What I have leaned from volunteering with ETIP. . .
Normally I write my blogs in Thai – but with the word limit, I decided to write in English instead – to confine myself from being too chatty (I’m quite sure I won’t be like that…this time – 😉.
First off, the fact that I have never told my stories in English before (apart from the early introduction), those who cannot read Thai certainly know little about who I am and what I did. Therefore, allow me recount the story. 🙂
When I heard that my host organization for my volunteer placement in the next 5 months was the World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVF for short, for now) the first thing I did was looking it up on Google. It’s not that I was not aware of the existence of the foundation, rather I was curious to know how the WVF was related to migrant worker issues, which appears to be a main purpose of Saphan Siang campaign. However, many thanks to Ms Chanakarn, a youth engagement officer of ETIP, who later became my adviser (or should I say my ‘nanny’?) and did help me a lot since then.
ETIP (End Trafficking In Persons) program is part of WVF what works towards anti-human trafficking. The program is based on 3 pillars: Prevention, Protection and Policy. The program is launched in 6 countries, including Thailand. The reason why it is related to migrant workers becomes clear after I’d been with the team for a while – the majority of people who fall victim to trafficking are ‘migrant workers.’
I was introduced to ETIP officers: Mr Chinethai, Ms Ticha and Mr Nawng Hkio, and now ETIP has 2 new colleagues: Ms Thanyatip and Ms Nuchnalin. With these few people, they are in charge of 6 areas all over Thailand – covering the three pillars. I was first assigned to read a number of articles and documents about human trafficking, including the (in)famous story of Thailand being downgraded to be Tier 3 (in TiP Report). As we are the “insiders,” we were made aware of it way before journalists. Unfortunately, no matter how much efforts that have been made by many involved NGOs and other entities, there was nothing to be done to change the outcome.
In April, there was a short film competition held by MTV EXIT, and the ETIP youths from 6 areas participated in this competition. I consequently had a chance to go to Ranong province where I assisted children and youth there in conducting their short films. Having engaged with MTV EXIT for the second time, I had the opportunity to join the MTV EXIT concert live in Udon Thani. There we observed how the concert play a role in raising public awareness of human trafficking issues. I met many new friends who are MTV EXIT youth ambassadors from all over ASEAN. They were outstanding and awesome, indeed!
Recently, I’ve participated in Pattaya Youth Forum as a Staff Assistant. There were experts lecturing on speaking skills and human trafficking issues with the goal to prevent children from becoming trafficked victims. Closely on 26 June, I joined my host organization in the Anti-Human Trafficking Day at United Nations Conference Centre organized by Ministry of Social Development and Human Security. As the event had been prepared months earlier – in fact before the TiP Report was announced – and had to be postponed (due to the political instability), we had to change our focus altogether. Therefore, the main objective of this year’s event is to encourage youth to learn about the human trafficking problem in the country, exchange views on how to prevent and monitor against such practices and take part in solving the problem.
Having been involved in events like these and working in the office with WVF staff in the past several months, I have learn many practical skills such as translating (which helps me to improve my English a lot), Photoshop (who says it isn’t related – it is!), and other document-related works, to mention a few. Now we have just moved to our new office that is bigger, newer but it helps me realize how hard it is to move from one place to the other (lol). Packing however seemed to be quite a fun experience!
In brief, volunteering with the World Vision Foundation of Thailand has been a valuable experience for me. I greatly expand my horizons through being involved in different tasks. I’ve learned both academic and practical skills from the work I was assigned, as well as becoming more acquainted with the issues and the workforce. Once my volunteer placement terminates, I’m certain that the great experience I’ve gained will be greatly beneficial for me in the foreseeable future.
…..Luckily, it entry wasn’t too long! ;p