Reflections from a Thailand Volunteer
My name is Cameron Allen. I am 25 years old and I grew up in Australia. There, my education was free and, more importantly, I could walk safely to school and had access to an enormous amount of resources. My healthcare was and still is free under the government system. I had my own bedroom and a study room to myself, plus a computer with internet. All of these things were just normal. There was never any thought that it could be any other way….But there is.
After bumping into SOLD’s local director Tawee in Chiang Rai and hearing of the vision that the non-profit has, I could not possibly have asked more questions. I arranged to go out and see more about what they were doing. It didn’t take me long to realize that SOLD was doing very beneficial things for the communities surrounding them. I decided I would come back to Chiang Rai, do some classes with the kids and assist Tawee with some research for a potential future project for SOLD.
After doing this work and some other volunteer work with groups in Cambodia and another area of Thailand, I believe that prevention and education is the key. If a child is going to school safely everyday and gaining a belief in themselves, that they, as children, can contribute to this world, they will NOT end up in a cycle of exploitation.
After going into the village by myself one day after some classes, I was greeted with never-ending smiles, as some of the children recognized me and their parents and grandparents realised that I was someone they knew. I was invited in to play some ping pong on a staircase, do some boxing with a mesh bag filled with grass and play soccer with a bamboo stitched ball. This brought me back to basics, these children were joyous in their environment, living the only way they know how. Like any child, they deserve a chance, they have a right, like any other, for an education. THEY.ARE.OUR.FUTURE.