next month i will be heading to the burma/thailand border with my sisters to go volunteer at an orphanage. baan dada is a small orphanage that houses a little over 50 children. you can read more about them on their website and in the blogs of some past volunteers – here and here. many of the children at this particular orphanage are not ethnically thai. they are of the karen ethinic group, which is a minority group in burma. the karen people fled political persecution in burma and now live in refugee camps on the thai side of the burma-thai border. these children are not considered thai citizens and are not given full legal rights in thailand – as one of the bloggers above put it, they are “invisible.”
since i have not yet been there, i cannot speak specifically to the current state. but reading about other volunteers’ experiences scattered across so many personal blogs and websites, i am able to get a good sense of the community they have built and the good work they are doing. while i am there, i think we will be helping care for the kids, teach some english and art classes, help with smaller building projects, etc.
i will try to keep everyone updated on my journey and experiences out there. i am trying to organize some supplies for the trip – the dada who runs the home has asked for money for supplies for the kids (supplies are cheaper for them to buy in thailand), medical supplies and computers. i told him computers i can definitely help with! if anyone wants to donate to these kids, or maybe has a connection at a big computer hardware company (dell, you out there?!?!?!), then please contact me. i would be happy to bring things over there.