I’m excited to invite you to join a real building adventure in northern Thailand. We will work with a local family in or near the city of Lampang, to help them improve the quality of their housing. Lampang is part of Habitat’s HRC North region, based in Chiang Mai. (It is also the original hometown of the team leader’s wife, so there are many insights to be gained that would not otherwise be available.) Northern Thailand is home to much of the country’s beautiful scenery and handicrafts. No experience is necessary to be considered for participation on the team, and no regard to age, background, sex, ethnicity, etc. The only criteria are a willingness to listen, learn, work, and enjoy.
Seventeen-year-old Nujaree Kunlung stays at home while her mother and sister work. Their new Habitat house is being built right next to their current house, pictured here.
Thailand (or Prathet Thai to locals) is located in Southeastern Asia, bordering the Andaman Sea and the Gulf of Thailand, southeast of Myanmar (Burma). Laos and Cambodia also border Thailand to the north and east.
The climate in Thailand is tropical; a rainy, warm, cloudy southwest monsoon season (mid-May to September); a dry, cool northeast monsoon season (November to mid-March). The southern isthmus is always hot and humid.
Thailand's population is relatively homogeneous. More than 85 percent speak a dialect of Thai and share a common culture. Theravada Buddhism is the religion of about 95 percent of the country’s people. The government permits religious diversity, and other major religions are represented. Spirit worship and animism are widely practiced.
About HFH Thailand
The government’s National Housing Authority estimates some 8.2 million people live in sub-standard housing. Problems are particularly acute in Bangkok as the capital has grown into a major metropolis of about 10 million people, dwarfing other cities in the country. Migration from rural areas has placed a strain upon on the supply of affordable land. Migrants face high rents for small rooms and often live in overcrowded areas plagued by a lack of proper sanitation facilities.
Habitat for Humanity Thailand began operations in 1998 in Udon Thani. Since July 2006, HFH Thailand has been operating through Habitat Resource Centers in Bangkok in the central area, Chiang Mai in the north, Udon Thani in the northeast and Phang Nga province in the south.
Through 2008, Thailand’s tsunami reconstruction program had served more than 1,500 families and is being transformed, as planned, into a regular program. The move reflects the continuing strong need for affordable housing in the south of the country. Habitat builds in Thailand using several different models – including the Save & Build program and the “Building in Stages” model.
For more information, visit www.habitatthailand.org. An English language version is available.
Types of construction for volunteers
HFH Thailand’s houses are typically 36 sq. m. each in size and the design features the use of concrete interlocking blocks or concrete hollow blocks with a tiled roof. Habitat also builds wooden stilt houses with metal sheet roofs in southern Thailand. These houses replace makeshift structures composed of canvas, cardboard, leaves and wire mesh walls and patched together with rusted scrap metal and wooden planks.
On site, volunteers can expect to move dirt, move blocks, dig septic tanks, bend rebar, mix concrete, pour concrete and lay block under the supervision of a local foreman. No previous construction skill or experience is required.
Day 1 (Friday, February 7, 2014) :Depart the U.S.
Day 2 (Saturday, February 8, 2014): Travel day.
Day 3: (Sunday, February 9, 2014): Arrive in Chiang Mai; travel to Lampang; welcome and orientation with local HFH staff member; visit project sites and families; welcome dinner.
Days 4:-8 (Monday, February 10-Friday, February, 14, 2014): Typical work days: breakfast served before traveling to worksite; work from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; free time after work to clean up; dinner; free time for activities.
Days 9-10 (Saturday, February 15-Sunday, February 16, 2014): Free day; local activities.
Days 11-13 (Monday, February 17-Wednesday, February 19, 2014): Typical work days: breakfast served before traveling to worksite; work from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; free time after work to clean up; dinner; free time for activities. Dedication and farewell ceremony with community on day 13.
Day 14 (Thursday, February 20, 2014): Travel to Chiang Mai. Departure day.
Note: Special events throughout the week include cultural experiences such as market tours, or visits to museums, orphanages, sporting events, schools and historical sites.
The team can expect lodging in a local hotel or guesthouse with participants sharing double-occupancy rooms and shared baths. The trip cost also includes three meals per day, including traditional Thai lunches on the build site, as well as snacks and bottled water.
(For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost.)
Increase your impact: Take the GV Challenge
Habitat for Humanity is accelerating its work to end poverty housing, and we need Global Village teams to help. Set a goal and fundraise to make your impact last longer than the days you’re in the field. Your support builds more homes, creates resource centers, educates families, and advances our projects to build sustainable communities. We’ll even provide tools to make fundraising easy. Take the GV Challenge – join us in sharing our story and building a better world.
Ramsay Walker has been involved with the Global Village program volunteering initially as a team member and then as a team leader or co-leader for the past decade, primarily in Asia, Europe and Africa. He has previously been on GV teams to Asian countries such as Malaysia, Viet Nam, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, Nepal and Mongolia, and has worked with several teams in Lampang in the past few years. His wife, "Boots," is a native Thai. Born and raised in Lampang, she has a great depth of GV experience, and will be a real asset to the team. Ramsay can be contacted regarding this exciting opportunity by email at email@example.com.