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West Coast Thailand Special Care Centre

Ranong, North of Phuket, Thailand
from £815 (2 weeks)

Ref: AV095

Engage, support and teach children at this Special Care Centre located near Ranong Town in Southern Thailand.  All of these children have varying degrees of special needs such as autism, mental and physical handicaps and Downs Syndrome. Volunteers make a valuable and rewarding contribution by building confidence and social skills in these children through daily interaction and physiotherapy. They also help the teachers with their English and in the day to day running of the Centre.

Who can join: 16 years and above
Accommodation: Volunteer Apartment
Transfer time: approx 5 hours
Pick up Point: Phuket Airport or Kuraburi Town
Meals: Lunch on school days
Volunteer numbers: approx. 2 volunteers

Duration & Fees

2 weeks£815
3 weeks£995
4 weeks£1,095
5 weeks£1,265

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Please note: The currency conversion is an estimate based on today's exchange rates and is to be used as a guide only. All payments to Amanzi Travel have to be made in Pounds Sterling (GBP)

Start Dates

This project is available all year round except for public holidays, and school holidays in April and September.

Payment

£180 deposit at time of booking – balance payment of project fee due 12 weeks before departure

What's Included

  • Accommodation
  • Lunch on school days at the Centre
  • Transfers from Phuket Airport or Kuraburi Town on arrival 
  • Donation to the project for ongoing work
  • Orientation and support from bilingual Project Staff
  • Visitor’s handbook and Thai phrasebook
  • Pedal Bicycle for your durations as a volunteer 

What's not included

  • Flights to and from Phuket
  • Return Airport Transfer (We can pre-arrrange this for you on request)
  • Travel Insurance, including cover for repatriation
  • Visas if required
  • Vaccinations if required
  • Breakfasts and dinners
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Optional Excursions and Activiities

Highlights

  • Interact and assist the children with learning difficulties, and make a real difference to their lives
  • Develop and enhance professional skills
  • Live and work and experience the 'real' Thailand away from the tourist hotspots
  • Meet other like minded volunteers and make new friends for life
  • Learn some basic Thai language
  • Explore this beautiful area during your free time on cycle bikes provided to all volunteers

Special Care Centre

This Special Day Care Centre is located on the outskirts of Ranong Town in the Phang Nga Province of Southern Thailand and supports between 25 - 30 children, aged from 5 to 16 years. The children all have varying degrees of special needs - from autism, mental and physical handicaps and Downs Syndrome.  

Why do they need volunteers?

These children generally do not get the opportunity to interact with many people other than their own families and the staff at the school. Therefore volunteers are invaluable and hugely welcome here; they provide further care and stimulation for the children, and help them to get used to and enjoy the company of others. This expands their social interaction skills enormously and will greatly improve their confidence and behavior, thus making their time at the school more rewarding, and productive and ultimately improving their quality of life and what they can get out of it.

Volunteers are also a necessary part of the essential running of care centre which often receive little funding. With the help of volunteers the Special Care Centre can run more effectively and children can be looked after on a daily basis in a safe and happy environment, and helped to reach their full potential.  

Who can volunteer?

Volunteers with experience in this field are ideal and very welcome. However, any volunteers with enthusiasm and drive to work with and stimulate children with special needs, and interested in the teaching methods used in Thailand, are also welcome to apply.  For anyone studying in the field of special needs education, psychology or nursing, this could be a great opportunity to use the multitude of transferrable skills. 

Volunteers will be allocated to a specific teacher for their time at the project.   Physiotherapy is a big part of the daily routine at the Care Centre and volunteers will be given guidance and handouts detailing the exercises to be used with the children.  Volunteers will be shown how movement, touch and interaction fit into the lessons, and the best way to interact with the children and make the process fun and enjoyable too. Any volunteer who has special skills or knowledge in caring for special needs children should tell Amanzi Travel when making their booking, so that these skills can be incorporated into the daily schedule.  These can also help plan lessons and give volunteers ideas for games and new ways to learn.

A typical day as a volunteer - Guide only

7.30 am Volunteers generally either walk or take the beautiful bike ride to the school 
8.30 am The children start school at 8.30am and this generally begins with singing of the National Anthem and raising the flag.  This is an important part of Thai culture and volunteers are encouraged to join in this custom.  This is sometimes followed by morning exercises and a milk break for the children.
9.15 am/9.30 am Chilren are put into small groups dependent on ability and given tasks such as arts and crafts, hand-eye co-ordination activities and English classes etc.
11.30/12.00 noon  Lunch - volunteers will help the children and then have lunch with the teachers.  Then the younger children have a nap and the older children are entertained by playing games, building blocks or lego
1.00 pm One final game together before finishing with a light snack
2.00 pm School finishes for the children.  Volunteers will look after them until they are picked up
3.30 pm Return to volunteer accommodation for free time.

Volunteers may visit a child’s family or their home, depending on school funds at the time of their placement.

Essential skills of a volunteer

Volunteers will need to be open-minded, patient, creative, respectful of different cultures, flexible, enjoy working with children and teenagers – especially those with disabilities and special needs - and have the necessary proactive skills to help these children make a better life for themselves. Volunteers with appropriate skills can share their expertise and wisdom with the staff and children. Unskilled volunteers can provide the individual human contact that overworked staff may be unable to provide on a daily basis. It would also be useful to learn some Thai words and phrases, and a Thai phrasebook is provided to help here.

The children do have special needs and sometimes they may scratch or pull your hair unintentionally. Volunteers need to be mentally prepared for these incidents.

Extra Information

The Care Centre is located about 4 hours from the well known town of Phuket and offers volunteers a real Thai experience, away from the tourists and the resorts. Located between Phuket and Takua Pa in the Phang Nga province, the Care Centre is off the beaten track and has plenty of exciting opportunities and excursions in which to take part, perhaps taking trips out to the coast, relaxing in the hot springs, refreshing in the waterfalls and experiencing Thailand as it used to be. 

The North Andaman coast is an ecological and cultural attraction which is still largely undeveloped, and many communities still live according to local traditions. 

National Parks

Koh Surin Marine National Park and Khao Sok National Park are both within close proximity to the Care Centre.  There are mangrove swamps, coral reefs, limestone karsts, beaches and evergreen tropical forests, all of which provide habitats for a huge array of flora, fauna and wildlife – excellent places for exploration and learning.

The Koh Surin Marine National Park is 60 km from the coast of Phang Nga Province and accessible via boats which leave in the mornings, taking around 45 minutes. Enjoy fine white sandy beaches and clear waters laden with coral reefs which contrast with the thick jungle.  Head here for snorkelling; there is no need to dive here as the reefs are shallow and plentiful. This is also home to the Moken Sea nomads, an ancient nomadic sea people.

Activities

Volunteers can also spend their free time experiencing homestays in other nearby villages, plan eco-tours and see more of the local area.  Snorkellling and scuba diving are really popular as some of the best dive sites are in the south of Thailand.

Weather

Temperatures remain around 30°C throughout the year, reaching up to 35°C in the months of March and April, Thailand’s hottest months. 

The North Andaman region has two seasons; the dry season (November to April) and the green season (May to October).  However, it’s always a good time to visit, 

In the 'green' season from May to October, frequent rain can be expected (usually downpours of short duration, but some consider the warm showers refreshing!). Vegetation is also at its peak of lushness at this time producing an array of tropical fruit, and monsoon showers are usually followed by blue skies and brilliant sunsets - so don’t let the odd rain shower put you off. 

Getting There

Volunteers should fly into Phuket Airport, which is located in the south of Thailand. Volunteers will be met here on arrival and transferred to the project, which will take approximately 5 hours. Full details will be in the pre-departure pack sent upon booking.

Volunteers can also be picked up from Kuraburi Town, where you might like to spend a night before joining the project on your start date.  Amanzi Travel can help with all the arrangements.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence and can make any flight arrangements required.  Please contact Amanzi Travel for details.

Support and Orientation

Support and advice is available from Amanzi Travel office staff and project/trip leaders. Upon booking, you will receive a comprehensive pre-departure pack that provides all the details you will need to prepare for your trip.  This document includes information on accommodation, staff, visas, optional activities, packing checklist and medical advice and if you have any questions that are not answered in the pack we are always on hand to help and advise. We will do all we can to ensure that you are well prepared and looking forward to your trip. You will also receive an in country orientation on arrival.

A 24 hours a day, 7 days a week emergency contact number is provided for everyone who travels with us.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence (9401) and is able to arrange your flights on request giving you financial protection for your flight and trip costs. We also offer advice on personal travel insurance for your trip.

Ranong, North of Phuket, Thailand, West Coast Thailand Special Care CentreRanong, North of Phuket, Thailand, West Coast Thailand Special Care CentreThe furnished accommodation provided for volunteers is quite basic, but clean and comfortable, complete with a bed, pillow, blanket and fan. It is located near to the Care Centre in Ranong, and may be shared with other volunteers during busy periods.  The school is within walking distance of the volunteer accommodation however  a bicycle is provided for volunteers who would like to use them.

Lunch is provided at the school. There are local restaurants within walking distance for tasty breakfasts and dinners.

Volunteers will be provided with lunch at the Centre and eat with the staff. Volunteers will need to arrange their own breakfast and evening meals. There are plenty of nearby cheap restaurants within walking distance, where food can be purchased.  The staple food of rice is the basis of all meals here, along with nutritious vegetables, fruit and meat.

Click here to view the full interactive mapThailand

Thailand overview

At the centre of Indochina, is the Kingdom of Thailand – as it officially known. Thailand nestles between Burma, Laos and Cambodia above and Malaysia below, with the Gulf of Thailand to the south and the Andaman Sea to the west.

Thailand’s second largest city of Chiang Mai is known as the Rose of the North and visitors can experience homestays in local villages, rural jungle treks and 13th century Buddhist temples. The islands on Thailand’s east coast consist of Koh Phangan, Koh Toa and Koh Samui, which are famous for Full Moon parties, diving and tourism respectively and of course white sandy beaches and coral reefs. While Koh Phi Phi was hit by the 2004 Tsunami, it is also the home of ‘The Beach’ and iconic limestone cliffs. Other synonymous activities with Thailand are Muay Thai boxing, Thai cooking courses, mountain climbing, elephant riding, river rafting, canopy walking, learning to dive and holistic retreats.

The capital city Bangkok is the country’s political, commercial and cultural hub, as well as being the gateway to Thailand for most travellers arriving by air. The city is a mixture of old and new, with high rise skyscrapers, old temples, the Royal palace, wide dominating motorways and little shops on street corners. The city is used as a hub to travel around the rest of the country and its many islands, as well as the surrounding countries. Thai people are, as throughout Asia, extremely warm and welcoming and cannot help but wear that huge Asian smile.

Highlights of country

  • Includes jungles, mountains, islands and beaches
  • Warm and friendly Thai people
  • Learn to dive in Koh Tao
  • Legendry Full Moon parties on Koh Phangan
  • Easy access to other Asian countries for further travel

Climate

SeasonsMaxMin
Summer 38 °C 230 °C
Winter 28 °C 22 °C

Thailand has a tropical climate almost all year round. Southern Thailand has two seasons; the wet season and the dry season, which are the different on the east and west coasts. The east coast has rain between September and December, while the west has heavy storms from April through until October. The south of Thailand receives the most rain, with around 2,400 mm falling each year, which is 1,000 mm more than central and northern Thailand.

Northern Thailand’s seasons are more defined. Between November and May the weather is mostly dry, except for expected rain between February and March. From November to March, there are cooling breezes in northern Thailand while the temperatures rise between March and May.

Key Facts

Population – 66.80 million
Capital - Bangkok
Currency – Thai Baht (THB)
Official languages – Thai
Time difference – GMT + 6
Telephone - +66

West Coast Thailand Special Care Centre

Our experience at the school went amazingly! The children at the center are fantastic and all the staff went out of their ways to make us feel at home.

Jennifer and Edward, Canada (West Coast Thailand Special Care Centre)

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