Volunteering at Warm Heart is an opportunity to immerse yourself in both authentic Thai culture and the beautiful mountains surrounding Warm Heart’s location in Phrao, northern Thailand. Local villagers will welcome you to share in the simple pleasure of day-to-day life, while Phrao’s north central location provides the perfect base camp to explore not only Thailand, but Laos as well. Phrao is also conveniently located just 89 kilometers north of Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second largest city, where all the comforts of Western culture can be found.
Warm Heart seeks a Farm Worker to help on the Warm Heart farm located in Huai Sai, about 15 km south of the Warm Heart Office in Phrao. The selected individual must have a desire to learn, will need to be familiar with a full range of farming skills and will be expected to contribute to the success of the farm immediately upon arrival.
The farm currently has a large vegetable (kitchen) garden, cash garden in which we currently grow ginger and lemon grass, and orchards with longan, mango, papaya, banana and lime. We have our own nursery in which we start our plants and also coffee seedling for our coffee program in the Highlands. Warm Heart also raises chickens, cows, ducks, fish and pigs. Our children consume a portion of our production; the remainder we sell to support the Children’s Homes. The pig manure feeds a bio-digester that produces methane with which we replace cooking gas.
In addition to normal farming skills, the individual may be requested to assist with the following:
- Organic farming
- Herbal medicine
- Animal husbandry
- Fish farming
- Reforestation of local Hill Tribe areas
- Water conservation efforts
- Alternative construction (adobe and cob)
- Design and construction of an irrigation system
Specific Requirements for this Position
The Farm Worker will be required to assist in:
- Maintaining the farm records, including: planting dates, seed/seedling usage, pest control methods, water usage, growth cycles, fertilizer usage, yields, costs, etc.
- Assist with normal maintenance of the farm’s truck and tractor
- Harvest fruits and vegetable by hand
- Repair farm buildings, fences and other structures
- Care of farm animals, including chickens, pigs, ducks and cows
In addition to the above, the selected individual will need to be able to apply their knowledge successfully to farming conditions in Thailand and to have demonstrated the ability to withstand prolonged exposure to variable weather conditions.
General Requirements for all Positions
Working for a start-up NGO in a foreign country, especially one located in a small town, places special demands on volunteers. Volunteers will work with a small team of international volunteers in a Thai organization and community. The work is demanding and may be frustrating at times due to linguistic and cultural barriers.
Volunteers must therefore understand that Warm Heart requires individuals who have excellent interpersonal and diversity skills, lots of patience, perseverance and endurance. Warm Heart also requires initiative-taking individuals who are self-starting, flexible and self-managing.
Other than being reasonably fluent in spoken and written English, there are no language requirements for volunteers, but Warm Heart encourages volunteers to take an active interest in learning basic Thai words and phrases of day-to-day courtesy. Warm Heart suggests that interns planning to stay longer than three months attend an intensive Thai course prior to starting work. Several such programs are readily available in Chiang Mai and last four weeks.
A 2-3 month minimum commitment is required, but a longer commitment is much preferred. You will really begin to feel at home and know your job only after a few months, and Warm Heart will be able to give you much more responsibility if we know that you are not just passing through.
Why volunteer at Warm Heart?
Warm Heart does not need you to paint playground equipment. We have more important things to do and we expect volunteers to help us do them. If you are not ready to accept a lot of responsibility, volunteer someplace else, because we can’t use you. We serve 54,000 people who share four doctors. We provide vitamins to 1,500 pregnant and nursing women in a world where goiters are still common. We teach business skills in a district where the average monthly income is $123. We care for minority children from isolated villages so that they do not drop out of school at 12 like their peers. We teach coffee cultivation to mountain people to improve land / water usage and to create alternatives to sex work for their daughters. We promote reforestation to restore the watershed and save the rice paddies of the valley. Bottom line: We serve real people with real needs and we need only volunteers ready to accept the intellectually, professionally, and personally challenging work we offer. Being a "volunteer" at Warm Heart means only that you are not being paid for your work; it does not mean that you carry any less responsibility for the promises we have made to the people of Phrao.
So why work at Warm Heart?
- You will make a real difference. You will meet the people whose lives you are changing and the changes that you will bring will be big: jobs, sustainable incomes, better health, and a brighter future.
- You will leverage your university experience. It is one thing to learn about global markets or grassroots development; it is an entirely different thing to do them yourself. What you have already studied will take on new meaning; what you study next you will learn in a whole new way.
- You will acquire professional skills that cannot be taught in the classroom. Every survey shows the same thing: companies think that their new employees are well educated, but lack interpersonal, teamwork and diversity skills. Warm Heart is a university of this stuff; you will return with amazing cross-cultural, multi-lingual teamwork and management skills. You will gain invaluable insight into how an NGO operates.
- If you are already a professional, you will have the pleasure of discovering that your professional skills have applications you never dreamed of! Volunteering at Warm Heart is not about unskilled labor; we need skilled professionals, whether database architects, graphic designers, accountants, operations managers, you name it.
- You will grow. You are on your own in a strange place working with a staff of Thais on the real problems of real people. It’s like human growth hormone for the soul.
- You will meet cool people. Warm Heart volunteers come from everywhere from Australia to Vietnam. You will have the chance to develop close-knit friendships with other volunteers as well as the locals. Join in the spirited arguments about the true nature of the EU, whether Japan’s future is pan-Asian or pan-Pacific, who has the best - and the worst - food, art, architecture, weather, or people in the world. Fly home via Beijing or Seoul or Calcutta or Perth or any other destination you’d like to stop by.
Unlike many volunteer programs, Warm Heart does not charge a participation fee or require a donation. Warm Heart does provide volunteers with a low cost housing, transportation and services package. (Phrao is too small for short-term volunteers to locate inexpensive housing and transportation on their own.) The Warm Heart package for those staying up to three months is currently $240 per month (subject to change, of course). It includes:
- Housing: Single or double in Warm Heart house with screens, western toilet, hot water, kitchen and internet.
- Transportation: Motorbike, car or shared transportation with Warm Heart staff.
- Services: Document preparation and translation for work permits, required health documents, visa extensions, etc.
Volunteers should expect to spend about another $250 per month on food, gas, telephone and entertainment. How much more you spend will depend on how often you go to Chiang Mai for the weekend.
Warm Heart provides volunteers with assistance in obtaining necessary visas.
ApplyComplete the application form on www.warmheartworldwide.org. Warm Heart will contact you for additional information.
Good Match For
Teens People 55+ Group
Requirements & Commitment