Alumni Spotlight: Krystal Downs

Why did you decide to volunteer with HELP in Thailand?

Krystal: I had heard great things about HELP from various friends I knew who worked in HELP's administration. Once I understood HELP's philosophy, of sending students off around the world to implement their own development projects, I was beyond excited. It was a natural partnership. I chose Thailand because I knew I wanted to work in Asia to fight against human trafficking. Thailand was the obvious choice.

Volunteering in Thailand with HELP International

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Krystal: My days were packed as a volunteer. Half my week was spent getting up early, and spending hours on the public bus to get up to the border town of Mae Sai where I worked with DEPDC, an anti-human trafficking organization. At DEPDC we would teach English classes in the mornings, and in the afternoon some days we taught art, dance, and other creative classes. We also spent a lot of time talking video and pictures, as our team was working on putting a video project together for a media campaign for DEPDC. We would get home most days before dinner and had the nights free. The days I did not go up to DEPDC were spent either working on other projects, researching, planning lessons, or editing video and pictures.

HELP Volunteers in Thailand

How has this experience impacted your future?

Shannon: This experience has solidified by resolve to attend graduate school and pursue a Master's in International Policy. I already knew I was interested in working in the international sphere with non-profits, but had no experience actually on the ground with NGOs before going to Thailand. I learned a lot in Thailand, about NGOs, development work, and the good, and sometimes bad, effects they can have on those they are helping. I would never have gained this knowledge if I had not taken the leap of faith and going to Thailand with HELP.