International Relations, 12’
Global co-op in Mae Sai, Thailand
For the last five months I have been working at the Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities Centre in Mae Sai, the northernmost city in Thailand. The NGO was established in 1989 to work on the prevention side of the trafficking of women and children into the sex industry or other exploitative child labor situations.
Working with the local communities in Northern Thailand helped me realize that tackling human trafficking into the sex industry is absolutely critical. Reading about humanitarian issues in books, in research journals, and online is one thing—but nothing teaches you more than actually going to live in a community where you can see the issues for yourself.
As part of my co-op, I have had the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of an NGO from its directors, staff and international volunteers. I have also learned a great deal from the children and community members whom we work with, who have opened me up to an entirely new way of life.
My job responsibilities include working on media awareness, writing grants, fund-raising, building relationships with other national and international NGOs and teaching English. In working alongside the Thai staff and other international volunteers, I have particularly enjoyed spending time with the incredible youth of our Border Youth Leadership Training Programme, who I will soon get to see graduate as the organization’s next youth leaders.
Although my co-op will end in August when I return home to resume classes, this opportunity has had a profound effect on me. Learning about the awful crimes of sex trafficking and child exploitation has reinforced my interest in and commitment to working on the prevention of human trafficking in Thailand, South East Asia and around the world. I now know that this is an issue that I hope to dedicate myself to throughout my career.