The Cardoner Network has been sending volunteers to Thailand since 2011. Our first placements were to the community of Huay Tong in the Chiang Mai region and in 2018 we started sending volunteers to Xavier Learning Community in the Chiang Rai District.
The Huay Tong base is the home of our main in-country partner, Malawan Kasetsukchai. Maliwan hosts 8 volunteers in a communal residence and oversees up to 10 more in 4 other regional locations. Across these locations volunteers assist with English and Maths teaching at 12 schools. These schools are predominantly made up of peoples from the ethnic minorities of Northern Thailand, who tend to be marginalised in terms of educational opportunities. The schools are often underfunded and understaffed and need volunteers to help maintain sustainable education systems.
The work and impact of our volunteers was noted by Fr Vinai Boonlue SJ, Maliwan's brother. Fr Vinai was a key leader in the establishment of a residential tertiary education centre, Xavier Learning Community (XLC), in the Chiang Rai district. He has had many occasions to witness our volunteers in action and believed they could have a great impact on the XLC students' learning, particularly in developing better fluency in English speaking, a skill that would greatly enhance students' employability. Our volunteers started serving at XLC in 2018, and also extend themselves to assist at local primary schools. Our volunteers live on campus at XLC.
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“I have grown immensely in my ability to follow a way less travelled, doing my best at every turn, and adapting myself when faced with difficult circumstances. I learnt so much about the world and people different to myself, and grew further in my independence as we worked together as a community of equals. While I came here to give my time and efforts, I feel so humbled and indebted due to everything it has given me. I feel like I’ve been a part of something bigger than myself and that has been something truly special.”
James Mukheibir, Thailand