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Volunteer in the lush mountain forests of Northern Thailand and spend each day in the forest with elephants rescued from a life of servitude to tourists. Thanks to local and volunteer efforts these gentle giants now live natural lives in Chiang Mai Province, an area famous for its traditional elephant keeping communities. Learn about elephant behavior and contribute directly to the elephants’ lives - because by providing an alternative income for the owners, mahouts (elephant keepers) and local villagers, volunteers like you allow the elephants to be rehabilitated and re-discover their natural instincts.
Approximately the size of France, Thailand covers an area of 510,000 square kilometres, and its population of 60 million is growing at a rate of 1.5% per year. Thailand shares its border with Myanmar in the west and north, Laos in the northeast, Cambodia in the east and Malaysia in the south.
The program is located in northern Chiang Mai Province.
Most of the animals residing at the sanctuary were maltreated before they arrived here, suffering from abuse, malnutrition, neglect and improper care, rescued from the illegal pet trade, or have previously been exploited for the tourism industry. Many of the animals arrive with permanent disabilities and hence, cannot be returned to the wild. The centre's mission is to give these animals the best quality of life possible in captivity.
Visitors to Thailand will have no problem finding things to do!
Take some time before or after your volunteer placement to explore urban Bangkok, bohemian Chiang Mai and the island of Ko Phi Phi.
During your free time when volunteering you can explore the local towns and their restaurants, markets, spas and hotels. Or take some time to cool off at the beach with a dip in the sea.
If your application is successful you will be accepted and we will then get to work organizing your placement.
You will receive a Program Guide which contains a wealth of information. You'll find everything from a broad overview of the country you are going to; project details; life on the project (accommodation, meals, what to wear etc); along with extremely helpful information and advice for preparing for your trip.
GVN provides three different options to pay your program package and secure your placement. These include:
* based on 12 weeks.
Flights, insurance, visas, vaccinations, personal expenses.
We recommend you allow a weekly budget of US $30 for your other expenses such as bottled water, personal items, beverages, transportation and entertainment.
Apply now for the Thailand Program:
Start Date (Elephant Rehabilitation Program): every second Saturday starting Saturday 19 April 2014.
Length: from 1 week - 12 weeks
Please note: Volunteers who wish to stay longer than 12 weeks may negotiate this with the program director when in Thailand
We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions which we receive at the GVN inbox. This is a great place to start if you have questions about Global Volunteer Network and our placement process. This information should answer the majority of questions you may have.
The Kingdom of Thailand, covering an area of 514,000 square kilometres, lies in the heart of Southeast Asia, roughly equidistant between India and China. It shares borders with Myanmar to the west and north, Lao P.D.R. to the north and northeast, Cambodia to the east and Malaysia to the south. Thailand has a population of about 60 million. Ethnic Thais form the majority, though the area has historically been a migratory crossroads, and thus strains of Mon, Khmer, Burmese, Lao, Malay, Indian and most strongly, Chinese stock produce a degree of ethnic diversity. Integration is such, however, that culturally and socially there is enormous unity. For more information we suggest you purchase the Lonely Planet’s guide to Thailand.
In Thailand there are three seasons: hot, rainy, and cool. For the Europeans that arrive in Thailand there seems to be only one season: a hot season. During the night the temperature only drops a few degrees and the humidity during the day and night is over 70%. Luckily, the elephant program is in hill country and generally experiences temperatures about 5 degrees cooler than in cities.
Each GVN program has different criteria depending on our partner's requirements. Every application is reviewed to ensure that the minimum requirements (as set out on the program page) are met. Next we look to see what skills or experience you have that relate specifically to the program. We are also interested in any previous volunteer experience you may have (either local or international), travel experience, and your particular interest in the program.
After reviewing your application, should we require any further information from you, we will email you to request this.
No, the program is open to people from all over the world.
You must be 18 years old and above. There is no upper limit, you just have to be in good health.
The in-country fee covers accommodation and meals. If you arrive early or intend on staying on in Thailand for longer than you are volunteering then you will need to have extra money for this time. Also some money may be required for your days off. Other costs include your flights, visa, shots, travel insurance, departure tax, and any shopping you will do personally.
We work very hard to ensure you are placed in safe environments while volunteering. Thailand is one of the safer countries in Asia and you will find the people very welcoming and kind. Of course any traveller can encounter trouble - especially if you are indiscreet with money or valuables.
You do if it is required. Our program guide has links to Thai Embassies through out the world.
All GVN Volunteers must have insurance. You are free to take out insurance cover through any provider of your choice. However, as some policies do not cover volunteering, we recommend you check you are covered during your volunteer placement.
For your convenience we have arranged a comprehensive package specially designed for volunteering. It includes excellent medical and accident coverage as well as “loss of deposits” cover which covers fees paid to GVN, airlines etc. If you would like to learn more just follow this link: http://www.globalvolunteernetwork.org/insurance/
Your program fee is payable to Global Volunteer Network 10 weeks prior to the 1st of the month you wish to volunteer. Please note, your placement is not confirmed (ie secured) until your program fee has been received. Please note that all charges incurred by the payment of the program fee are at the volunteer’s expense, e.g. if a bank transfer incurs a bank fee at the point of origin, that is at the expense of the volunteer. Seventy percent (70%) of the program fee is refundable until two calendar months before the 1st of the month you are due to begin your program. For example a volunteer with 15 July 2012 as their start date would need to submit their refund request form by the last day of April 2012 to be eligible for a refund. Refer to GVN's legal terms of service for full details.
Friday, March 08th, 2013
About every other day we go to harvest. The elephants eat banana trees and the top of pineapples in addition to fruit, grass, and some supplements if they need to bulk up. The Thai staff chop down the banana trees with machetes and we carry them to the trucks. Each day we chop them up [click here to read more]
Saturday, February 23rd, 2013
It has been one week working and I mean working! Though I have quickly learned that there are no typical days, here is a basic run-down: 6:30am: First feeding and cleaning – The elephants get banana trees that we cut up with machetes, the leaves of the banana trees, pineapple tops, fruit, and some special [click here to read more]
Monday, February 18th, 2013
Arrival After flying 18 hrs, passing through a few days, I’m here at the Wildlife Centre! My driver was waiting right where planned and on the 2 1/2 hr drive we chatted about English accents, Harley Davidson, and the fact that he started out being an electrician (an occupation he loved) but being a driver [click here to read more]
Please visit journals.globalvolunteernetwork.org for more journals and feedback from past volunteers
As a volunteer you must:
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At GVN we align with the idea of 'local solutions to local problems', so we work with local community organisations in each country. What this means for our volunteers is that they receive a unique and genuine cultural experience whilst being immersed in a local community.
Volunteering abroad could be the very thing for YOU!
If you're looking for something worthwhile to do volunteering will give you the opportunity to travel whilst making a difference in the community you are based in.
Did you know taking a Gap Year can improve your college admission chances and success rate during your studies?
"Harvard College encourages admitted students to defer enrolment for one year to travel, pursue a special project or activity, work, or spend time in another meaningful way" – Harvard College Office of Admissions, 2010.
International volunteering is a great way to gain experience living in a developing country, learning about another culture and experiencing a different way of life. It is a fantastic way to grow as a person, to develop life skills, self-confidence and self-esteem, and is a tool for self discovery and identity formation.
Other personal benefits include, developing international friendships and networks, social awareness, and building independence.
Volunteering can increase your employability, help you to gain valuable work experience and enhance your CV/resume.
"Going to a foreign country for a volunteer experience is a huge boost on a resume. Employers love to see a person that can think outside the box and work past their comfort zone. The added benefits of teamwork, foreign language knowledge, and plain old hard work also add polish to the volunteer candidate. Since business now happens on a global scale, the volunteer is armed with useful, and potentially actionable, information." – USA Today, 2010.
The Global Volunteer Network (GVN) is a New Zealand Charitable Trust (non-profit NGO) based in Wellington, New Zealand. Our Charitable incorporation number is: CC46460. GVN has been verified and approved by Idealist (the largest volunteer portal on the internet. GVN is also a member of the World Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (WANGO), and our ‘sister’ organization the GVN Foundation has been granted special consultative status on the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Prestigious web sites such as Lonely Planet and Goabroad.com have placed web links to us. Additionally, when you apply, we can provide you with contact information for previous volunteers if you wish. GVN is also an approved member of the Site Trust Network and you can view our verification page.
Bill Gates personally recommended GVN by stating "I'd love to see more young people taking action to help the poor and disadvantaged. Two places to get started are Network for Good and Global Volunteer Network." Newsweek Web
To give you peace of mind, GVN has over eight years experience and has placed 13,500+ volunteers since 2002. Read volunteer's journals and testimonials or speak to a returned volunteer directly about their experience abroad through GVN.
GVN’s specialist staff provide personal support to volunteers, assisting not only with preparation for your placement, but whilst in-country, and follow-up on return home. GVN provides comprehensive Program Guides, project resources (eg teaching resources).
GVN aligns with the idea of 'local solutions to local problems', therefore we work with local community organisations in each country. We believe that local communities are in the best position to determine their needs, and we provide volunteers to help them achieve their goals.
CNN listed the Global Volunteer Network as one of 10 organizations that can help you to make a positive impact on the world around you. CNN encourages you to visit our website to get more details on how you too can Be The Change.
GVN offer an insurance package tailored specifically for volunteers. Partner's staff are always available (24hr/7days), along with this GVN also has a 24hr/7day emergency hotline.
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