Robert O Driscoll
Volunteers Without Borders
The chief reason why I have joined CSI again is to promote and network for the organization I currently work for named the Volunteers Without Borders Foundation. Volunteers Without Borders, (VWB), is a not-for-profit organization who operates primarily in rural Northern Thailand. We have been active since the late eighties, and have engaged in well over one hundred successful projects. These range from the Meakok River Village nature trail, for which we won an international eco-tourism award, to Thomas House in Ban Thaton, a home and school for 20 residents with disabilities ranging in age from 3 yrs to early adulthood, to teaching English and building educational and sustainable agriculture infrastructure for schools.
Because we have been funded to date by our founders successful tour company, only 5% of our monies raised for VWB have gone to operating costs, and we have won awards and recognition from the former king of Thailand himself. We are now focusing more strongly in creating "fair trade" initiatives for small and micro businesses in rural areas. This is with a view to put in place sustainable social and business structures that hold the local cultures and natural environments in one of highest respect, and prevents their further historical exploition.
We are looking for financial donors, individual, institutional or corporate, and people to volunteer, from one month to one year, in a wide range of initiatives involving everything from teaching English, to building educational infrastructure in the form of dormitories, intelligent playgrounds and sustainable agriculture projects for schools in rural areas, to a variety of business management or computer skills to assist small and micro indigenous business ventures. Some of the latter can even be done remotely. Also, we make it very inexpensive for volunteers to live and be supported in the magical land of Thailand, while doing good work for local underprivileged peoples.
I will be moving back to Thailand in a next month, and I would like to see what I can do for our initiatives on this side of the water before I go. Also, being a member of CSI will be a good way for me to stay in touch with what is happening in Toronto while I am away.
I have been a member of CSI previously, and I think it is a wonderful organization. There is such a good spirit about it, and I have always enjoyed the various events and seminars I have attended there. I did actually teach a few tai chi classes myself at the Regent Park location a few years ago.