice would you give to others who are considering this placement? You will probably be asked to teach both the younger and older kids English and I'd recommend to prepare something in advance. I had an iPad, which was great help, but it would have been great to have brought some books, stationary, crayons etc. If I go again, I will also make an effort to bring toys, shoes, football shirts etc from home. I know you can buy this cheaper in Thailand, but once you are there really isn't much time for that. Also, most people will be able to get these things second-hand from friends, family, colleagues.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? Convenience and security. It appeared to be a serious organisation and being able to do one week volunteering enabled me to do this as part of my Christmas holiday.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer? Yes”

Amy Jane - 2015

"My experience at the orphanage was amazing! The children were all fantastic and it was really sad when leaving them. I came to grow a strong attachment to them. It was a pleasure helping out with chores knowing that we were helping the children and the workers at the home in some way. The workers there were all very friendly and really accommodating.

It was amazing to see all the projects they have achieved and the coffee shop they have is a great little business. It attracts a lot of customers. It was a real eye opener to hear the children’s stories and how they are managing. They all get on so great, like brothers and sisters, and have so much respect for the workers there. The children are so happy there and they enjoy going to school and helping out with their chores. It really was a real pleasure being a part of their family for two weeks.

During free time we would relax or go to the shop which was only a short walk up the road. Also as a volunteer you get 2 days off a week which you can go on day visits to the local towns and beach. The workers at the home took us to a waterfall one day and also a temple which was a really nice gesture.

What did you find most rewarding? I loved delivering a lesson to the children and reading to them, playing games with them. It was amazing to teach them new words in English and watch them learning how to write them down in English. Very rewarding. We also visited a primary school one day and helped out in a reception class. That was also very rewarding. What did you find most challenging? The construction work was the most challenging due to the heat. Wow! It was so hot!

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Bring insect repellent!!! Also spend as much time with the children as you possible can they really are beautiful children. You could may be plan a few activities in advance to do with the children. They love playing games that help them learn new words in English

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? It is an extremely rewarding experience and it is a real good way to experience other cultures. The children love meeting new volunteers so anything new and exciting you can bring to the children’s lives is worth it!

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? Found the company on the website, had very good feedback and the communication with them were great (especially Ellie, she arranged everything for us)"

Amy - 2015

"I had an amazing experience with Pod volunteer. This was my first time abroad and I was exceptionally nervous and anxious about the trip. Ellie talked me through everything on the phone, offered to speak to my parents about it and always answered my questions via email in a very timely manner. Ellie kept in touch with me even when I was at the Children's Home to make sure I was enjoying myself and was adequately supported.

The Children's Home itself was simply incredible. The adults and children are so welcoming and kind it was overwhelming at the beginning. There was a naming ceremony in which all the volunteers were given Thai names and we were made to feel a part of the family. The accommodation was clean and more than adequate at the centre, I just needed to adapt to it. The adults were very accommodating with regards to meals and we often helped cooked dinner whilst we were there.

Despite the language barriers, everyone got on, had a laugh and built relationships. It is a very special place with special people.

I had such a special time whilst at Children’s Home. On arrival, we were given Thai names in a special welcome ceremony with the children and I was honoured to be welcomed into their family. Despite the language barrier with some of the children and adults there, we could have a laugh and build relationships with each other. The volunteers were always included in all aspects of life and the centre, from going on the school run, to painting a chicken coop and to help make/cook dinner. We were also invited to visit a monk for some of the children's birthday's and to teach English at the local school.

The children are very independent and you soon realise that you are there to help with the functioning of the orphanage and help do daily jobs. This meant the time spent with the children more like play time, having a game of football or jumping into the stream at the end of the day. Everything about the Children’s Home is innovative and it is an incredible learning experience. You are encouraged to fully embrace Thai culture and their loving attitude towards life. It is an experience I will cherish.

What was a typical day at the Children’s Home? There was no typical day at the project! We were given different tasks such as ironing, cleaning glass bottles for a feature wall, paint a chicken coop, help with the planting etc. Plenty to do!

What did you find most rewarding? When you are at there, you realise that whilst the trip may be expensive, it is a much more rewarding experience then travelling. You engage with real people and are truly exposed to Thai life. You appreciate the things you have in the Western world that they do not have, for instance a hover. We had to clean the car's carpet with a piece of cardboard to get the dirt out. There are no words to describe how rewarding it was to be a part of something so kind, caring and loving.

What did you find most challenging? The language was a challenge but I think it was more challenging to adapt to the change in lifestyle. To see all the food markets, pop up stalls on the street to dealing with what Thai people saw as basic amenities."

Rhiannon - 2015

“Our time volunteering in Thailand was amazing, the children where all very sociable and interactive and spoke a little English, we had fun helping with their English language and working in the school teaching English too! While the staff where friendly, supportive and appreciative. Had a brilliant experience would defiantly do it all over again and would love to return in the future to see how all the children are! We have enjoyable and life long memories from the experience in volunteering with these children. It's hard working especially in the heat, be patient with some of the children's lack of English skills.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? Because you are involving yourself in these children life who have suffered so much more than can be imagined yet they are so happy and positive it's so rewarding spending time and witness there growth and happiness.

Would you recommend Pod Volunteer to your friends? Yes”

Jamie - 2015

“My trip to Thailand was definitely the most rewarding and exciting thing I've ever done. From the moment I arrived at the airport, I began learning about the culture and way of life of the Thai people. The workers at the orphanage were so welcoming and genuinely made me feel like a part of the family from day one. I learned so much from my trip away, not just about the kids and people I met, but also about myself. It gave me a great perspective on life, and I still feel the difference in myself. The biggest thing I took away from my time at the orphanage was just how happy and content the kids are. A lot of people said that the language barrier was a big struggle, but I really didn’t find it to be a problem. With the kids you can so easily communicate through games, body language and gestures. And with the staff, Tammy, Kate & Bae had enough English to help you out with any problems. It is helpful however to learn a few key phrases before you go. Also while you are there you will be expected to teach English to the kids, so I would advise preparing some work and exercises for your time there. The kids already have the basics down, like colours, animals etc.

What did you find most rewarding? I found my interactions with the children to be the most rewarding. Just observing and playing with them gave me the opportunity to learn so much. The children were always so happy and really looked out for each other. They really made me think about my own life and the way I lived it.

What did you find most challenging? I think the pace of life was probably the biggest challenge for me. While I knew I wouldn't be changing the world in my short time at the orphanage, I still found it hard to adjust the more relaxed and easy going pace of life in Thailand. I wanted to do as much as I could while I was there, and help out as much as I could. But after a while I realised that it was more about being a part of the family there, and just going with the flow while living like the locals do.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? To just have an open mind, and be ready for anything. It's not about changing their lives or changing how they do things. Its about experiencing and embracing their cultures and being a part of their family. You're there to help out with the day to day runnings of the orphanage and just be there to help with whatever they need. Also avoid being on your own for too long during the first few days as that can be when homesickness can set in.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? I think it's a great way to see another country and really experience the culture. It's so easy to travel and let your time slip by without really being a part of it all. When you volunteer you get to be a part of an ongoing process to help out in the world, and also get to learn a lot about yourself. As soppy as it is to say, you really do learn so much about yourself through your interactions with the local people. Volunteering is different for everyone, but no matter what, as long as you really get involved you'll have an amazing time.

Why did you choose Pod Volunteer? When I decided to volunteer I researched many sites before I came across Pod. Pod seemed to have a lot of information on their projects, and a lot of experience. I’m so glad I did go with Pod, because I honestly did not have one problem or hiccup throughout my whole trip.”

Kallie - 2015

“I would definitely recommend this project to anyone thinking about taking part. I loved every minute and it is a fantastic and loving place. Do it!

Were there any aspects of the placement which you would like to see improved? I thought everything about the project was perfect. As long as you're ready to adapt to Thai lifestyle and just get stuck in with whatever needs doing then you’ll have a great experience.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? My advice would be to make sure you're well prepared. You will be teaching English to the children and possibly adults as well so it might be helpful for you to take some things out with you to assist you with your lesson preparation. Also you just need to get stuck in and go with it. Thai lifestyle and time keeping may be a little different to what you are used to, but don't let this put you off, just go with it.

Volunteering abroad is a fantastic opportunity to do something wonderful whilst experiencing a different culture and learning about a different way of life. It also is a great way to have some independence. For me it was the first time I had been abroad on my own and doing something like this to me felt like a huge achievement because I had done it alone.

Why did you choose Pod? Pod were incredibly informative. The information pack gives you pretty much everything you need to know and if you have any questions they will respond to you quickly. They support you all throughout your journey and check that you are enjoying the project.

I would definitely recommend Pod. They were helpful, friendly and supportive."

Kathryn - 2015

"The Children's Home is a very warm, welcoming home. The children are so well-mannered, respectful, and inquisitive. The foundation is amazing, and I am incredibly humbled by all that they have achieved. The children are in a stable home, and are quite happy. I do not think many foster homes in the US are as stable and welcoming. I give all of my praise to the wonderful adults who have established this foundation, especially Root and his wife Rasa."

Kaitlyn - 2015

“It was an outstanding experience. I had a great time with the kids. Everyone was very warm, welcoming, and engaging. They hugged you and welcomed you as part of the family the moment you step onto the place. It was a great experience to learn how to be self-sufficient and care for one another. The children all performed chores without complaining.

What did you find most rewarding? I found it most rewarding to play with the children. Swimming and playing badminton and volleyball showed me that even though we come from different places, we can come together and play a simple game.

What did you find most challenging? There was a language barrier. My mother spoke fluent Thai, but I did not. Therefore, it slowed the communication between the children and me because my mother would have to translate the conversations.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Be ready to teach the children by bringing books and colouring kits.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? It is a great experience to become worldly and discover the lifestyle of those in other countries. It is truly life changing.

Why did you choose Pod? Pod seemed to be a reliable organization with much experience with effectively placing volunteers abroad.

Would you recommend Pod to your friends? Yes, I enjoyed my time volunteering”

Margery - 2014

“My time at the Children's Home, was a real blessing for me. I felt right at home from the start, and was very well looked after. The children were an absolute delight and welcomed me into their family. It was so good to be part of the home. I really enjoyed my time there. Right from being picked up from the airport, I felt cared for and encompassed into this family. It makes you appreciate what you have at home. The staff were very friendly and looked after me really well.

What was typical day at the project? Getting up at 6.30am, to be with the children as they prepared to go to school, going on the school drop off, then off to the market for supplies, then back home. Breakfast and then chores around the property. After school, play with the children, and then spend time with the children doing homework, giving english lessons.

What did you find most rewarding? I felt being able to see the children respond and want to learn and be involved in what is happening. They opened their hearts to me and that was wonderful and rewarding.”

Jocelyn - 2014

"I had a brilliant time at the Children’s Home, the staff and children are the friendliest, most welcoming people you'll meet. Make the most of every opportunity and jump in at the deep end, the children and staff will love you for it and you'll have a much better experience! And take games, colouring books, toys with you as the children appreciate everything! Most of all enjoy it!

What did you find most rewarding? Helping the kids learn English & forming a close bond with them where they are happy to tell you about their lives.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Jump in, get your hands dirty, don't be afraid to try things out and if they don't work try something different!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? You get to see a not-so-touristy side to the country and a totally different way of life!"

Rhona - 2014

“I volunteered for four weeks this summer at the Children's Home in Thailand. It was by far the most exciting, eye-opening, enjoyable, and emotional month of my life! While I was there, we didn't have much of a set routine to what we were doing. The Thai people were so laid back, and so lovely, that they didn't mind when we did jobs - as long as they got done! My usual jobs while I was there included laundry, ironing, building walls/structures, cleaning, gardening and playing/teaching the kids. Some of these jobs don't sound too hard, but you've got to remember that in sweltering, humid heat, or even a monsoon - these jobs can be challenging! Once completed though, these jobs are very rewarding.

While I was in Thailand, I absolutely fell in love with the country, people, language and sights. I'm already looking at going back soon! The Thai way of life at the Children's home was incredibly laid back, it was a great atmosphere for the kids to be growing up in. All of the children are so grateful, happy and kind, it will really take your breath away. While I was there I really felt like I was part of the family. They are all so welcoming to everyone and want to make you feel at home. I cannot wait to be back with my Thai family as soon as I possibly can be – I miss them so much!

What did you find most rewarding? I found that the most rewarding thing was when we had completed even just a small job for the kids - such as cleaned their rooms while they were at school - and when they came back they were just so grateful. Also, when teaching the children English, and they would start understanding what you were trying to teach them (when the light bulb suddenly went on!) was such an amazing feeling that I will never get bored of.

What did you find most challenging? The most challenging part for me was the heat. On my first week I developed heat exhaustion and felt rubbish. The humidity and sun made me so tired and fatigued. Towards the end of the trip though I got a lot more used to the climate and felt much better. It was also extremely hard leaving the children, although when I left I knew that I would be back as soon as I could be so it wasn't as hard as it could have been.

Were there any aspects of the placement which you would like to see improved? There are no aspects I would like to see improved. I loved every second of the placement.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Do it! It will without a doubt be the most incredible, worthwhile time of your life. I can't even put into words how much this placement changed me, how much it meant to me. The children at the project will make all the hard work worth it.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? Volunteering abroad will be totally different to volunteering at home. Volunteering in such a poor part of the world - such as rural Thailand - gives you not only an understanding of another part of the world, but another way of life, another set of people, another culture, another religion. It makes you appreciate how much you have in your home country, and has the power to change you as a person.

Why did you choose Pod and would you recommend Pod to your friends? Yes, Pod gave me such a range of countries to choose from, and such a range of volunteering opportunities. Right from the start they were supportive and helpful."

Kristina - 2014

“The staff were very kind to me; wonderful, cheerful people who are very disciplined about maintaining their site and ensuring the children have a robust life together. I found that the children's home had a really integrated approach to their site: the children go to school, but they're also doing a lot of local farming (including hydroponic greenhouses), practicing English, and entrepreneurship that I feel like are really setting the children up with a good understanding of what it's like to run their own households / be adults on their own someday. It's really encouraging to see so much investment in so many different ways into their futures and so many creative approaches to how to run the children's home.

Volunteering helps me put my professional life into perspective by re-evaluating the difference between something being urgent (perhaps a work deadline) and something being important (such as international poverty). Furthermore I think it's really important to gather local experiences first-person; the experience of being there allows you understand other cultures and world situations from the perspective of "I was there" instead of "I heard from the media" which has been invaluable to me."

Victoria - 2014

“If you are looking for a two week placement somewhere completely different where you can experience the 'real Thailand' then look no further. Be prepared to muck in and do a wide variety of jobs. This could be anything from cooking, cleaning, and gardening to light manual work.

What was a typical day at the orphanage in Thailand? There is no such thing as a typical day! Things change from day to day and minute to minute. As a general rule you can expect the following... An early start and a cold shower ( it's hot so it doesn't matter) Typically English breakfast of cereal and toast After breakfast you will have a team meeting where you will be given your tasks for the day. These usually include laundry, cooking, cleaning and gardening. Some days you will be working in the coffee shop or going to the local market to collect provisions. The children go to school at 7.30 and arrive home at 4 pm. When the children get home you can help them with their homework. There is a meeting at 7 and you are invited to join that too. The Children are usually bed by 8.30. Make sure you have a shower before 830 in the evening as the water is turned off then! There is good Wi-Fi access so the evenings can be spent catching up with emails and family back home. At the weekend you will get to spend more time with the children on outings such as the beach or local temple. You will also have a day off during the week and you can visit the local beach or water fall. The staffs are really helpful at suggesting places to visit.

What did you find most rewarding? Meeting people from completely different cultures who were prepared to share their lives and home. There are still ways to communicate even if you don't speak Thai. Seeing the kids enjoy the simple pleasures in life such as running along the beach or playing football. It’s easy to understand why they call Thailand the land of smiles.

What did you find most challenging? I found the language challenging but somehow we did find a way to understand each other- usually through humour! If you are not familiar with a really hot climate then i would recommend you arrive a couple of days before to get acclimatised.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Try and get Pod to put you in touch with someone who has done the placement before (I would be more than happy to speak to anyone who wanted more info) be prepared to be open minded and flexible about what happens each day. You must be prepared to go with the flow, get stuck in and try doing anything-You will surprise yourself! Take everything with you that is recommend in the suggested list.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? It's a great way to put some distance between what you think is difficult about life in the UK and really understand what life is really like in another culture. Volunteering broadens the mind, ensures you search your soul and makes you appreciate what's really important about life. Trust me, if you stretch yourself you will surprise yourself. If your only fear is that you think you can't hack it - stop worrying and just do it!

Would you recommend Pod to your friends? Yes"

Sophia - 2013

"I enjoyed every moment I spent at the orphanage in Thailand. I fell in love with the children and staff and their contagious smiles. It was wonderful to see how the orphanage operates and just how dedicated the staff are to the children's wellbeing. It was very special to me to get to know each of the children. They made me feel like part of their family and that I will never forget. I can't wait to return to see everyone.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Don't be afraid to get dirty. The orphanage is in the jungle and I walked around in bare feet a lot. I did a lot of digging, climbing trees, swimming in the river and running in mud. There are lots of bugs, animals and outdoors awesomeness. I took old clothes and shoes. Also you should take your own initiative, after I was shown how to do something once I just did it.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? Volunteering is incredibly rewarding. It opens your eyes to how big, beautiful and diverse the world is. It challenges you to think differently and teaches you life skills that you'll have forever. Volunteering abroad shows you how there are many types of ways of life and that happiness can be found in the smallest of places. Most importantly I think it teaches you humanity.

Why did you choose Pod? Incredible professional record."

Kynan - 2013

“Thank you Becky and the Pod team for an amazing life changing experience, I am so grateful to have had this opportunity. My time at the Orphanage was just great, the children are absolutely beautiful, I stayed there for three weeks and I feel that was a great time to spend (wish I'd stayed longer ). I would highly recommend staying at least two weeks in order to form a good bond with the kids, but even a week you will still have an amazing experience. Apart from the fun times with the children, I loved living the Thai culture, they are such beautiful people, that was a great experience in itself. For anyone thinking about doing this, stop thinking and just do it!! Go there with an open mind and no expectations and you will have a blast!! I can’t wait to go back.

What did you find most challenging? I can’t say I really found any of it challenging, there was the language barrier, but after a week I barely noticed it, if anything the cold showers were a challenge and leaving the place was really hard after building a strong relationship with everyone.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? It’s good for the children to have that experience with people from a different country, helps them heaps to learn English, which is something they need for their future. And also do it for yourself, the feeling I got from this experience is overwhelming, I am so happy to have done this and I feel amazing from it, I will go back there..”

Hannah - 2013

"I had a great time at the orphanage in Thailand. All of the staff and children were really welcoming and friendly, and even though there was a bit of a language barrier it did not matter too much when spending time with the kids. There's lots of opportunity to get involved especially with teaching.

Overall it was a brilliant volunteering project and I will definitely be going back to visit when I can in the future! Thanks Pod for making this opportunity available to me! I have had a brilliant time volunteering and hope to do more in the future.

It rained for a week and the indoor jobs they had for us when the kids were at school became a bit thin on the ground so I had quite a bit of spare time.

Weekends are the best as the kids often have a trip out to the beach or the waterfall, and you can also have a dip in the river next to the orphanage. At the weekends we taught English to each child individually, and there was lots of opportunities to go on trips, get a good football game going or help out with the upkeep of the orphanage garden.

What did you find most rewarding? Teaching the children English and building a friendship with all of the kids. I liked getting to know each of their personalities and also building a relationship with the other members of staff.

What did you find most challenging? Coping with the rainy weather! There was more free time when it rained but there was a lot less to do in the bad weather.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Be open minded and ready to get involved. You get out as much as you put in! Also do some further travelling to see more of Thailand or the local area because the orphanage is very sheltered and safe.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? Why not?! It's a great experience and a great way to see the country from a perspective that many other people will not see. It also is great to put on your CV and you'll have loads of interesting stories to tell your friends to make them jealous.

Why did you choose Pod? The website looked reliable and I liked the fact that there was a Facebook page with lots of posts from others. The telephone interview was good and it put me at ease with whether Pod was the right choice."

 Victoria - 2013

"I have had the best time here, you are welcomed into the orphanage as part of the family. They do such a good job for the kids. I have never met such a big group of kids that are constantly happy and I don't think I saw one argument between them. I want to go back again!

What did you find most rewarding? Working with kids in the evening, helping the kids learn English. But best of all we held a party for them on our last night and the kids love to dance and make you join in too.

What did you find most challenging? The communication between the us and local people, its quite off the beaten path so its only the staff that speak English.

Were there any aspects of the placement which you would like to see improved? It was perfect! I loved the people and the kids....I LOVE THE HOME!

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Take old clothes you dont mind getting destroyed...take any little arts and crafts things with you annd some things are hard to get hold of there. Kids loved the tye dye t-shirts we made together.

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? You would love every second of it...the kids have so little but are always smiling!"

Kerri - 2013

"Traveling to Thailand was the best decision I have ever made and I have taken so much back home with me, it's almost impossible to compress into such a short space. Not only did I travel with a friend and experience Thai culture in some of the biggest cities in Thailand, but I had the opportunity to stay at the orphanage in Phang Nga and make a difference in the lives of 25 children. The bond that we created is something that no one can ever take away or replace; each child and staff member has a special place in my heart forever. I have been back home in the United States for a little over 2 weeks and I have not stopped thinking about my time overseas. It has impacted me in ways I never dreamed of and not a day goes by that I don't think of the genuine people at the orphanage that became a second family to me.

A typical day included a major task such as painting the children's rooms or gardening and then playing with the kids and helping clean the home by sweeping, organizing, helping with laundry, etc.

Everyone was so accommodating and helpful; I have nothing negative to say about the experience I had while volunteering at the orphanage. I highly recommend pursuing this volunteer project - I'm already figuring out how I can go back to Thailand one day. 

Why did you choose Pod? I researched a few volunteer organizations that had placement overseas, but I got a good vibe from the Pod website and it was easy to access...also lots of great reviews online!”

Karen - 2012

"I chose Pod because it came on recommendation from a close friend. The discussion I had with the placement manager at Pod was very helpful and particularly as it was based on her own personal experience which helped with being able to visualise what to expect. The administration of organising my placement was faultless."

Tony & Jan - 2012

"I was initially surprised by the conditions here but soon adjusted to them and realised it wasn't so bad. Although living with so little the whole team and children seemed very content and I realised that things would be so much worse without this facility. The team and children were all very friendly and loving and a pleasure to be with. I was very sad to leave and they gave us a lovely send off before we left. I will be keeping in touch with them and will follow their process and hope to return one day. Thanks for a great experience!

What was an average day like? An early start to get the kids off to school followed by breakfast in the coffee shop. After that the day would vary, helping out with whatever needed found - cleaning, painting, building gardening. Lunch at midday and the kids back at about 4 so helping out with homework and interacting with them. Dinner at 6 and then getting the kids off to be at 8 and making sure the boys brushed their teeth!

What did you find most rewarding?

Being with the kids especially the friendship and affection they showed, but any help we could give was rewarding.

What did you find most challenging? Not always having the right tools for the job. A fair bit of improvisation needed!

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Take some old clothes as you may be doing anything from painting to mixing cement, plastering or gardening so you will get mucky!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? Because you can - we have so much in our modern money based lives. It doesn't take too much and you'll be helping at very practical level and will find the rewards immense.

Why did you choose Pod? I read an article in the Guardian and liked what I was on the website."

Jessica - 2012

“My time at the orphanage was very rewarding, from the moment I arrived the staff and children welcomed me into their family. There is no distinction between volunteers and the family. I found the orphanage to be very comfortable and the living conditions were much better than I had envisioned. The staff members are excellent in communicating and speaking English. Bay and Bomm were excellent at supporting us and making the best out of our time there. I learned a lot about the Thai culture and myself as well. The children are very humble, respectful and of course silly. I enjoyed tickling and playing with the younger ones and talking with the older kids. I really enjoyed teaching the children English. They really enjoyed when I used some educational apps on my iPad. The children are well provided for and I hope the best for their futures with support of the orphanage. You need to be prepared to be flexible and willing to help with whatever is asked. It was not always the same and most days you are working all day.

I found connecting with the children the most rewarding part but the hardest part was the language barrier and saying goodbye to a child who says they love you and you are leaving."

Natalie - 2011

“I found this placement so rewarding, it's amazing how happy these children can be when they have so little, and they each have their own personalities. Every child was so polite and grateful. Every single child made you feel welcomed - and they each would come out of their shells at different times. So each day you would get to know a different child - and their quirks. Definitely a good project to be a part of.”

Rose - 2011

“My time in the orphanage in Phang Nga in Thailand was a fantastic experience; I will remember the time I spent there for the rest of my life. The children and adults who work there could not be more kind and generous; within hours of arriving the children were playing with me, asking for pigg-backs and chasing me round the garden! It was like they had known me for years! This project is good for a first-time experience as the orphanage is not at all dilapidated and we lived in comfort. The children are well fed and go to school, there is internet access, showers (albeit with only cold water) and transport. If you want a hardcore poverty-stricken placement this is not for you, but if, like me, you want to experience Thai culture, get to know some wonderful children and basically have an 'adventure', this placement would be perfect.

Pod look after you at all stages of the project so you feel very safe and it is nice to know you won't be left alone if anything goes wrong. I would recommend them to others.”

Olivia - 2011

“Working at the orphanage was one of the most amazing experiences. Everyone there is so welcoming that it feels like you are joining a family straight away. The love care and warmth that Rosa and Root provide for everyone that lives there is touching and truly shows the extent of human compassion. The children are wonderful and intelligent and above all are happy to be part of a family once again. I would really recommend this project to anyone who is thinking of volunteering abroad and I hope to return as soon as I can, I only wish that I had stayed longer!”

 Phoebe - 2011

"My time at the orphanage was definitely eye opening for me. It helped me to see how another family and another culture completely, lived. I learnt a lot whilst I was there, in a way that I couldn't have learnt in any other way. The staff were so welcoming and the work they do there is amazing. I left feeling as if I wanted to tell the whole world about what they do so that they can catch a break and finally do all of the things they want to do. It was great meeting and getting to know the children and I formed close bonds with lots of them so it was very sad for me to leave. They are such happy children and they do have a great life, its amazing how much you can communicate without speech! I think if you are interested in making a difference to these people and this orphanage and would like to see how another family and culture live then this is the project for you.

I found interacting with the children the most rewarding experience of my time at the orphanage. Without speech and the same language it is very hard to communicate but sometimes you dont need speech. That really amazed me and I loved messing around with them saying the odd thai word mixed with a few English words.

You should definitely volunteer abroad because you learn so much about how other people live and it broadens your mind without you even realising it. You learn so much about a different way of life and you learn so much about yourself too. Its completely out of most peoples comfort zones which is why its good, you gain more self confidence too!"

Laura - 2011

"I had what I can only describe as an absolutely incredible experience at the orphanage in Thailand. I was nervous about going there that they would be a 'tight knit' family, due to it being a relatively small orphanage and I wouldn't fit in, but I couldn't have been more wrong. I was so welcomed and made to feel like a new member of the family as the children were so friendly and an absolute pleasure to be around. I feel very lucky and honoured to have been a part of something so special and hope to go back soon.

What did you find most rewarding? I found being with the children incredibly rewarding in itself. I loved spending time with them, playing games, teaching them English words, singing, dancing and having fun. They made me appreciate my life in England so much more than they will ever know. I will definitely be going back in hopefully the not to distant future and would love to see how they’ve all grown.

Were there any aspects of the placement which you would like to see improved? I thought the placement was amazing and I am in awe of the incredible work they are doing over there and therefore wouldn't want to interfere by changing anything that they are currently doing.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? Fantastic experience, I would recommend it to everyone. Don't think you're not brave enough, might not enjoy it, not sure if it's for you, just do it - best thing I ever did.”

Tara - 2011

"My time with the orphanage was by far the highlight of my trip! The kids are absolutely fantastic....I miss them soooo much!

Every aspect of my time there was rewarding!

What did you find most challenging? The heat!

Why do you think others should volunteer abroad? An amazing experience - you get to live with people from that country which is a great cultural experience!"

Lynsey and Fraser - 2010

"We were blown away by our experience at the orphanage. The warmth and generosity of the children and staff was overwhelming and humbling especially given we were only there for a week. The kids are the most endearing I have come across and it was with a heavy heart that we had to leave. We most definitely hope to return as it exceeded our expectations in every way. The placement gave a great insight into Thai culture and provided us with a broad range of experiences from helping in the bakery, taking the children to the beach, to building tables and celebrating a birthday with a traditional pan BBQ. Amazing. if you get the chance, do it! Many thanks to Beth and the Team."

What is a typical day at the project? There was no typical day as we did a variety of tasks on a day to day basis. This included anything from; teaching English at the school, baking, building, playing games with the kids or taking them to the beach.

What did you find most rewarding? Being able to build a relationship with the children in such a short space of time despite the language barrier. The children have the most amazing personalities and were so warm and loving towards us within such a short space of time..a special experience.

What advice would you give others considering doing this placement? You need to be open minded and used to the outdoors. There are lots of weird and wonderful bugs, no hot water and some rather unpleasant smells. But they pale into insignificance when you meet the children.”

Ashley - 2010

"I had such an amazing time at the orphanage in Thailand. I highly recommend it to everyone. Everyone was so lovely and welcoming and made me feel like part of the family. I can't wait to go back and visit next year to see how all the children are progressing!"

What did you find most rewarding? Everyone at the orphanage was so grateful for whatever I did which really inspired me. Even if I only did something as small as helping with homework, the children were so happy when it was complete it made me feel like I really was making a difference. I put in a lot of effort when doing manual labour jobs, it was so hot and i was sweating profusely but I kept on going until the job was done and I was so proud of myself when the job was finished. Building is something I'd never do at home so doing that for someone else who is worse off than I am was very rewarding and I now know I am capable of making concrete from scratch, mixing it up and building a wall!

Were there any aspects of the placement which you would like to see improved? I think the placement was near perfect!

Anyone and everyone who is considering doing something like this, do it! I believe everyone should volunteer overseas at least once in their life, its so rewarding and amazing.”

Rachel - 2010

"I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the orphanage in Thailand! The children were full of life and laughter and made my experience what it was. Brilliant food and accommodation, both of which made the stay that little bit easier, as it can be a daunting prospect arriving in a foreign country by yourself! I was involved in various projects, anything from teaching English in schools, building, helping with daily chores and of course keeping the children entertained! All in all a brilliant experience and one that I wont forget!

I really loved teaching English to the kids in the orphanage and in the schools. In particular, one of the elder girls wanted to get into the hotel industry and so needed to improve her English language. I spent quite a lot of time with her doing role plays and speaking English. Knowing i was helping with something that would ultimately better her future was really rewarding.

It is definitely a worthy experience, not only for personal growth and development but being able to see another culture from the inside rather than as a tourist. Similarly, the benefit you can bring to another community makes it worthwhile in itself."

Janine - 2010

"It is so amazing here. Everybody is just so friendly and nice and I feel good!

Great experience and everybody is just part of the life there. Good chance to see different things and cultures.

Would you recommend Pod to others? Yes I would!"

Find out more about the Children's Home project

AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal