Making a difference through volunteering

Lucy Bull
BA (Hons) Marketing 2015
Volunteer Teacher in Thailand

In November 2016 I volunteered at Volunteer Teacher Thailand in Khao Lak whilst travelling. Volunteer Teacher Thailand is an amazing charity founded by Ken Hyde; a retired teacher from the UK who set up the charity to support families and children in the area who have been affected by the Tsunami that hit South Thailand on Boxing Day in 2004. 

The charity supports a local orphanage that homes those children who sadly lost their families after the effects of the tsunami, and also provides English teaching to local schools. 

Before starting my volunteering role, I had a half day induction of teacher training and helped to pack all the activities for the week ahead. I was given amazing training which I was really grateful for as I didn’t have any previous teaching experience. The charity welcomes volunteers of all ages, regardless of your experience, and provide a fantastic learning environment for both the children and volunteers. 

The children at the local schools are so friendly and welcoming. They are so eager to learn English and love practicing with the volunteers. Teaching English to the children is strongly backed by schools and local authorities as it’s a vital skill in their day to day lives to support the tourism in the areas and is a requirement for university if children wish to continue with their education. 

The children are so playful and happy and it was lovely to see how well they embraced new volunteers. During the week we taught classes in pairs giving the volunteers a chance to support or lead a class of students. We taught children from ages 4-16 so there were plenty of different learning activities to keep them occupied and to match their abilities. 

On the final two days we volunteered at an English camp for students aged 13-15 (equivalent to the final two years of secondary schools in the UK). The students had to complete two days of exercises, acting and presentations, and were then awarded certificates at the award ceremony hosted by the charity on the final afternoon. It was brilliant to see the children so proud of themselves and their classmates. 

The charity, Volunteer Teacher Thailand, is such a friendly and welcoming charity who continually need volunteers to help provide teaching to the orphans and local schools. If you're thinking about travelling and possibly doing some teaching or volunteering whilst you are away, I would really recommend signing up! The costs to the volunteers are minimal compared to other charities and it is such a worthy cause.