Jessi's Thai Children's Home & Elephant Sanctuary Service
Organized by: Jessi Nardo
Now Helping Cuba! What a great opportunity to begin building bridges with Cuban communities and peoples.
February 16, 2018
EVENT DATE Jun 17, 2016
I am raising money in the hope of traveling to Thailand. When there, I will be volunteering in a rural village in the western part of the country. This is in Thailand’s western frontier, away from most of the tourism. For the first week, I will be helping teach, tutor, and practice English for local village children at the Baan Rai School. About 300 Karen children study here every day (Karen is the name of the hill tribe villagers). Learning English is extremely valuable for these children and broadens their oppurtunities later in life. I’ll also leave the school and help with projects in the nearby village of Mae Sariang which is a central hub for education and employment for tribes in the surrounding mountains. During the second week, I'll have the opportunity to help elephant conservation at the Sappraiwan Elephant Sanctuary in Wang Thong in the Phitsanulok province. As I understand, this sanctuary is different than elephant sites many tourists get to visit when they travel to Thailand or this part of Asia. Most of those sites are focused on tourism involving the elephants to raise money. This sanctuary does use tourism to help fund their efforts, but I don’t believe it is inundated with tourism. Their focus is much more on helping rescued elephants and raise the population in their natural habitat, which is increasingly threatened. Elephants are often not properly taken care of because technology adoption has meant elephants are no longer needed for labor. The elephants roam mostly free in this sanctuary, unlike many, although they are still limited due to roads and other dangers. Some other volunteer opportunities I researched seemed to be more of a tourist trip and really only helped by cutting food for the elephants. I’ll be doing that, but I will also do more meaningful things by helping with conservation studies. I’ll track herds and observe and document their locations and behaviors, along with helping with body checks to track their health. I’ve learned about the meaningful purpose in the unique training at this sanctuary. I’ll be helping perform and spread the word about “target training” (positive reinforcement training). This is a relatively new technique that is much more humane than what most sites do. One of our goals would be to prove its success and spread awareness so that more elephant centers will abandon the old, more abusive ways. I’ll also have the opportunity to learn about Thai culture and I intend to help spread awareness here at home. If you know anything about me, you know that I am extremely passionate about animal welfare. Along with that, I am passionate about travel and being exposed to different cultures so I can have a better understanding of the world and learning ways I can contribute to it. I hope this will be a life changing experience, as I believe this is not only a short term investment for volunteering this summer, but also a long term influence on my life, and hopefully others, to share information and do more to help animals and developing peoples. Thank you for any support and/or well wishes! - Jessi