Thank you for offering your time and energy to help us make sure that the children and young people in our learning centres have access to the best education possible: one which enriches their lives now, and opens opportunities for them either back in Myanmar, in Thailand or further afield.
We hope that you enjoy your time here and have the opportunity to make the best use of the skills and experiences that you have to offer so that you are able to make a really meaningful and worthwhile contribution to the community,.
Ideally, you will be staying with us for a period of least 3 months (and longer is even better!). If you are working in a learning centre, a longer stay means that you can really get to know the students, teachers and community; develop teaching approaches which are culturally and educationally appropriate; and have a real impact on children’s learning.
The following brief guidelines are given to help you make sure that your time as a volunteer is as productive as possible for both yourself and those with whom you are working. The key principles of working as a volunteer include the overlapping values of professionalism, respect and integrity. We hope the following points are useful.
Contact details. Make sure that the BMWEC office and the head teacher (if you are working in a learning centre) have your contact details, including telephone number, email and where you are staying. Make sure that you also have contact numbers for both BMWEC and your school.
Support. We will do all we can to provide support and ensure that you have a great time while you are here: including meeting you at the airport if possible, taking you to the doctor if necessary, providing advice about Mae Sot and helping wherever we can. However, we have limited resources and we are a community-based organisation rather than a volunteer placement organisation, so you will have to undertake most arrangements on your own.
Transport. You are expected to arrange your own transport to and from school or the office wherever this is possible (most foreigners use either bicycles or motorbikes).
Accommodation. If you are working in town, you will usually have to arrange your own accommodation (there are a range of options including guesthouses, hotels and apartments). Note: “What’s happening in Mae Sot” on Facebook is a good source of information regarding accommodation as well as lots of other things. We can join you up to the FB group if you would like. If you are working out of town, accommodation may be available at the school. You may wish to find a way of making a contribution of either money or food to cover costs. Money can be donated to the school (but not individuals) through BMWEC.
Visas. You are responsible for organizing and paying for your own visas. The regulations governing visas change regularly but, if you are staying for over a month, it is almost always best to organize a Thai visa before you leave home. Again “What’s Happening in Mae Sot” (Facebook) is a good source of up-to-date information.
Insurance/Medical Costs. You are responsible for organizing your own travel insurance and covering your own medical costs. We would advise making sure that you have a comprehensive insurance policy, as medical costs (particularly for accidents) can be expensive. Having said that, medical treatment for minor illnesses is relatively cheap.
Training. We do not have training sessions for volunteers. We will do our best to give relevant advice about the border, education and schools on the border– but you are generally expected to be able to prepare and organize your own teaching.
As a volunteer you may be seen as a role model by both staff and students. It is really important that you take your role seriously (and this in turn conveys to others that you respect them, and take them seriously!).
Attendance and punctuality
Child-safe code of conduct
All BMWEC, volunteers are expected to act with integrity and demonstrate respect towards others. Respecting others and the local culture is basic to working successfully in any situation. In this context, migrants have often repeatedly suffered a lack of respect from those who hold power, so it is especially important that foreigners make a special effort to be respectful.
General behaviour. When you are in a learning centre, or at the office, it is as if you are a visitor in someone else’s house, so:
Photographs, use of people’s names and internet.
Drugs, alcohol and smoking. Please do not use drugs, cigarettes or alcohol on school grounds or when on school organized trips.