There are several children’s homes scattered around Thailand that are a refuge for orphaned and abandoned children. While the homes are run by caring men and women, volunteers are always needed to help keep the children amused and entertained and teach them English and other subjects.

Home of Joy

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Baan Unrak means Home of Joy in the Thai language is situated in the town of Sangkhlaburi in the province of Kanchanaburi. This large home is managed by Didi Anuraga and Didi Devamala and is home to more than a hundred children as well as a number of abandoned mothers. The home provides food and shelter for children and aims to give them a better future.

Although tourism is flourishing in this part of Thailand, many of the local people suffer from poverty and disease. A large number of Burmese refugees fleeing war in their own country have decided to settle in this area, which has helped to escalate local economic problems such as high unemployment.

As a result, a significant percentage of the population is unable to care for their children and is forced to abandon them. In many cases the head of the household goes in search of work in Bangkok and never returns, which leaves the woman to take care of herself and her family by herself.

How it all started

Baan Unrak children’s home was established in 2004 to help address this problem. It started almost by accident when an abandoned wife asked Didi Devamala to help take care of her child. Both the woman and her child were suffering from severe malnutrition and a number of other illnesses and as Didi Devamala nursed them back to health, news of her compassion and generosity spread. Before long, she was providing help and support for a number of local children and before Didi new it Baan Unrak had become a children’s home.

The number of children that were being cared for at Baan Unrak grew so quickly that in June 2006 Didi and the children moved into a new building. In addition providing care for orphaned children, Baan Unrak serves as an education centre and runs a number of special small-scale community projects.

Activities

The children at Baan Unrak learn yoga and meditation, which helps to teach them concentration and ensure their physical and psychological well-being. Special group meditation sessions are offered each morning and evening in the home. The special onsite school teaches children a wide range of subjects and skills that they can use to gain employment in the future.

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Go and Volunteer!

Volunteering at Baan Unrak is a good way for visitors to Thailand to gain teaching experience while getting to know a new part of the country. Kanchanaburi province is particularly scenic a boasts picturesque mountains, waterfalls and jungles that are just waiting to be explored.

Volunteers are required to stay at Baan Unrak for a minimum of a week, although people are welcome to stay for six months or more if they choose. Accommodation is provided free of charge to volunteers who stay at Baan Unrak for six months or more, while those who wish to stay for a few weeks are asked for a small fee to cover costs. People who would like to volunteer at Baan Unrak should email service@anandmarga.org.