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Volunteer chores and code of conduct

1. You are not here to change the world or to change us, that we are as at home. You came here for a different cultural experience and it is possible that you will be out of your comfort zone. Our living style is local and might appear poor, but isn't by local standards. This gets some people seriously thinking about themselves and can be upsetting. You are not here to spoil the poor children, but to become a member of our team, which means that we are pulling the same way. Please adjust to our normal rhythm and do not disturb it. The kids need boundaries and a certain routine, it gives the children safety. Please don't disturb it and try to implement your value system and expectations. . 2. We belief that every volunteer should help this project according to his/her strengths, though there are certain basic chores that are required from everybody. The volunteers are supposed to share the chores among themselves after a short introduction by us or the other volunteers. The volunteers are also supposed to be able to do their chores reliably and without constant supervision. It is not helpful for us, if we have to stay with you while you do simple chores, you should free us for other things that need to be done as office work, planning, as well as quality time with the children. Volunteers come and go. Me and my Karen family are the constant, continuous care givers for the children. We want to do more than just clean, wash, cook. We enjoy to talk, hug, spoil, do things together that are fun for both of us. It is not a nice role to be reduced to the cleaner and punisher. We need the help of the volunteer to keep this place running with a high quality of care (not minimal). This involves all project chores, not to pick the most fun ones. We aim for a relation of 3 kids to 1 volunteer. 3. You have to have insurance to be in our project. Any kind of damage that you cause, has to be covered by you. 4. We are not responsible for any accidents, insect bites, diseases etc. You are in the tropics and we live in nature with lots of animals around us. We all live here without harm since more than 10 years, the risk is very low to encounter anything dangerous, but it is not zero. 5. We are not responsible for any losses, thefts, etc. Please always lock your door. 6. Never cross the Moei river illegally into Burma. It is illegal to leave Thailand like this and you will be arrested on the Burmese side. In the rural areas are also many land mines! 7. You are not allowed to take kids out of the house without our permission. 8. You are not allowed to be alone with a kid in a room with a closed door, to shower and 1

change them. 9. It is not possible to give a special treatment to one child, all have to be treated the same! No trips to the 7eleven, Tesco, village shop, town, swimming pool, no matter, how much they beg you. If you want to treat them, speak with me first. If we plan special activities it has to be just. We also work with a reward system, treats have to be earned 10. No swimming with the kids in rivers and ponds (potential health risks). Do not allow them to roll themselves in mud. Do not play with them in the field after recent heavy rain. I can't put muddy clothes into the washing machine, they have to be pre-washed by hand and wet clothes mould very fast. Do not create more work when we already have. 11. We are also a farm! Part of the volunteering is also to assist with the animals which includes cleaning the duck and chicken enclosures, giving water and walking the dogs. Our project is special as it uses animals as part of the healing environment (Animal Assisted Therapy). Each child roughly has a dog and a cat. The cats are also there to keep mice and rats away and kill snakes. The dogs are our security guards and deter people from trying to break into our place. The ducks and chicken are for eating (eggs and meat) and a small income. They are also fascinating to watch. They are a joy and fun, but they also create dirt and can be a nuisance. You can't expect the same cleanliness as you would in a hotel in a farm, plus you are in Asia. We promise an authentic stay in a Karen family, and I can assure you it is already a cleaned up and watered down experience of what you would find in a village 5 km from us. The occasional duck will break through and poo, adults and kids never close any doors, let all animals in, that are not supposed to be, throw the rubbish as they go .I am fighting since more than 10 years to change these attitudes, it is a lonely fight of one individual against the culture. It is incredibly frustrating, so I concentrate on the important issues, that hygiene is followed in the kitchen, that our food is always safe to eat etc. We can claim, that no volunteer has ever got any diarrhea while staying with us, unless eating street food outside. The plastic bags in the garden are ugly, but not a health threat. 12. Please start with your own room and keep it tidy. Please get rid yourself from all your water and coke bottles and packages. We separate our rubbish and compost as well. All food rests go to the animals. Nearly everything is recyclable here, even plastic bags. We produce only a small amount of rubbish with our lifestyle, that we can burn it. Volunteers tend to produce an astonishing amount of rubbish, that the kids take out of the rubbish bin and play with it, leave it somewhere and litter so the landscape. Do not give any child your water bottle please! They 2

don't use them, except for nonsense. Do not carry bricks or wood into your room and don't keep clothes and other stuff on the floor. We have occasionally scorpions coming in and they hide in such things or you carry them in in it. Scorpion bites hurt pretty much, for around 12 hours, the worst the first few hours, but they are not dangerous. Do not pee into bottles during the night. Please use the bathroom. A child might find it and drink it. It is disgusting. 13. Take care of your health and avoid eating risky street food and salads. You should not give any infection to the children. You should have Hepatitis A and B vaccinations, that you can't infect them, in case you caught it unknowingly during your traveling. Mosquitos hide in clothes and clutter as might other insects. We have an electric mosquito killer that you can use from time to time to clean out the mosquitoes in the dark corners of the room. You can also spray the mosquitonet with repellent from the outside. Our advice: Shower in the afternoon, avoid strong perfumed cosmetic products and use instead baby powder, powder with menthol or Tanaka. We don't have many dangerous mosquitoes, so you are pretty save from Dengue fever at our house, but enough small ones that make you itch. Use the local Thai repellent (15% DEET), not a product from at home. They hardly ever work. Mosquitoes bite through thin clothes, so you don't have protection, unless you use special outdoor clothes with very strong thinly woven fabric. Repellent doesn't give you 100% protection. Mosquitoes can bite in rows and there are lots of other small biting insects out there in the night! Nothing dangerous, but annoying. The locals go after darkness under their mosquito net and read, listen to music, whatever. Prophylactic Malaria medication is not necessary in Mae Sot and there are multiple resistances against them. If you use repellent and common sense and avoid as many mosquito bites as possible, you should be safe. Any prophylactic medication will interfere or even hinder a proper treatment in case you should really catch Malaria somewhere. Any fever you have after being in the tropics is suspicious of malaria and needs a blood check! Malaria can look like a flu and can be difficult to diagnose especially by a GP at home. You can put Tanaka on insect bites, that will take the itch away as well as Tiger balm (lots of cheap Burmese kind available). In case you should have strong reactions you can take in the night an oral antihistamine,that it can calm down and you don't scratch during your sleep. When it gets hot, people tend to develop heat rashes that can look a lot like bites: areas with small red spots. Tanaka and cooling powder with camphor and menthol help. 3

Skills you should have:


able to clean floors with a broom to wet clean floors with a mop pick up rubbish (together with the kids) reliably fulfill everyday at the proper time the chores you picked hang up, fold clothes have a certain tolerance to dirt that enables you to clean the duck and chicken enclosures, give water etc. ride a bicycle wash dishes cut vegetables for the cooking stay organized and calm while on child supervision duty and make sure you know where all kids are at all times

Chores (for all volunteers together, not one person):


get up: 7 am, at least one person

last get up time: 8 am


1 person checks on kids at back entrance, that they wear : helmets (on the bikes), have (or wear) their socks, raincoats in rainy season (the ones that bike should wear their flip flops, that they don't break their expensive school shoes) 1 person needs to keep an eyes on Sophie and Felix and any other child, which is home help with preparing the volunteer breakfast walk the dogs Georgia, John Browny and Sweety and tie them properly outside (best 3 persons) or put them into their rooms when it rains, needs to be done before breakfast unless it rains breakfast morning chores: chicken water, let ducks out clean duck house clean house with broom (incl. veranda, volunteer corridor etc) 4

wet clean tile floors clean up kitchen clean volunteer bathroom tidy up house check kids bed rooms for wet blankets and hang them up hang up washing keep all the time an eye on Felix and Sophie, do small activities with them

11 am lunch break and kid's nap time until 2.30 pm 2.30 pick up kids from nursery supervise kids after school until dinner 4-5 pm one person helps cooking 4-5 pm check chicken water, feed them

6 pm dinner wash dishes get kids to wind down for bed time with quiet activities 7.30 pm smaller kids (<7 y) brush teeth, toilet, bed 8.30 older kids bed time, will go themselves when told the time

As you noticed these many chores and they have to be divided between the volunteers. Nobody should look after more than half the kids at a time! The older ones can be left on a long leash, but the small ones need proper constant supervision. No sneaking away. Don't make promises to the kids that you can't keep! No child is allowed to go somewhere by him/herself, unless it is send by us (to the shop etc) or has our permission to go. No child is allowed to cycle behind the house. The bike are to get to school and to do excursions. If they play with them they have all the time punctures.

Fees: up to 7 nights up to 1 month 4.-6. week > 6. week 500 B per day 350 B per day 300 B per day 250 B per day

rent of big bike: 30 B per day The local customs are different from home. The children are beaten in school by the teachers with a cane. Burmese parents usually spank/beat their children. We do not approve of this! We believe there are better ways to discipline kids. But on the positive side: They do not spoil them as much as Western parents, the kids are more independent, more mature, are allowed own experiences, have more life skills, better social skills, are more creative, can entertain themselves. They don't need to be rescued, don't need junk food etc. Do not buy paper, crayons and colour pencils! I am tired of cleaning up the mess afterwards and to slip on the stuff on the floor. We have black boards and chalk. When you are leaving: Make it short and painless. No dramas please. Lots of very nice new volunteers will replace you. You have the option to come back. The older ones can use facebook with me and stay so in contact with you. It is mostly the volunteer having problems to leave that is projected into the kids. How we discipline: 1. time out (age of child plus 2 min) 2. withdrawal of privileges 3. up and downs (not moe than 30), push-ups, sit ups 4. with repeated and serious offenses: grounded in house or bed room All our children have one thing in common: they went through an unwanted pregnancy and had a seriously stressed mother. All their mothers didn't/couldn't raise them themselves. Some survived abortion attempts, some mother drank during the pregnancy, some were most probably abused as infants, some mothers tried to sell them. As fit as they are, they all have, besides certain disabilities, mental issues. The younger ones have problems getting clean, some of the older ones even wet the bed occasionally. 6

Volunteer Code of Conduct


The volunteer must sign this code of conduct and follow it at all times. Breaches of the Volunteer Code of Conduct will result on termination of the volunteering and if the breach is a criminal offense it will be reported to the authorities. At all times volunteers must: follow the general principle of respect act in the best interest of the child at all times have good intentions, interest, kindness and patient towards children empower children listen and value the views of children speak to children in a language they easily understand Be mindful of the potential impact to children being displayed on the internet, on facebook or other social media not publish photographs or videos of children on-line where the child can be identified and their location known without the consent of the guardian plus the child not be alone with a child in an isolated area or in a room with a door closed make commitments and promises to children that can't be kept must not (classified as major breach): act in ways that are abusive or may place a child at risk of abuse be sexually provocative or develop a sexual relationship with a child support, encourage or participate in behavior of children which is illegal, unsafe, abusive or harmful be intoxicated by alcohol or drugs assist children to do tasks of a personal nature ie. Bathing, dressing expose children to violent or sexually explicit material (photo, video etc) Share confidential material about children without necessity and consent publish or share information about the children or organisation without permission be involved in significant bribery, corruption, or theft incl. Embezzlement of funds, donations, falsifying accounts or financial documents sleep in the same bed (mat, mosquito net) as a child 7

Volunteer statement
As a volunteer at the Center for Children in Need, I .................................................. hereby declare that I will abide the by the Volunteer Code of Conduct as well as the rules and guidelines of the Center for Children in Need. I understand that I am responsible for my actions during my volunteering and any breaches of the Volunteer Code of Conduct can result in termination of my volunteering immediately and serious breaches will be reported to the authorities. I assure that I am mentally and physically healthy and have all necessary vaccinations and insurances. I further assure that I will pay in full for my stay up front at my arrival. People, who plan to stay for several months pay at least each month in advance. Signed ................................. date ................

name, phone and email of person to contact in case of accident or serious illness: ............................. ..................................................................................