news

To see how we live go to About Us on this blog

new: Minimum Stay of 3 weeks ! 
One of our children is getting seriously upset when our volunteers change too often! I am really sorry! We have to give him some time!
special infos for people from US

For all workawayers: Due to the workaway policy I have to offer you free accommodation and food. We built an additional room and will provide you with 3 meals of traditional Karen food ( rice, fishpaste, chilies, vegetables and/or spicy curry). You can of course have the same deal as all other volunteers, who come directly or through other organisations: Western breakfast with homemade bread, butter and jam, coffee or tea plus 2 hot meals (Burmese, Thai or Western) , extra coffees possible. Together with the nicer room this costs 350 B a day per person or 500 B for 2 pers, if they share a room. There might be still somewhere the old infos on this blog! I will try to take it off asap.
There have been some problems recently, that I didn't receive all emails sent to workaway plus messages back to me were not delivered and sent to the persons spam folder. In case there should be a long silence, please try to use the direct email.

What we need:
if you like you can bring Lego and Lego Duplo for the children. Second hand is fine. We got already Duplo and the kids absolutely love it.
books for beginners to read in English and French (should be available in secondhand book shops in Chiang Mai and Bangkok)
a laptop (if you have an old one, which you don't use anymore)
cheese   (for me)
strong rain coats (trousers and jackets) for 4-12 year-olds for May, when rainy season begins. They need to be really strong!
We have now tents, mats and sleeping bags to rent for trips to National Parks! Already tested! 


When you scroll down on this page, you will find more photos!

I wrote new guidelines you can find them here Code of Conduct

Travel Tips off the beaten Track   (New!!!)

You can look at our facebook group and ask to join. Like this I can befriend you easily, if you want this. Some people are really difficult to find on facebook !

I changed the settings of the group "Friends and Volunteers of the Center for Children in Need on facebook. It is now open and can be seen. You can ask to join to be always updated what is going on with us. I post there all new developments and it is also a possibility for volunteers to contact each other.
The group address is www.facebook.com/groups/friendsofccn/

Please (if possible) come with backpacks, not suitcases. You might have to get them on a motorcycle taxi! Mae Sot has no car taxis, only cyle and tuk tuk. 
Please also make sure you have valid Hepatitis vaccinations, that you can't catch anything on the way to us and infect the kids!  You should also have insurance, that any damages you might cause are covered! We never had any more serious event like this, just a neighbor's chicken, but one volunteer nearly burnt down the field next to us! and a child scratched a parked car over the whole length with a stone, while being supervised by a volunteer!
If you need to change money, you better do this before coming here. There are still strange laws about money laundering in border provinces and it takes ages (up to 1 hour!), several passport copies, phone number etc.. Bangkok Bank seems to be the most customer friendly.
We have lots of ATMs, so that is no problem, but traveller checks can be.

The purple spots are the closest Wifi's from us.


In case you want to fundraise for us, you can use these:

please download and print or send your friends








updates



Try not to take the slow 8.15 am bus for 300 B from Mo chit, it may take up to 10 hours!
The normal busses (7-8 hrs, depending on weather and driver) cost 400-650 B.
Check out the flights! They are 1500 B and sometimes less! Only 1 1/4 hour.

Taxis run in town only from 6 am -6 pm! There are taxis at the bus terminal at other hours, but only in one place in town!

Please come directly to us when you arrive, don't venture first to town! You will have time for that! Whatever time you arrive, there will always be something to eat for you in our house. Don't try to be polite and not to bother us! With the last volunteers we ended up to rescuing them in the dark in pouring rain nearly 10 km from us! 

If you explore the surroundings, never cross the Moie river into Burma! There are no signs! In many areas are landmines and you run a high risk of being arrested! Burmese jails are no fun! 

I have to buy food for you, pay bills etc, so please pay for the time (or 3 weeks) in advance when you arrive. 

feedback from volunteers


We had a great time at Sabine and her children roots atmosphere very pleasant, comfortable room, good food and lovely children. Sabine is a very attentive and considerate. We hope to repeat the experience soon for longer. Ps: if you do not like chickens and ducks, forget it. Thank you Sabine and Malahi for these good things! 


Volunteering for this organization was a great experience as it made me completely surrender to the bare-bones of living; eating, sleeping & human interaction. I feel rewarded to have spent time with the children, being unprejudiced & straightforward to their situations, surroundings & people. For example, Felix would make the the most out of anywhere he would sit.. Be it dirt, hay, picking up shoes & using them as telephones. Mi Hin Jaw would stare in candid curiosity at the camera lens, then present the most genuine smile. The different characters we had, Charlotte, the performer, Elizabeth, the confident intellectual, Bantar, the mature listener, Dominic, the independent, strong minded one.. All different types of personalities, all unique & individual in their own way. Seeing them together sparked a luminescent beam of wonder in me & I feel privileged to have been in the company of every single one. My reward could not have existed without the work of a determined humanitarian, leader & mother. I will always keep Centre for Children close to me & I will go back to visit without question.


When and why have you been on-site?
I decided to volunteer with this project as I was travelling in Thailand and wanted to give some of my time to causes which need it in the area. I initially visited for 3 weeks in February 2013 but extended my stay to a month. I had such a good time volunteering here I decided to return for a second time a couple of months later!
What is your connection to the project or the carrier?
I volunteered at the Center which basically involves helping with various building projects around the house, helping on the small farm there and most importantly having fun with all the children! There are plenty of things to keep volunteers busy and having all the children around makes for a really lovely stay.
Your positive report from Mae Sot:
I think this project deserves to be supported because any money given by volunteers or donated by others goes directly to the children. I've seen myself my own money being used for food and building materials to keep the house safe and dry in the coming rainy season. Sabine and her family devote all of their time to keeping all the children happy and healthy and in education so that they can have oppertunities in the future.
Ivona: good

Sabine is a good host, friendly and engaged into her project. She also told us a lot about Burmese history and current political situation.

Jayne: excellent

I felt very humbled to stay here and help. Sabine is an inspiration and the kids are beautiful, cheeky, caring, happy, noisy and just a tornado of fun! Rooms were far from luxury but it was a great experience and I was sad to leave. I also stayed with my 3 year old child who loved the kids and the ducks! The food was also amazing, thanks malar aye!


By Sasha Hill
I felt a strange surge of pleasure when Sabine opened the door and showed us our room, with its one flat bed, slits between the wooden panels of the walls, broken down wooden desk, mosquito net, and not much else. This, I thought, is where we belong. Enough of the fancy hotels that in Southeast Asia we could suddenly afford but that still gave our daily budget a stretch. Now I felt like a real traveler again. We’d arranged through workaway to spend two weeks volunteering at an orphanage near Mae Sot, on the Thai-Burmese border. Following the directions of the German host, Sabine Roper, we’d taken motorbike taxis to the tiny village of Non King Pha, just outside of town. It was more like a conglomerate of a few houses and shops. We’d found our place, as Sabine had instructed, by asking, “Falang, Falang?” Until very recently I’d simply assumed it was the name of the place, but turns out “Falang” is a Thai term for Westerner. Sort of similar to “gringo”.
Our first night there won me over. Dinner was served, with a whole lot of hubbub, shortly after we arrived. Mercifully, our plates were free of the potent smelling dried fish I saw the kids carrying. We met six other volunteers, Amy (British), Iwona (Polish), Emma (Australian), Karim (American… Californian!), Ewan (British), and Kaitlin (American). The final two had only just arrived, and looked a little shocked. Amy and Iwona paid the small fee to live and eat at the house, Karim and Emma, longer term volunteers, lived in a guesthouse in Mae Sot. We’d eaten in the volunteer room, a little area with a coffee table and mismatched chairs surrounding it, and were quickly ushered into the kids’ play room for a highly anticipated performance. The “house” was formerly a barn; the middle portion had been converted into open ceilinged rooms, while more enclosed ones with normal rooftops stood on either side. Our room had a verandah with a bench and two hammocks, where I spent the majority of my time. But returning to the show. I squeezed my behind into a chair and surveyed the spectacle. One boy (Sebastian, 9) sat suspended in a sling hanging down from the ceiling, and held up one corner of a sheet, while the other side was shuffled between hands. The curtain opened, poppy music filled the air, and three skinny girls began a carefully choreographed dance number, one that involved lots of hip popping and arm waving. They’d even arranged themselves so that the two shorter ones (Bente, 9 and Charlotte, 10) stood on either side of one that stood almost a foot taller (Lay Lay Wa, 11). This dance gave way to another featuring Lay Lay Wa and Dominic (11). They imitated a pattern I’d seen in Thai music videos, where the woman constantly pushes the man around. Dominic also had some hip hoppy moves to throw in. I’d never sen a boy his age commit so fully to something like this. As the dance performance continued, with numbers less well rehearsed but equally enthusiastic from the younger cohort, I couldn’t keep a huge smile off my face. Besides the rustic bed, there was something here I’d been missing: the unselfconscious wholeheartedness of a family.
The din would start around five am, when the scattered strangled cries of the roosters took on a more pronounced rhythm, jolting me awake the first few mornings until I got (sort of) used to it. Then the dogs would start to bark, the ducks to chatter, the birds to chirp. Once the kids added their shouts to the melee around seven, there was no going back to sleep. Sierra would get up and help Mah La Ey make breakfast. Mah La Ey was a beautifully serene young woman who lived at the orphanage with her charmer of a son, Mahinjo (2). She and her husband had come as refugees from Burma, but the deadbeat husband had stolen all her money, and she’d fled to Sabine, who had taken her in and given her a job cooking and taking care of the house and kids. She had no papers and couldn’t leave the orphanage. From Mah La Ey, Sierra learned the art of making Burmese tea, which involves a whole lot of condensed milk. Before breakfast someone would have to walk to the chained up dogs, Sweety and Georgia. About five other dogs lived at the orphanage, but these two would eat ducks and/or attack other dogs if allowed to run free. Usually Ewan and Nicolas (7) would take care of this. Nicolas was what one might call a “troublemaker” or “problem child”, but we quickly discovered all he needed was a whole lot of attention to turn into a cuddly ball of affection. He had some unknown mental disabilities, possibly brain damage as a baby, and had a tendency towards bursts of anger and hitting. But as he warmed to us and we learned how to best relate to him, the frequency of these episodes decreased dramatically.
After breakfast was time for projects, before the midday heat set in. Amy took the lead on an ambitious one to pick up all the garbage in the surrounding area to be burnt in a newly constructed fire pit. We had no trash pickup, and could only sneak so many small items into the neighbors’ bins. Later, Sierra and I built a compost bin and Kaitlin and Ewan screened off the verandah to prevent ducks from flying up and pooping all over it. We’d also go to Mae Sot on market runs, taking a couple bikes (there were two decent big ones and three tiny ones no one wanted because you had to pedal twice as hard to go half as fast) and loading them up with vegetables, fish sauce, and cans of condensed milk. Sierra and I took the back way to the market our first day to buy a fan for our room. We got plenty lost and ended up outside someone’s house, struggling to unlock the bikes we’d parked and be on our way. The market was as loud and fragrant and busy as one could hope for. It screamed authenticity. I experienced a bit of panic on the way home, wondering if for the orphanage the fan was a huge luxury we’d indulged in for our own selfish purposes. I felt much better when we got back and I noticed several other fans scattered around the house that I’d missed before.

Hey Sabine,
Hope you are doing well. I hope your husband and the kids are doing fine. and not causing too much havoc, and all the animals are well :) Thank you also for the E-book. I have already 
cooked the bratkartoffeln and the tea-leaf salad for my family, which they really enjoyed. We've also been hearing a bit about Burma on the news lately, namely the Rakhine conflict 

and the earthquake in Mandalay. I also wanted to say thank you for allowing me to spend 

time with you and your family. It was a wonderful experience, and one that I will not forget. 

Must go now, but please say hi to all the kids for me.
All the best for now,.All the best for now,.J.




FAQ

  • The busses leave from Mo Chit bus terminal in Bangkok.
  • There are several busses from different companies! They leave between 7-9 am and 7-10 pm
  • The busses from Chiang Mai leave 11.45 and 13.30 (??)
  • There is a direct bus from Kon Kaen in case you come from Laos
  • I can't pay salaries, no matter how qualified you are and how much I would need you. I even can't take people for free. I am not able to make an exception in your case.
  • Our volunteers are part of our family, this is not anonymous and we won't exploit you. It will be a very personal experience. There are no special requirements, you should be physically and mentally healthy and stable.
  • We offer volunteering, we are not a hotel or guest house. We offer new experiences, food, lifestyle, culture.. We live a Burmese lifestyle, which means that it is much simpler than you are used to. Many volunteers tell me that they never realized how much money they spend on nonsense at home. The kids are wonderful, but it is also an intense experience, therefore one requirement is mental health.  

Living with 9 small kids is chaotic! Be aware of it! Some mornings I get up and just want to return to bed and pull the blanket over me, so much has happened already! It is not only sweet kids! They are very creative, also in mischief!
We do get up early and I can't keep the kids quiet, because our volunteer wants to sleep …

We live in the tropics and nature is noisy here in the night, if you are sensitive to noise we are not the right place for you. On top our and the village dogs sometimes bark at night, when there is something outside. All insects are big here! We live in the middle of the fields, you can pick up fish on the road at the end of rainy season! We have 20 different birds species just around and behind the house..
We painted the bathroom in the meantime and made a small living room for the volunteers only and closed the whole area off from the kids, so that the little one's can't knock at the door at 5.30 any anymore …

  • We have 10 kids living with us, age 2 to 10 years. The volunteer is supposed to help a bit in the morning and then again in the afternoon, when the kids come back from school. There is lots of time to relax and explore during the daytime and to go out in the evenings. Not that Mae Sot would have much of a night-life, but it is a nice cycling trip in the evening and sometimes me and the kids will also go to meet with friends, watch a film, drink a sprite ...
  • What every volunteer has to do: help to keep an eye on the kids, that they don't make nonsense, really take their shower as they are told etc etc. Like this I can cook or wash or rest or do office work...You can take them out to play outside, take them on bike trips at the weekends or to the swimming pool, paint with them (tidy up afterwards), help cooking, do gardening or improve the house ...It depends a lot on your personal skills. The kids are incredibly fast to mess the whole house up, wherever they go they leave toys or clothes behind, carry stones or mud into the house .... It would help me a lot, if the volunteer could just call them, when it got too bad to tidy up together and take a broom and clean it a bit. Most helpful are people who can see work and just do it and don't need to be told every little bit. If you get tired you can always retreat. Working with kids makes more tired than most people think, who don't have experience with them.

PS: Bangkok is horrible in my eyes and full of con artist, who specialized on new arrivals. Lots of volunteers got cheated out of their money on the way to us. My advice:  Get out of Bangkok as fast as possible! If you need a town to acclimatise: go to Chiang Mai or Phisanoluk (only 4 hrs on bus to us). Bangkok is not Thailand, especially the rural Thailand is much nicer! Plan 1-2 days at the end of your stay to see the Grand Palace and the big temples,  they are really impressive, that is all the time you need in Bangkok.


From December 2012 on we started to have more than 1 or 2 volunteers, which was first a new situation, but is very positive. The tasks can be shared, everyone can take his chores and do it every day. It is a good ratio of 2-3 kids per volunteer, so every child can spend quality time with them and they have choices: reading from books, playing football, computer lesson, walking dogs, talking.... For the volunteers it means, that the kids are not all over them all the time and it is easier for them to retreat and rest, without leaving the house. The volunteers can go out together, can take each other to town, show the way, do some of the shopping, can help me to introduce the new ones to the chores. I feel less pressure to have to “entertain” and show them around.

If anybody thinks that it is expensive to stay with us and wants to argue about the fee 

  • A guest house room costs 150-350 B (no food!), 
  • a fried rice or noodle soup 25-35 B, 
  • cup of coffee or tea 25-40 B, 
  • a Sprite 15-20 B, 
  • a fruit juice or shake 40-50 B, 
  • a breakfast 50 B or more, a hamburger 120-250 B, 
  • a pizza 150-450 B, 
  • a small toast at the 7eleven 27 B ….

I saw another comparable project in Mae Sot on-line and they asked 22 $ per day and you will easily pay 50 $ and more with volunteering organizations. A booking fee of 100 $ on top of the volunteering fee also seems to be common.