Can I volunteer?
Enthusiasm! Teaching experience and TEFL qualifications are a benefit, but before that on our requirements is enthusiasm. The schedule for volunteering can be busy at times, with some physical work (physical work = playing with children/going to a water park).
We cannot give you the exact start dates until much nearer the time, often the dates change by a few days. The following dates are approximate:
Arrive the last week of April for orientation
The term is May to September
The Summer Camp is early October
Volunteers leave after Summer Camp
Arrive the last week of October for orientation
The term is November to March
The Summer Camp is early April
Volunteers leave after Summer Camp
**The dates for the Day Care Center can be different, this will be discussed.**
We aim to have a minimum of 10 volunteers across all the projects, however this depends on the needs of each individual project at that specific time.
The Father Ray Foundation is managed by the Redemptorists of Thailand, a Catholic order of priests.
No! We do not judge volunteers on their religion. We only ask that volunteers respect the various religions of our children and students, and respect where they are living.
The first child arrived in 1974, and for the next twenty nine years Father Ray worked tirelessly to provide a home for the homeless and an education for the uneducated. From that day forward, the Foundation and the work of Father Ray has continued to grow.
The foundation is funded mostly by charitable donations from abroad and within Thailand. We also receive a small percentage of money from the Thai government; this is mostly because we operate schools and colleges.
More information can be found on our Accountability & Accreditation page.
This depends on how many applications we have. We cannot formally offer you a volunteer position until we have received a satisfactory Criminal Record Certificate and two references.
We like to have a diverse group of volunteers, due to the nature of some of the activities; we prefer to have a mixture of male and female volunteers with the aim of building a strong volunteer team. Ultimately, we recruit volunteers in a similar way to any other job.
If you are turned down, it is nothing personal. We have many applications throughout the year.
We recommend that all volunteers bring a laptop. We have some computers that volunteers can use, however volunteers normally find it easier using their own, which can then also be used in the classrooms.
All Thai schools have to teach English within their curriculum. Classes are often very large and more grammar based, therefore their speaking skills are often weaker than their grammar skills. Our priority is that that our students and children have the confidence to speak English. Most students have a basic understanding of English, however we can never guarantee that.
Food, Accommodation & Location
The foundation is located in the Pattaya, Thailand. Pattaya is around 90 minutes from Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok’s main international airport. Pattaya is a resort city the east coast of the Gulf of Thailand, about 100 kilometers (62 mi) southeast of Bangkok.
The main site Father Ray Foundation, where the accommodation is located, is in the center of Pattaya, 2.5 kilometers from the beach. The foundation is well located for transport links within the city.
From the Father Ray Foundation’s main site, the projects are located within a few kilometers.
- The School for the Blind is 5 km away
- The Children’s Village is 11 km away
- The Children’s Home is 9 km away
1: Father Ray Foundation (Welcome Center, volunteers’ accommodation, the Day Care Center, the School for Children with Special Needs and the Technological College for People with Disabilities)
2: School for the Blind
3: Children’s Village
4: Children’s Home
The Technological College for People with Disabilities has a sister school located in Nong Khai, in the north of Thailand, on the border with Vientiane, Laos.
The center where you are based has Wi-Fi throughout. We also have a café, a bakery, a library (with mainly books in English and French) and a swimming pool.
We have washing machines located on site as well as nearby. Laundry services are also located on site.
Health & Wellness
At the time of writing, there is no risk of malaria in Pattaya, people are only at risk of malaria if they go near the borders. Before leaving, you should consult a travel clinic to confirm this. If you wish to visit any other city or island, you should research this before visiting. More information can be found at: https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/travelers/country_table/t.html
We recommend that volunteers always wear mosquito repellent to reduce the risk of infecting Dengue Fever.
Before coming to Pattaya, volunteers need to visit a travel clinic to see what vaccinations are required. More information can be found at: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/thailand
Pattaya has many international hospitals should one be required. There are also many clinics, dentists and pharmacies near the foundation. All volunteers must have suitable insurance for their time in Thailand. If volunteers do not have suitable insurance, they will be asked to leave.
Yes! All volunteers must have suitable insurance for their time in Thailand. If volunteers do not have suitable insurance, they will be asked to leave. Volunteers need to send their insurance details before leaving their home country.
We recommend volunteers get insurance through any of the companies listed in the following link. Insurance from these companies is accepted by Bangkok Pattaya International Hospital, the closest and best international hospital.
Pattaya rarely drops much below 30℃ and is often humid, though you do get used to this. Honestly! Volunteers should wear loose and light clothing, keep well hydrated, and where possible, keep in the shade. Most places have fans or air-conditioning, then over time, your body soon adapts. Then should the temperature ever drop for a full days, you will be thankful when the sun returns.
What to bring
When volunteers arrive, they are required to purchase some Father Ray polo shirts and t-shirts for 1,000 baht (around 30 USD). These are to be worn whenever volunteering. We recommend that you bring some loose fitting clothes and several pairs of comfortable footwear.
More information for each project:
Teaching: Wear a Father Ray polo shirt, trousers or knee length skirt, with smart/casual shoes or trainers, or smart sandals (ladies only, sorry guys). Teachers are hugely respected in Thailand, so you must dress accordingly.
At the School for the Blind: Wear a Father Ray polo shirt or t-shirt and knee length shorts. Flip flops can be worn here.
At Day Care: Wear a Father Ray t-shirt and trousers (we recommend light linen trousers). Flip flops can be worn here.
At the Children’s Village: Wear a Father Ray t-shirt and knee length shorts. Flip flops or trainers can be worn here.
SOME DOS AND DON’TS:
- Always cover your shoulders
- Always dress appropriately when in or around the Foundation
- Never wear a hat indoors
- Never wear vests/singlets/tank tops
- Never dress for the beach in the dining room
- Never wear short shorts! Please try to wear shorts to the knees
- Never wear fisherman pants
There are many supermarkets and convenience stores located within walking distance. Everything you need should be here in Pattaya.
- An unlocked smartphone
- A laptop if teaching
- At least two bank cards
- Sport trainers
- Smart/casual shoes/trainers suitable for teaching (ladies can wear smart sandals)
- Swim wear. NO BIKINIS! ALL volunteers are required to help (I can assure though, you do not need to be Olympic swimmers!)
- A towel for the bedroom
- A beach towel
- 2 pairs of loose trousers
- 2 pairs of loose knee length shorts
- One jumper (for the plane and the air-conditioned buses)
- Some loose t-shirts/tops to relax in
Visas & Costs
- Accommodation, from 2,500 Baht per month
- Father Ray t-shirts/polo shirts. Volunteers pay 1,000 baht (30 USD) on arrival
- 90 Day, Non-Immigrant, Type O Visa before coming to Thailand (approximately 1,900 Baht)
- Travel Insurance
- After 90 days, volunteers do a visa run to get a new visa. A visa run is a trip to another country to apply for a new non-immigrant, type “O” visa, at a Royal Thai Embassy or Consulate. This takes a minimum of two working days. Most volunteers choose to visit either Vientiane in Laos or Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to get a new non-immigrant, type “O” visa. There are many other places that can be used.
- Leisure activities
Most major cards work in Thailand, but before coming to Thailand, please check with your bank that your cards will work in Thailand; also notify them that you will be in Thailand. We also recommend that you have a minimum of two bank cards from two different banks.
Before arriving to Thailand, all volunteers need to check with their local Thai embassy/consulate to confirm that they are able to get a Non-Immigrant, Type O, 90 day Visa.
After being offered a conditional offer, we cannot formerly offer you a place until we have received all the required documents. Once we have received all the required documents, we will send you all the documents required for you to get your Visa.
Most consulates offer a postal service, otherwise it will take two working days. Some embassies and consulates require you to book an appointment online, please check with the consulate or embassy that you intend to use.
After 90 days in Thailand, volunteers need to renew their visa. To do this, volunteers need to leave Thailand and apply for a new visa. This takes a minimum of two working days. Again, we provide all the required paperwork.
Some nationalities are only able to renew their visa in their home country, please check that it is possible to renew your visa in Malaysia, Laos, or another country close to Thailand. Volunteers are required to check the specific requirements for their nationality.
All volunteers are required to have a criminal background check; often these can be done online. For further information, please contact your local police station or click on the following links:
Holidays & Free Time
Volunteers normally have one a half days off per week, including a Sunday. However, sometimes volunteers are asked to work. Volunteers are asked to help take children to a water park at several times throughout the year on Sundays. There are certainly worse ways to spend a Sunday, and we hope that volunteers understand and are happy to participate in such work. Throughout the year, we also have several events and fundraising events including carol singing, St. Patrick’s Day and SOS Rice, volunteers are fundamental to work that we are do, as we would struggle to have such events without the support of the volunteers.
Volunteers are not able to take time off during the term time. So whilst you are volunteering with, we ask that you do actually come and volunteer. Some volunteers will travel once they have finished volunteering. However, throughout the year, there are several public holidays. Most projects will close for these, so the volunteers can take the day off.
Should a volunteer not be able not to attend a project, they must speak to the Volunteer Coordinator first and ask for permission. Failure to do so may result in the volunteer being asked to leave. After all, I am sure you would not be impressed if your teacher failed to go to school because their teacher wanted a night out in Bangkok!
Yes! We always welcome visitors, family and friends; we also have accommodation that they can stay in. But remember, you still have your work to do. Often volunteers will introduce their families to their students and will bring them along to the other projects.
There are many things that you can do in Pattaya. Pattaya is a large tourist resort, so you get all the usual facilities that a city offers, and tourist attractions.
Personal Safety & Security
All bedrooms are private and lockable. The center has a safe where volunteers can put their valuables.
The foundation has two entrances with security gates and a security guard. We have many facilities, offices, vehicles, children and students; therefore we have 24 hour security. One gate is locked at night; the main entrance is open 24 hours a day with a security guard.
We do not encourage volunteers getting a scooter, even if you may have ridden a scooter before. Unfortunately, the roads and driving in Thailand are not at the same standards that most volunteers are used to. Whilst volunteering, all the transportation is provided.