THAILAND SERVICE YEAR

Tim Humphreys (SAC12)

The Cardoner Project has had volunteers in northern Thailand since 2012 as a part of The Arrupe Education Project, an initiative of the Thai Jesuits. In the mountains of the small village of Huay Tong, two hours west of Chiang Mai, service year volunteers live together in Colombière House, named after the Jesuit St Claude de la Colombière, and teach English at different government schools during the day. Some of these schools have 60 students, some have 600. Some receive reasonable funding while others have a few modest blackboards. The Service Year volunteers teach Kindergarten through to Year 12, and occasionally older students as well. The people that we live with and teach are Hill tribe people, primarily Karen and Hmong ethnic groups. For them, English is a third language after their local language group and Thai. It is hard work, and the boys go without a lot of the creature comforts their mates take for granted back in Sydney. As one who was there for a year, I can say that it is a place and time full of challenges and friendships, and spiritual growth that stay with you always.