Want to start making the most of your time and giving back to our local community? Why not consider volunteering in Bangkok…
It’s easy to live in a bubble while you’re in Bangkok, with our major gripes being stuck in traffic or caught in the rain without your umbrella.
In fairness, turning up hours late and looking like a drowned rat is never ideal.
But away from the gleaming shopping malls and shiny new condos, outside of the bubble, there’s a whole other side to Bangkok. A side which needs your help.
Volunteering in Bangkok is one of the best ways to not only give back to your local community, but also to keep you dosed with a grounding of reality. Not only will you likely learn new skills and meet a hugely diverse community of people, but you’ll get to enjoy that warm fuzzy feeling of actually making a tangible difference.
*Remember, non-Thai nationals will need to make arrangements with the organisation they choose for the appropriate visa and work permit.*
There are countless opportunities for volunteering in Bangkok; let’s take a look at some of the best.
- 1 Volunteering with Children
- 2 Volunteering with Adults and Communities
- 3 Volunteering with Animals
- 4 Volunteering with the Environment
- 5 Umbrella Volunteering Organisations
The FBLC is located in Chaeng Watthana and is dedicated to the support and safeguarding of children’s rights and helping disadvantaged kids. They offer support to homeless, abused, orphaned and street labouring children, as well as those affected by AIDS or with imprisoned parents.
Volunteers are welcomed to help join the fundraising effort, as well as to feed the children and even foster them. They accept donations towards the general work of the charity, as well as towards their scholarship programme.
The Mercy Centre is a shelter for homeless children located in the Klong Toey Slum. It’s comprised of 5 orphanages, a kindergarten, hospice and a home for mothers and children suffering from HIV and AIDS. It’s also known as the Human Development Foundation and was founded by Father Joseph Maier, a Catholic priest, in 1973. The centre’s reach has expanded hugely since its establishment.
They welcome volunteer English teachers who are able to commit to at least two months in order to provide the children with some much needed stability.
This is a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping the poor children and families in Thailand. The Go Happiness Centre can be found in On Nut, while there are plenty of other drop-off points in Bangkok for anyone wishing to donate used goods to the cause.
Their aid giving projects sees tons of these goods given to the poor community in Thailand while the core members of the Foundation provide educational comedy shows to these communities and bring some joy to these heavily disadvantaged children.
Donations of both money and goods are always welcome while volunteers who can give some time to administration, accountancy, driving and IT services are also greatly appreciated.
Operation Smile is an international organisation that provides free surgery to children born with cleft lip or cleft palate — a facial condition that affects every 1 in 700 babies in Thailand. If not treated, it leaves the child open to physical suffering as well as potential psychological trauma.
Professional medical volunteers are understandably most in demand at Operation Smile, but they also need community volunteers in Thailand to fundraise, join missions and prepare medical supplies.
The FFAC has been dedicated to the welfare of Thai children since its establishment in 1977. Their programmes include providing residential nursery care, day care, educational sponsorships, aid, bicycles, puppet shows and cooperative welfare to all their children in need.
Volunteers for the residential nursery care programme as welcomed daily between 9-11 am and 2-5pm, while donations, sponsorship, buying a bicycle and even adoptions are also encouraged.
The Samaritans is an international listening service offered to people who feel that they have nowhere else to turn and even suicidal. They provide services in both Thai and English and are committed to being non-political and non-sectarian.
They offer a training programme for potential volunteers and only ask for patience and a commitment to listen without prejudice.
HFH is an international organisation dedicated to building new buildings and houses for homeless people and families. They regularly recruit volunteers for building projects throughout Bangkok and Thailand.
The Foundation for the Blind is under the patronage of HM Queen Sirikit and is dedicated to giving support to Thailand’s blind population by education, professional training and experiences. The Foundation is composed of a number of different segments, including the Bangkok School for the Blind, The Skills Development Centre, Education Technology, Vocational Training Center for Blind Women and the Lighthouse Center.
Volunteers are welcomed who can teach IT, foreign languages, music and help with homework, as well as people willing to help with PR, recreational activities and the library. They also welcome people to submit CDs of themselves reading textbooks and literature.
This foundation aims to teach Thai women and girls the skills and confidence to transform their lives through training and career development.
They advertise their volunteer openings online, which range from trainers to mentors, student recruiters, teachers and video producers.
Volunteers for the National Museum Bangkok provides support to the museum by way of guiding foreign visitors, organising excursions, chairing study groups, guiding workshops and even providing public lectures on certain aspects of Thai history and culture.
There is an annual guiding workshop for those who want to become tour guides, with particular focus on those who can speak English, French, German and Japanese.
There are over 1 million stray and community cats thought to be roaming Bangkok and PAWS are at the forefront of the fight to control the population, heal and rehome as many as possible. They provide vet health services to all their rescued animals, as well as much needed vaccinations and sterilisations and community education projects.
To inquire about volunteering, you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This charity is encouraging the recycling mission in Thailand by taking all your used paper and converting them into notebooks and other such stationery to be sold to pay for their overhead costs. It’s super easy to volunteer here: simply take them your used paper (or all your company’s used paper) to their office in Bangkapi. They’ll also bring their cheap handmade notebooks to sell at your office on appointment.
Greenpeace are known throughout the world for their activism and work to raise awareness and right environmental wrongs. They have an office in Bangkok, which you should contact to find out about local volunteering options — you can even undertake non-violence training if you’re keen to get involved in environmental activism.
Baandinthai is a large organisation dedicated to both improving the environment and supporting local communities with a regular roster of volunteer activities throughout Bangkok and Thailand.
Recent events include the restoration of a coastal ecosystem, restoring wetlands, building a temple and repairing a houseboat. Get in touch to find out more about local volunteering opportunities in the city and beyond.
Friends for Asia is a huge international organisation that generally arranges short-term volunteer projects in local Asian communities. They have numerous ongoing projects throughout Thailand, but also a few specific to Bangkok:
UNESCO is a UN organisation (for education, science and culture) that offers plenty of opportunities for voluntary work and internships out of its Bangkok office. Most internships are full-time for around 4 months while volunteer projects are more flexible. There are some educational barriers to entry.
- Education for All (APPEAL)
- Education Policy and Reform
- HIV Prevention
- Intergovernmental Oceanographic Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (IOC/WESTPAC)
- Information and Knowledge Management
The BWG arrange various volunteering opportunities to their members, including visiting foreign inmates in Bang Kwang prison, volunteering at the Hilltribes Education Project and visiting local orphanages.
The United Nations Volunteer (UNV) programme has a mission in Thailand and is dedicated to peace and development through volunteerism. Recruited UNVs are often put to work on programmes involving peacekeeping, electoral supervision, humanitarian assistance and other development initiatives. You will need education and experience to be recruited.
You can also become an online volunteer to the UN if you are sufficiently expert in certain areas and willing to lend this expertise to a global knowledge bank.
Where do you volunteer in Bangkok?
Featured image is by James Chew and is used under a CC BY 2.0 Licence