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Volunteer F.A.Q.s

Can I volunteer?

We cannot accept any volunteers younger than 18. We do not have any upper age limit, however in the past some volunteers over the age of 60 have found the schedule and climate challenging.  The only requirement is that the volunteers are fit enough to do the work, as all volunteers do the same.

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).

This depends on the project. Most volunteers teach for a full-term which is 5 months, and then volunteers arrange a Summer Camp for some of our children. This is because our students need consistency with their teachers (we all remember how bad most supply teachers were!).

It may be possible for volunteers in Day Care to volunteer for a shorter period of time; this is still a minimum of three months.

If you have a specific skill, such as physiotherapy, then please contact us to discuss this further.

We cannot give you the exact start dates until much nearer the time, often the dates change by a few days. However if you are teaching, the dates are approximately:

Summer Term

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

Winter Term

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 generally have most occupations that we require. We are always wanting to hear from physiotherapists or similar to assist our children and students with mobility problems. If you think you have a specific skill, please contact us. 

Whilst we want you to enjoy yourself here, we would not class this as a holiday! Volunteers are expected to treat this the same as they would a normal working job. Volunteers generally get 1 and half days off per week, however volunteers are sometimes required to help with fundraising events and going to water parks.

General

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.

We care for around 850 underprivileged children, and students with disabilities across all our projects.

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. 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. Volunteers do cost money, so we have to make sure that the volunteer program is value for money.

Yes, we have expectations the same as any other job. Therefore we ask our volunteers to read and agree to our Volunteer Agreement.

Teaching

Do not worry! Over 90% of volunteers do not have any experience teaching before volunteering with us. Volunteers are asked to come a week before the college and schools start. We will help prepare you for teaching so that you are ready for your first day.

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, therefor 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

Volunteers are provided with their own, private, single bedroom. Each room its own private shower room (with a hot a shower), air-conditioning, a fridge and a TV.

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. 

We have had many vegetarians and vegans as volunteers. We try our best to accommodate and make meals that will be suitable for them. Many of these volunteers have also supplemented their meals with food that they choose to buy from the local grocery stores and markets.

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 the 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. 

Insurance Company recommendations

Generally speaking, yes. Yes! Pattaya is normally hot and humid, and the work can often appear quite physical. Our children have lots of energy; a few hours playing with them can feel like having a work-out at the gym!

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.

We recommend that you bring the following:

  • 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 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

We do not charge any fees, however volunteering does cost money. Thailand is cheaper than most of the volunteers’ home countries. How much you spend, depends completely on your lifestyle. You must make sure that you have sufficient funds before coming, the Father Ray Foundation are not responsible if you do not have sufficient funds! We recommend that you book flexible, return flights, so that you can change the date of your return flight as required.

Volunteers are required to pay for the following:

  • Father Ray t-shirts/polo shirts. Volunteers pay 1,000 baht (30 USD) on arrival
  • 90 Day, Non-Immigrant, Type O Visa
  • Travel insurance
  • Flights
  • After 90 days, a new visa. We recommend that volunteers fly to Kuala Lumpur to do this, which normally takes 3 working days
  • 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.

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.

We currently recommend volunteers go to Malaysia, this is not possible for all nationalities. Some nationalities are required to return to their home country. Volunteers are required to check the specific requirements for their nationality.

We recommend that you use a flight search engine when looking for your flights, but it is always worth checking out several companies.

https://www.skyscanner.net/

Holidays & Free Time

Volunteers normally have one a half days off per week, including a Sunday. However, sometimes volunteers are required to work. Volunteers are required 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 required to attend these.

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 the teacher fancied 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

Pattaya is a safe city, but we recommend that volunteers are careful at all times, the same as you would in any other city. Avoid taking out expensive items, leave your passport in your room and avoid carrying too much money.

You should avoid confrontation, and always remain polite. Being impolite, rude, or disrespectful can be insulting, so should be avoided. Though this is standard wherever you are in the world.

 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.

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