Kaya Community Development Projects in Thailand

Cause Areas


It's flexible! We'll work with your schedule.


Chiang MaiChiang Rai, NATH


Medical Internship at a District Hospital in Chiang Mai

Use your healthcare training and consolidate your studies by joining our medical internship at a district hospital in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. District hospitals in the area serve a populations of between 60,000 and 80,000 people but are only staffed by around 3-5 doctors and 30-40 nurses. The community itself is very diverse and the doctors and nurses support remote mountain communities, including minority hill tribe groups, refugees and migrants as well as providing ongoing care to some of the poorest areas in Thailand. Despite all the challenges faced, the Thai public healthcare system is often held up as one of the best in the region and it is therefore a great place for an internship, as not only can you observe the approaches to overcoming these challenges you can also experience first hand its successes.

Thailand has effective public health care outreach, HIV/AIDs prevention and treatment, vaccination, and non-communicable disease programs. Despite the positive there are many ongoing problems, with high rates of teen pregnancy, increasing levels of non- communicable disease and contagious disease. Hospitals provide a range of services including emergency care, x- ray, laboratory, in-patient wards, OBGYN, pharmacy, ECG, dental, eye-care, pre and post op care. With staff shortages it is often difficult to imagine how these services are delivered and an internship in Chiang Mai will demonstrate the approaches taken to do so.

Elephant Welfare Project in Eastern Mahout Communities

Based in Thailand’s Eastern province of Surin, this project works with the communities that have lived and worked with elephants for hundreds of years. Since the country’s ban on logging and prevalence of machinery, work for elephants and their owners (known as Mahouts) is limited and with no other opportunities, the people of these communities and their elephants often starve. The government has developed initiatives that aim to encourage communities to use elephants to help attract tourists to the area. Additionally, the natural habitats of elephants are decreasing. Whilst 90% of Thailand’s land was forested in 1900, this number had dwindled to just 22.5% in 1995. Efforts of projects such as this one have helped to improve this figure but more work is needed.

This project, which currently houses 13 elephants, works alongside these communities to encourage tourism development to be shaped by ethical and responsible eco-tourism approaches. The aim of the project is to give and create a better life for captive elephants, free from abuse and to establish sustainably managed forms of free-range natural elephant tourism.

Journalism Internship Reporting for Shan Communities

Join us in northern Thailand on this Journalism Internship Reporting for Shan Communities and not only will you develop your reporting skills you will also help to spread news about events in the Shan State to refugees and immigrants living in the Chiang Mai province and beyond. It also has readers inside the Burmese border as well as Thai’s who are keen to learn more about issues affecting the Shan State. Through a network of supporters and regular correspondence with readers inside the Shan State, the newspaper staff is able to collect stories and photographs from inside Shan State on a regular basis, keeping the news current. Field reporters cover specific issues when conditions permit and even interviews people from Shan State when they arrive at the Thai-Burma and China-Burma borders.

The paper is a Thailand-based publication where reporters write, edit, publish and distribute news about Shan State on its web page and by e-mail. The website has about 6000 visitors per month. The newspaper is approximately 48 pages in length and is published in the Shan and Burmese languages. It is sent by courier directly into the Shan State, and is distributed at Shan temples in Thailand, a central focus of Shan culture and activity. It is also distributed to international NGOs and other interested parties. There are approximately 3,000 printed copies per issue monthly. Journalism interns will have the opportunity to be part of this essential work that keeps the community in Thailand connected to the home state, as well as educating others about this diverse culture.

NGO Development Internship in Chiang Mai

This NGO Development Internship in Chiang Mai in northern Thailand is a fantastic opportunity for you to develop your knowledge and experience of the international development sphere while using your own skills and experience to develop the capacity of a local NGO and its staff. There are several established NGOs in the Chiang Mai area that are seeking interns to help with their marketing materials and education of Thai staff to increase their audience and the quality of their English publications. Focusing on a range of issues such as care for the elderly, education, children’s rights and health NGOs are looking for support as well as to provide an opportunity to include international English speaking interns onto their staff temporarily.

The NGOs are well established but in need for English support in the running of their organisation. This is an excellent opportunity for a student or someone looking to change careers to gain valuable experience about how NGOs work. Interns will become a part of the office staff and support the organisation with its fundraising, report writing, marketing and outreach work, including developing website and social media presence for the NGO. It’s a great opportunity to gain first hand experience of international development in a professional setting.

Summer Study Abroad and Service in Thailand

Volunteer with Kaya on a Summer Study Abroad and Service in Thailand program in Chiang Mai, Thailand and earn credits for your university course. Thailand is known as the land of smiles and you will understand why as you immerse in Thai culture and take part in the most fascinating experiences of the orient, while earning credit! You will spend four weeks studying in English at Chiang Mai University, while participating in all of the must do’s activities, including elephant trekking, visiting rural hill tribe communities, learning to cook Thai food and taking a weekend trip to Bangkok! After your studies are completed, you can choose to stay an additional 2 or 4 weeks and use the knowledge you gained to really immerse yourself in Thai culture by volunteering on one of our service placements in the communities outside Chiang Mai, or stay in the city to participate in an internship. For the first four weeks you will live in Chiang Mai, and take 2 courses at Chiang Mai University. While you are studying, you will live in a shared room in a local guest house. You and a group of fellow study abroad students will be kept busy with a number of local excursions including trips to markets and temples and a 3 day trip to Bangkok! For those choosing to extend their stay by adding on a community service project, you will be able to choose between a two week community development placement outside of Chiang Mai, or from one of our 4 week internship options in Chiang Mai. For community development placements you will be brought to a surrounding community where you will spend the next 2 weeks living in a homestay with a local family, and working on your chosen project. This will provide a great opportunity to truly engage in the local culture, while also giving back to the community.

Community and Conservation Volunteering in Chiang Mai Province

Join us in Thailand and participate in Community and Conservation Volunteering in Chiang Mai Province bases in a small community. You will be able to experience local life and get involved in a number of initiatives focused on community health, environmental conservation and education. This local government is located in a mountainous and rural area of Chiang Mai and includes diverse populations of ethnic Thais, Hmong, Lahu, Lisu and Karen peoples. The development levels vary hugely between villages and the government struggles to provide healthcare, education and other services and support sustainable development in the face of environmental degradation. Volunteers have been working in this community for more than 5 years on a community based forestry program, community development, support of basic health care provision, education and poverty reduction. Volunteer and help contribute to the ongoing progress of this important work.

Volunteer as an Early Years Teaching Assistant in Rural Thailand

Bring your energy and love of children and volunteer as an early years teaching assistant in rural Thailand to help support local teachers and communities. Supporting the local Government of Kut Chang Sub District the project is located in a mountainous and rural area and includes diverse populations of ethnic Thais, Hmong, Lahu, Lisu and Karen peoples. As development levels vary between villages and the government struggles to provide healthcare, education and other services volunteer support is needed and support sustainable development initiatives. The government recognises that international and national volunteers can help support underfunded schools and overstretched teachers by providing a much needed pair of hands not only in the classroom but also with after school activities.

Work with Rescued Elephants, Reforestation and Rural Communities in Thailand

Volunteer in northern Thailand on an elephant rescue and reforestation project based in a rural community just outside Thailand’s second largest city, Chiang Mai. The project works with three elements of the local community: an elephant camp which is an eco-tourism project supporting sick and old elephants who are not able to work as well as unemployed Mahouts (elephant trainers) to provide both with better opportunities, homes and food. A reforestation project works to restore and maintain the local jungle damaged by local practices, and also to work with the community to change their behaviour to make better use of their resources. Finally, the project also works with local schools to provide the children of this rural community with an opportunity to develop English, environmental, and leadership skills. Come and volunteer on this project working with both animals and the local community for a truly amazing experience.


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Requirements & Commitment

  • Must be at least 18
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