Making a difference should not be expensive. It should be free. With Isara there are NO fees or donations required for volunteer placement or training and dorms at our Learning Center are free to any one who wants to help. Below is more information about Isara, what volunteers can expect, and what we expect from Isara volunteers.
Isara is a registered non-profit charity foundation located in Nong Khai, Thailand with a focus in education, environmental awareness, and personal safety. Isara volunteers help create and implement our own projects in the local community, which are funded solely through our generous sponsors and supporters.
We do not feel that people willing to help should have to pay to do so. That is why Isara does not, and will never, charge volunteers to help others. Just get here and you can make a difference in the lives of many.
Volunteer Positions Available
We are currently looking for native/fluent English speakers to teach children and adults at our free Learning Center in Nong Khai (classes are Mon-Fri: 4pm-7pm). Isara also teaches at nearby government schools in the mornings and afternoons. If you are interested in helping outside of Nong Khai, we provide volunteer English teachers to government schools around Thailand, where you will also be provided free accommodation. If you're not interested in teaching, and don't mind getting your hands dirty, we also could use help developing our Learning Center and Recycling Center by making repairs, painting, and landscaping.
Volunteers can stay for free at the Isara Learning Center (ILC) in Nong Khai, which is located within two blocks of the local police station, hospital, the Red Cross, and two 7-11 stores. There are 4 dorm rooms upstairs with beds, a wardrobe, and fans to help keep you cool.
The dorm rooms are: one room with three beds (shared), one room with a bed and one bunk bed (shared), and two small rooms with one bed each (not shared). Your room will be assigned upon arrival.
The ILC also has a large living area upstairs with cable television and tons of DVDs to watch. There is a shared western-style bathroom and hot-water shower upstairs and another half bath downstairs. The ILC kitchen is available for use and is equipped with refrigerator, microwave, hot-plate, and everything else needed to cook, though most volunteers prefer to sample the many delicious and extremely affordable foods available in Nong Khai. The ILC also has a full computer lab with free high-speed wi-fi internet access and a game room with a ping pong table and dart board. If you prefer being outside, Isara has a beautiful pier where volunteers (and students) often relax and read a book or do yoga.
We also provide 24/7 support, Thai language/culture lessons, and teacher training for volunteers who have never taught before.
Length of Stay
Volunteers who are accepted to stay at our free learning center are welcome to stay for 3-12 weeks, depending on availability. We recommend staying at least one month if you're really interested in making an impact and learn about Thailand. We try to provide free housing to all our volunteers but, if none is available, we ask that every volunteer prepare a budget for staying in a guesthouse. Guesthouses are usually $5-10/night. Couples are welcome to volunteer together but we prefer they provide their own housing for privacy reasons. Furnished apartments can be found in the area for around $150/month.
We will always do our best to accommodate anyone who wants to help others.
What Volunteers Must Pay For
Volunteers must pay their own way to get to Nong Khai and related expenses (bus, train, airport shuttle from Udon Thani, visas, passports, any immunizations, etc). Once here, they must also pay for their personal living costs (food, laundry, personal effects, tuk tuks, entertainment, etc). You should expect to pay about $5-7/day for food and other expenses.
If off-site housing is required (or preferred), we can help volunteers find an affordable apartment or guesthouse nearby. Apartments usually cost about $150/month - furnished.
Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age and have a valid passport/visa (tourist or non-immigrant). Volunteers must be prepared for their classes and on-time. Volunteers must wear appropriate clothes in the classroom (ex: cover shoulders and cleavage, no see-through materials or shorts, long skirts or pants are preferred). Volunteers must wear a helmet if riding on a motorcycle. Volunteers must keep the Learning Center classrooms and dorm areas clean. Volunteers are required to be at the Isara meeting every Sunday at 4pm. Since volunteers are considered Isara Representatives, inside and outside the classrooms, we require volunteers to behave themselves while out at night (ex: no alcohol, smoking, foul language, fighting, and no overtly sexual dancing or touching). We may ask volunteers to leave, at any time, if these rules are not respected.
Although Thai Immigration laws state that foreigners should have a work visa to volunteer, it has been our experience (9+ years) that short-term volunteers (less than 6 months) are fine using a tourist visa to volunteer. Typically Immigration officials are more concerned about foreigners working (making money) than helping for free. Especially with the upcoming ASEAN summit in 2016, when most schools desperately need foreigner teachers.
You can apply for a 30 or 60 day (single or double entry) visa at your local Thai Embassy. If you qualify, you can get a 30 day "Visa Exemption" upon arrival at the airport in Bangkok. If you need longer than 30 days then you can cross the bridge in Nong Khai and get an extra 15 days, when you re-enter Thailand by land, or go to the Thai Embassy in Laos and apply for a 30-60 day tourist visa.