At XploreAsia, we not only provide our participants with incredible teacher training and placements, but we also strive to make a true difference as an organization. We believe in creating change in our local community, and through our actions, we hope to inspire others to make a difference in their own local communities.
One of the wonderful organizations that we support is the Pala-U orphanage in Petchaburi, Thailand. Located roughly two hours away from Hua Hin, the orphanage is home to 24 children and is growing every-day. Here, we talk with one of our XA directors Paang on how XploreAsia has been making a difference at the Pala-U orphanage.
Could you tell us a little more about the Pala-U orphanage?
It was founded around 12 years ago and the person who runs the orphanage is a Karen-Thai national. He started fostering [children] when he was only 19 years old. In the beginning, he adopted one child while he was a volunteer teacher.
Then, he met another kid who was a really good student but could not afford to go to school and had no relatives that could take care of him. He adopted the boy and just kept going. Within a year he had 7 kids in his care. Now there are 24 children: 14 boys and 10 girls. The youngest one is 8 years old.
The orphanage is not funded by any government institutions or private organizations. There are other private groups that have tried to help them but they haven’t been able to provide stable support. It is located in the west of Thailand, about 1 hour 40 minutes from Hua Hin. It is in the remote area in Pa Deng village in Petchaburi, close to the border of Myanmar.
How did you become involved with the Pala-U orphanage?
We contacted the orphanage 3 years ago about adopting puppies from our Rescue Paws project. Through our staff at Rescue Paws, we found that they were interested in getting some dogs to protect the properties and also to be pets for the children there. We went there to give supplies of dog food to them and we found that the place needed a lot of help.
How does XploreAsia support the orphanage now?
We donate things that will help them sustain the orphanage in the long term. We sponsor the mushroom growing project and donate plants (Durian and other fruits) so they can grow food and could sell them if they have more than they need. We visit the orphanage at least once a month and keep in touch by phone.
We support them in several ways. We try to promote the orphanage by bringing our participants to do activities with the kids. We organize English [lessons] so they can learn English and promote their social skills and gain confidence through interaction in the activities. Mike and I have also been donating money and supplies regularly as well as taking care of the medical expenses for the youngest child that has leukemia.
Can you tell us more about the little boy with leukemia?
Tou Tou is a Karen kid from the border. He doesn’t have a nationality (no citizenship). He came to the orphanage as a 3-year-old, brought by one of the leaders of the local villages there. His mother passed away in childbirth. Tou Tou has never seen his mom. He has Thalassemia, a genetic condition, from his parents and he was diagnosed with leukemia three years ago. He needs to go to the hospital in Hua Hin twice a month for a check-up and a blood transfusion. We pay for his medical bills so he can continue to do so.
What are some of the ways that we can help the Pala-U orphanage?
There are several ways to help this orphanage. As a volunteer, you could teach them English. You could help them by teaching some skills that they could use to sustain themselves: how to make crafts or bake, even how to use a computer or create websites. You could help build the common areas and accommodations.
You can volunteer there on a regular basis. However, just keep in mind that the space to stay there is limited because they don’t have a lot of available rooms. Also, most kids there go to schools during the day except in school break. You can stay in a place nearby. The area is quite small but very beautiful, and they do sustainable farming. They grow vegetables and raise cows, chicken, and ducks. It is a simple life surrounded by nature.
Thank you so much, Paang! The work that you do with the Pala-U orphanage is truly inspirational.
There are countless ways that you could make a difference at the Pala-U orphanage. The children at the orphanage depend on the help of volunteers and donors like you to receive educational, nutritional, and medical support. Please consider joining XploreAsia in reaching out a helping hand today. For more information on how you can make a difference for the Pala-U orphanage, contact us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to chat with you!
Are you ready to make a lasting difference teaching English abroad? Consider signing up for one of our incredible TESOL courses and teaching programs today!