The aim of Friends For Asia is to provide both short and long term volunteer projects that benefit local communities with their development and volunteers with the valuable experience they gain from their service to the local communities.
The mission of Friends For Asia is as follows:
We offer an opportunity for people to contribute, in a meaningful way, to the improvement of standards of living by building capacity in our host agencies and we provide committed volunteers to work on projects developed with host agencies that benefit the people of Northern Thailand.
Friends For Asia is not affiliated with any international governments, local government departments or religions.It is a privately operated limited partnership, incorporated in Chiang Mai,Thailand.
The director of Friends for Asia is Todd Cikraji, a former U.S. Peace Corpsvolunteer and long time resident of Thailand.Day to day operations of Friends for Asia are carried out by a small bi-lingual Thai staff.
Friends For Asia operates out of a large teak wood house in a quiet neighborhood within the northern Thailand city of Chiang Mai.
The house serves as office, orientation space and volunteer accommodation for the tightknit Friends for Asia team.
“My First Volunteer” – a short article by Todd Cikraji Director of Friends for Asia, Chiang Mai outlining how the organization was founded.
“It was during the later months of 2007, I had rented a big old teakwood house in a quiet area of Chiang Mai,I had set up projects and dealt with the usual last minute cancellations & had hired a Thai woman named Nan as a volunteer co-ordinator”.
“We had been eagerly counting down the weeks, day & then finally hours, then there he was,Dia,an American who came from Miami,Florida our very first fully fledged volunteer!”.
“Dia had flown from Florida viaBangkok to the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai, where Nan and I met him at the airport.His flight was only 45 minutes late,and dazed from a mixture of jet lag and the brilliant Thai sunshine,he was happy to finally be in Chiang Mai, but probably not as happy as either Nan or myself”.
“Our first volunteer had finally arrived,Dia had come to Chiang Mai, Thailand to assist in the first project that we launched called “Teaching Monks Volunteer Project” which is based around teaching English to novice Buddhist monks at a monastery school.”
“Throughout 2008 a total of 35 volunteers served in our various projects. 2009 is already quickly shaping up to reach our goal of twice as many volunteers as 2008.
The “Teaching Monks Volunteer Project” has been our most popular to date. We send volunteers to assistant in the English education of novice Buddhist Monks in 6 different monastery schools within Chiang Mai.
Volunteers enjoy this project, because of the emersion into Thai culture and the education of the Buddhist religion it offers them during their volunteer service here.
We currently have a total of 11 projects including the one listed above, these projects range in diversity from assisting single mothers in crisis, children living with HIV through to beautifying the city of Chiang Mai!”.
Our “Elephant Park Volunteer Project” is quickly becoming a competitor as our most popular project.
The location of this project is an Elephant Park at Maetang which is around 65kms north of Chiang Mai,and is surrounded by beautiful mountains & jungle and is divided down the middle by a stream.
In this unique project, volunteers assist the trainers and staff of a local elephant camp. Working with these beautiful and gentle creatures is something that most are unable to experience anywhere else but northern Thailand.
“We’ve been lucky,Friends For Asia is fast becoming increasingly popular and successful,even during the current difficult economic times and political tribulations that have shed a negative light on Thailand”.
“I suppose this just goes to show that the will to assist others and gain the benefit of the experience of working in a foreign land can’t be easily stopped. We have set our roots here in Chiang Mai and look forward to being here for quite a while”.
Friends For Asia
For more information about Friends For Asia ,please visit their website,or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to see how you can help this wonderful local organization bring much needed assistance to the area.