We are excited to invite you to join us on a building adventure in the northern Thai city of Lampang. We will be working with local families to help them improve their housing. Lampang is the hometown of one of the team leaders, 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, so it will be a rich experience in a great many ways. No experience is necessary to be considered for participation on the team—only a willingness to listen, learn and work.
Seventeen-year-old Nujaree Kunlung stays at home while her mother and sister work. Their new Habitat house is being built 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. Laos and Cambodia also border Thailand to the north and east.
The climate in Thailand is tropical with a rainy, warm, cloudy monsoon season in the southwest (mid-May to September) and a dry, cool monsoon season in the northeast (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.
The population of Thailand was estimated at more than 65 million in 2008. Bangkok is Thailand’s capital and one of the world’s largest cities by population, with more than 8.1 million residents in 2008. Due to large unregistered influxes of migrants from northeastern Thailand and many nations across Asia, the population of greater Bangkok is growing.
Chiang Mai is where Habitat established its first resource center in northern Thailand; it serves as Habitat’s base of operations for work in the region.
About Habitat for Humanity Thailand
The government’s National Housing Authority estimates some 8.2 million people in Thailand live in substandard housing. Problems are particularly acute in Bangkok as the capital has grown into a major metropolis, dwarfing other cities in the country. Migrants face high rents for small rooms and often live in overcrowded areas plagued by a lack of proper sanitation facilities. Squatter settlements are commonly seen along railway lines or near port and industrial areas.
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.
HFH Thailand’s tsunami-reconstruction program has served more than 1,500 families as of 2008 and is being transformed, as planned, into a regular program. The move reflects the continuing need for affordable housing in the south of the country.
For more information, visit www.habitatthailand.org. (An English language version of the site is available.)
Types of construction for volunteers
HFH Thailand’s houses are typically 36 square meters in size, and the design features the use of concrete interlocking blocks or concrete hollow blocks with a tiled roof. 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.
Friday, May 7: Depart for Bangkok.
Saturday, May 8: Arrive in Bangkok.
Sunday, May 9: Travel to Lampang; welcome dinner and orientation with local staff.
Monday–Friday, May 10–14 (typical workdays): Breakfast; work from 8 a.m.–5 p.m.; dinner; free time for activities.
Saturday–Sunday, May 15–16: Exciting local activities!
Monday–Thursday, May 17–20 (typical workdays): Farewell with families on May 20.
Friday, May 21: Possible half day of work; travel on overnight train to Bangkok.
Saturday, May 22: Free time in Bangkok; team farewell dinner.
Sunday, May 23: Depart for home.
Note: Special events throughout the week may 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.
Trip cost includes: donation to the Habitat host program and HFHI; meals; accommodations; transport (excluding trip participant air fare); medical emergency evacuation and trip cancellation insurance; some local cultural activities and team coordination and orientation materials. A small portion of the team leader’s trip costs are included in the trip budget. The trip cost does not include trip participant air fare, R&R activities or visa and exit fees (not applicable for all destinations).
Boots and Ramsay Walker have been involved for several years with the Global Village program, volunteering as team members and team leaders primarily in Europe and Asia. Boots’ involvement with Habitat for Humanity includes a year spent working full-time in Thailand, her native country, as national GV coordinator. They have previously led more than a dozen recent GV teams to several Asian countries, such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, India and Mongolia and have worked before with GV teams in Lampang, Boots’ hometown.
For more information about this GV trip, contact Boots and Ramsay via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.