Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities (DEPDC) is an NGO in Thailand dedicated to stopping human trafficking. By actively working to support Thai women and children in dangerous situations, DEPDC has made an impact on many lives. DEDPC's programs offer those trying to get out of sex work in Thailand an education, vocational training, and accommodations. These skills will help disadvantaged women and children achieve long term goals for better quality of life.



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Yes, I recommend this program

It's difficult to describe my time here at DEPDC. It's not easy to justly write about 6 months that literally changed my life. From the first day I arrived I knew I had made the right decision to volunteer at DEPDC. The staff and kids became like a family and one that I looked forward to seeing everyday. The days can be busy during the school year but it was a welcomed busy because I knew I was working for a cause worth every minute of my time. There is an integrity to the mission and staff at DEPDC that made me feel so confident in the work they are doing. When you volunteer at DEPDC you actually feel like you are making a difference, and the experiences are invaluable. During my time I had opportunities to help write to members of UNESCO and attend meetings with UNESCO speakers. I had the opportunity to assist a film crew make a short documentary about DEPDC and welcome volunteer University students on a 2 week journey to assist DEPDC staff with various projects. It can get crazy! A good crazy full of life and excitement! I thought leaving my life in America for 1/2 year would be hard but turns out leaving DEPDC was MUCH harder. I have done a lot of traveling and living overseas in my life and returning home has never been an issue. Sure, a little culture shock and adjustment to time change but nothing dramatic. That was, until my return from DEPDC. I had come to love my life at the center and it was heartbreaking to leave. It took me a while to feel whole again. I dreamt of the kids for months after leaving! It's way too easy to get attached to them! Again, they are all like family. I had the privilege to return again this year for a visit and it was like I never left. My time there made such an impression, impacted me in such a way that I know I will continue to go back when I can and help where I can. If you have ever considered being a volunteer, please don't hesitate. Message them now! This is an organization worth your time! Who doesn't need more family, love and purpose in their life?!

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Yes, I recommend this program

the volunteer coordinator is very helpful as is the volunteer handbook. Knowledge from volunteers from each year is passed on which helps guarantee a a wonderful time volunteering at such an important NGO

What would you improve about this program?
Mae Sai, where the NGO is located, can be a bit lacking in the social life scene, but we had fun at the bars there and anyway Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai are never to far if you crave the nightlife experience. Despite this, it is Mae Sai's traditional way of living and being untainted by commercialisation that makes it such an experience


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Katherine Walsh

Katherine volunteered with DEPDC/GMS in Mai Sai from April to August 2012 and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

Why did you decide to volunteer with DEPDC in Thailand?

I study International Development and in third year it is required that we do a work placement, preferably abroad. My area of interest is children’s rights and my university already had a link with DEPDC/GMS, as previous third year students went there on placement.

I sent an application form to DEPDC/GMS because it is an organisation working in the very important and interesting area of Human Trafficking. Originally I did not know very much about human trafficking but once I researched it I knew that I would find the work at DEPDC/GMS interesting and that I could learn a lot from being there. I also hoped that I could put the skills I had learned from my education into practice to help out as much as I could.

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

All international volunteers work in the International Department with the volunteer coordinator. There is a variety of work to be done in this department. The primary task of the volunteers is teaching. I teach the Half Day School children in the mornings and three days per week I teach staff English for one hour and community English for one and a half hours.

DEPDC/GMS also has its own radio station, and every morning at 9am someone from the international department hosts the Fun English Show for one hour. Volunteers are also responsible for updating the blog, which is usually updated once per week, and for editing the quarterly newsletter.

Volunteers also handle tasks assigned to them by the volunteer coordinator. These include updating the donor spreadsheet on Microsoft excel, sending thank you letters to donors, sending information to potential volunteers, making presentations to visitors informing them of the work that DEPDC/GMS does, researching sources of funding and helping out with current projects.

Each day follows a pattern of teaching and office work, but tasks are extremely varied which makes each day interesting and provides valuable experience.

How has this experience helped you grow personally and professionally?

This is my first time working away from home and my first time working full time for an NGO. The opportunity and experience have been invaluable. On a personal level I have learned a great deal about myself and what I am capable of. The children I teach and the people I have met have also taught me a lot about other cultures and ways of life.

On a professional level, due to the variety of work, I have had the opportunity to put a great deal of what I have learned from my university education into practice and I have learned skills that my degree does not cover.

Overall I feel that, on both a personal and professional level, I learned a great deal more than I could ever give back, but everyone at DEPDC/GMS made me feel appreciated and was thankful for the contribution I made. I will leave with a greater knowledge and understanding of how an NGO, such as DEPDC/GMS, operates and that I can put this knowledge into practice in my future career.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Tell us a little about DEPDC and your role at the company.

DEPDC is a non-profit NGO registered in Thailand, based in Mai Sai, the most northern point of Thailand on the border with Burma. We work mainly in the prevention of human trafficking by providing education, academic, vocational, life skills, human rights, human trafficking and children’s rights to at-risk children and young people. Some of our work also involves working with people who have experience neglect, abuse, abandonment or trafficking.

We work in the North of Thailand because ethnic minority groups and stateless individuals reside in this part of Thailand. As a group they are at risk to being trafficked for labour and sexual purposes because they experience the combination of poverty, discrimination and lack of citizenship (Thai or Burmese) that denies them education, health care and access to other rights, services and protection from governments. Making them prey for traffickers.

I am DEPDC’s International Volunteer Co-ordinator. I recruit, manage, and look after volunteers who come to DEPDC, our minimum time commitment is 6 months. I handle our English language correspondence, translate and help write grant reports and proposals, welcome and show around visitors we get at the centre, host the Fun English Radio show on our radio station 1-2 times a week, send out thank you letter for donations we get and other various tasks. The work is quite varied so it keeps things interesting.

How did you get involved in the volunteer industry?

I graduated with a B.A. in Politics and Development from the School of Oriental and African Studies in 2011. Since starting university I have been interested in working in the NGO sector and working on the issue of Human Trafficking. I am originally from Thailand, where this is a major issue. Thailand is a source, transit and destination country. I had never thought to work on the prevention side of this issue until I heard about DEPDC. I later found out that they were looking for an International Volunteer Co-ordinator and so I applied.

What makes DEPDC unique?

Working on the prevention side of trafficking is just as important as working with victims of human trafficking. It is better for individuals to be prevented from entering exploitive situations in the first place because then they have not gone through such a terrible ordeal. It makes a lot of sense to do prevention work as well as rescue and rehabilitation.

DEPDC is unique because we work in prevention. I’m sure we are not the only organization to do so. All the staff that work here are amazing, many if not most of them were at risk individuals who have been in our programs and are now talented individuals working in prevention. Our directors and project leaders are incredibly dedicated; they have a lot of fight and a lot of heart.

I suppose with any organization the goal at hand often feels impossible to achieve, until it is done. Here are DEPDC they have done a lot of great work and have indeed prevented many children and young people from being trafficked and exploited. Here we want students to learn about everything and to be inspired. DEPDC is also very welcoming of visitors, and volunteers, long term and short term.

In your experience, what characteristics make a good international volunteer?

Someone who is open-minded, brave, positive in outlook, willing to work hard, is curious, takes initiative, willing to learn, willing to make mistakes, and willing to say ‘you know what, I can do this.’ Maybe most importantly is someone who wants to be here, someone who wants to help and someone that can acknowledge that although you are here to help others, these very people you meet are amazing in their own right and that there is so much you can learn from them. I think it should be a mutually rewarding and giving experience.

How do you ensure your programs are sustainable and mutually beneficial for you, the community, and the volunteers?

By providing those in our program with opportunities for education, life skills and personal development, each project offers early intervention of those most at-risk for human trafficking with a wide range of risk factors including poverty, domestic instability, history of abuse and statelessness. Benefactors also benefit from a wide range of alternative educational programmes and vocational trainings to further reduce their likelihood of entering exploitative situations.

DEPDC also increases the awareness of human trafficking, child rights protection, and the importance of education, in both its target group and within its networks and in the community at large. DEPDC also works diligently to actively engage members of the community through outreach and networking so that teachers, village leaders, family and community members, and the government itself also works to combat the social problems plaguing the region.

It is worthy to note that the empowerment and prevention-based projects can impact families and communities of the participants in indirect ways. Already, many participants have indicated a willingness to share their experience and anti-human trafficking knowledge with their siblings, friends and communities. DEPDC and M-CRP believe projects supporting youth hold the greatest long-term potential to build strong communities that are active in protecting, educating, and caring for their children. The youth in these communities are empowered to work for change, and they will form the next generation of activists and social workers who will tackle this issue for a truly sustainable intervention.

Volunteers are supported by their Volunteer Co-ordinator who is here to supervise their work as well as look after their well being whilst they are here. Volunteers are given a wide range of tasks to do. Volunteers are also able to initiate small to larger scale projects or initiatives that they are interested in pursuing, given that our daily task can be covered. Volunteers are also welcomed by all staff, there may be a language barrier at first but the more you learn Thai the more you can benefit from this experience. We also include volunteers in many if not all of our events as well as monthly meetings, our half year and end of year meeting.