Would you like to do something different and meaningful for the holidays? Think about treating yourself to a holiday gift that keeps on giving. Step into the experience of a Habitat for Humanity Global Village trip to Thailand to help build a home and hope for a family. We are seeking enthusiastic, flexible, open-minded, team oriented individuals to travel and immerse themselves in the Thai culture. You need not have any construction skills, only the passion to make a difference.
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 and 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, November 29, 2013): Depart the U.S.
Day 2 (Sunday, December 1, 2013): Arrive in Chiang Mai.
Day 3 (Monday, December 2, 2013): Welcome and orientation with local staff; visit project sites and families; welcome dinner.
Days 4-8 (Tuesday, December 3-Friday, December 6, 2013): 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.
Day 9 (Sunday, December 7, 2013): Free day; local activities.
Days 10-13 (Monday, December 9-Thursday, December 12, 2013): 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 (Friday, December 12, 2013): Depart for home.
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 .)
Charlie Buracker is a native of Virginia where he has a small masonry business. He has been volunteering with the Global Village program for the last 10 years and has lead more than 15 teams to countries including Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Portugal, Poland, Romania and Vietnam. You can reach Charlie by email at email@example.com 
Amanda Shenk is a former teacher with a master’s degree in school counseling. She is currently the spiritual life coordinator for Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va., where she organizes mission trips and fellowship events. Originally from a small town in southern Virginia, she has a passion for helping others and works with various volunteer organizations in her northern Virginia community in addition to Habitat For Humanity Global Village. When she is not busy volunteering, Amanda enjoys spending time with her family and being on the river. You can reach Amanda by email at firstname.lastname@example.org  or by Skype: ms.ashenk