Volunteer Placement Landed

Three months ago, I applied for a volunteer placement with an organization in northern Thailand. DEPDC is a Thai-run NGO founded 20 years ago by a man named Sompop Jantraka who has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his life’s commitment to ending child trafficking.

DEPDC works on the prevention side of human trafficking by offering educational programmes and vocational training to at-risk individuals. They also provide emergency shelter for abused and abandoned children as well as assist with repatriation. They also sponsor a youth leadership program to combat trafficking in the Mekong Sub-Region and human rights training for undocumented migrants and indigenous people.


I was attracted to the DEPDC for many reasons:  they work in both prevention and rehabilitation; they are Thai-founded which means once international volunteers leave, the needs of the community are still met and they know best how to work within their society; they have been operating for 20 years and are well received in the area; and they do not charge volunteers a hefty placement fee like many other organizations do.

Applying for a volunteer placement is a lot like applying for a job. It takes time, dedication, follow through, references and an application as to what your intent and skills are. I had a Skype interview with the volunteer coordinator two days before I got on the plane. I left the U.S. not knowing if I would have a placement once I arrived. I left trusting that I would find a placement on the ground if the DEPDC did not take me. But I don’t have to worry about that now.

They informed me last night that my application and interview received yeses all around and I am welcome to join the DEPDC as a volunteer! This is incredible!  It’s all falling into place.  I did not come to Thailand to hang out on the beaches (although a couple of days couldn’t hurt, right?).  I left an unfulfilling desk job to do something meaningful with my days – something I have dreamt about for a decade. I am thrilled and grateful to have a placement and to start this next chapter of my life.  Saddle up.


5 thoughts on “Volunteer Placement Landed

  1. Congratulations honey!!! The placement came very early in the game. Glad to hear your dream is womanfesting. Adam told me last nite as I skiied 6 miles yesterday with
    Suzie and her friend Nort. Sherry & Suzanne are coming
    today and we are going to mass produce pot pies. I am anxious to hear more about how the DEPDC works and know about their successes… So hang on to the reins. This sleigh is taking off. Love, Mom

    1. Thanks mom! I’m so stoked to have landed a placement at the DEPDC. I excited to be a part of their organization; I truly support their mission and look forward to learning everything I can. The hardest part will be the language barrier. Thai is fucking hard. If I had a superpower, it would be to understand all the languages in the world. I’ll spend a week in Chiang Mai studying the Thai basics. So far, I haven’t picked up much. Sometimes I speak and Hindi comes out. Then I know I’m in trouble. I’ll touch base when I’m up north and again as I get settled in Mae Sai. Prepare to pack your bags. The Land of Smiles is waiting…

      Love and miss you,


  2. A fantastic organization and a wonderful choice of volunteer! I hope that your placement gives you the knowledge and experience you are hoping for.


    Cubical Monkey

    1. Thanks Bon Bon. Quit getting tattoos! Save your money for Europe!!!! I can’t say I miss GLR one bit. It feels a million miles away. I’m doing well here so far. Eager to start the important stuff. Look out for my little Sierra and take care.

  3. Thai riffic Noel! They are sooo fortunate to have your energy, spirit and commitment. Your journey and life path are so in sync… it’s awesome girl…just awesome. Blessings and wondrous adventures.

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