VOLUNTEERING THAILAND: GAIA ASHRAM LEARNING CENTER AND TROPICAL PERMACULTURE FARM
First of all we would like to welcome you! We are very grateful that you are taking your time to look at our website and consider volunteering with us!
Gaia Ashram is a learning center in the Northeast of Thailand, where courses and workshops on Permaculture, Ecovillage Design, and Deep Ecology are held regularly! If you are looking for a volunteering opportunity in Thailand, we’re happy to welcome you. Apart from sharing the knowledge and wisdom that we gained on our journey, we are also a working farm that aims to produce an abundance of vegetables and fruit. We aim to offer knowledge, new perspectives, inspiration, and empowerment to our volunteers, and we hope volunteers can benefit a lot from working, learning, sharing, and living together.
If you are interested in volunteering with us please read properly through this page. Because of Covid 19 there not many volunteers at the moment. This might mean the structure of our day to day life can be a little bit different from a structure for when we have a lot of people. We ask you to be aware and also to be prepared to self organize sometimes during your stay at Gaia Ashram.
HOW TO VOLUNTEERING AT GAIA ASHRAM IN THAILAND?
We take volunteers throughout the year and we welcome volunteers who are genuinely interested to learn about taking care of nature, ourselves & each other. Volunteers who are interested in sustainable living, permaculture, deep ecology, ecovillage living in Thailand, and are looking for changing their lives to become more sustainable & holistic are most welcome. Gaia Ashram also welcomes volunteer families and people with kids joining the community. Families should take care of their kids themselves and Gaia Ashram will give the families space to do so.
Gaia Ashram has been developed to the stage where we are now through personal financial investments by the founders, through our education services, some donations, and contributions from volunteers. Here are our volunteer contribution rates:
Guests (less then two weeks):
-450 baht per night (go to the following link to read more https://gaiaschoolasia.com/?page_id=145591)
Short term volunteer contributions (min. two weeks):
– 275 baht per night
Medium Term (minimum commitment of one month)
-250 baht per night
Long-term volunteer (after one month):
-175 baht per night
If you want to dive deeper into Permaculture, Ecovillage Design, and holistic living, and you are motivated, dedicated, and committed, you have the option to become an intern after volunteering with us for one month, especially if you wanna stay longer than 3 months. For more information have a look at our INTERNSHIP page.
THE VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES ON OUR TROPICAL PERMACULTURE FARM IN THAILAND
Generally we have 4 kinds of activities at Gaia Ashram: natural building, gardening, nature regeneration, and the making of our natural products GAIA ESSENCE. Our daily activities mostly depend on the season.
WORKING WITH NATURAL CYCLES AND PATTERNS
We have 3 seasons in Thailand and our activities are strongly related to the natural cycles and changes:
RAINY SEASON: JULY UNTIL OCTOBER
At this time we are planting lots of trees and some water-loving veggies. There also might be some ongoing building projects going on that we will be working on.
COOL SEASON: NOVEMBER UNTIL FEBRUARY
This is the main time for vegetable production and organic gardening but also a good time for building projects as it is dry.
DRY/HOT SEASON: MARCH UNTIL JUNE.
Generally, the hot season is a time for building and a good time for us to go to places that are not so hot.
NATURAL BUILDING AT GAIA ASHRAM
At the moment, we’re having 7 natural buildings on our land. We are still working on some structures, maintaining existing ones, and renovate others. We try to use as many natural materials as possible and we try to design our systems to have a very low to zero environmental impact.
We are trying to close our loops as much as possible. By building a compost toilet for example, we reduce huge amounts of waste, water & chemical usage that is associated with conventional western type toilet systems and sewage treatment plants. Here at Gaia Ashram our waste actually becomes food for our timber trees. Volunteers will have the possibility to learn and gain skills in building & natural building techniques. If you already have some skills we will give you the freedom to experience and refine your skills.
ECOSYSTEM RESTORATION & REGENERATION
Our aim is to regenerate the land and help Mother Earth and all her beings to thrive. From nature’s perspective, Gaia Ashram is \in the establishing phase. The land we are regenerating is the size of 6 hectares and used to be a rice field around 7 years ago with degraded soils and pretty much nothing on it. Now, after about 6 years, we can see the land is restoring itself & transforming, pioneering species are doing their work, native trees are coming up again, and we assist nature or Gaia in its self-restorative ability. This process of assisting nature is one of the most important volunteer jobs.
You will be here to help regenerate and work on ecosystem restoration. We will be working on our agroforestry systems, organic gardens, and a lot more. By doing this, volunteers can get an understanding of what it takes to support Mother Earth in her natural restoring and healing systems, i.e. from a zero bare situation towards a thriving throbbing with life productive edible ecosystem and thereby making its contribution to the larger biosphere.
To heal nature and ourselves is what we are all about at Gaia Ashram and we hope your time at Gaia Ashram inspires and potentially transformational for you and that you will take this home with you and then apply aspects of it into your own setting, this could be on a big piece of land or it could be on your balcony in a big city. In order to learn about how we can create beautiful landscapes we need to make steps, develop skills, cultivate our heart and minds.
OTHER VOLUNTEER ACTIVITIES
We are also looking for people who have skills in Social Media, website development, general event promotions, and other office-related skills. Please let us know if you have these skills and would be interested in supporting Gaia Ashram on this level.
WORK STRUCTURE FOR VOLUNTEERS
During the week we work in the morning together either in the garden/food forest, alley crops, ricefields, ponds, our wetland or on natural building. In the afternoon in the first two weeks you can chose from the project list and can work on that alone or in project teams.
Volunteers, guest & interns join into the chores groups that help us to organize our community life and also to take responsibility of our shared home. Volunteers cook breakfast, lunch and take care of the dishes, take care of the compost on a daily rotational basis & clean the community spacs. When you arrive this will be explained by the long-term community members. If something is not clear please do not hesitate to ask the team or any longer-term volunteers.
Our days are most of the time structured like this but can change slightly due to season, activities, ongoing courses, and the number of volunteers:
- Monday: Cleaning blitz/Intro week/Afternoon work session/ tour
- Tuesday: Regular Working Sessions
- Wednesday: Regular Working Sessions/ Trip to Market
- Thursday: Regular Work Sessions/watch documentary
- Friday: Regular Work Session
- Saturday: Well -being circle, Team meetings/ Personal Study
- Sunday: Day-off
We recommend volunteers to get a Thai Tourist Visa from the Thai embassy in their home country. Generally, you can get a 2 months visa which can be extended at the local immigration office in Udonthani for a month. It is also possible to get 30 days visa on arrival and cross the border to Vientiane, Laos if you want to extend your visa at the Thai Embassy there. We are relatively near Vientiane (about one hour of travel). If you intend to stay longer than 3 months at Gaia Ashram please let us know and we can give you more information.
We ask volunteers to get appropriate travel insurance that covers volunteering in Thailand in case of any incidents. Please check out the following insurance companies as a reference who are specialized in travelers and would cover volunteering:
+++Please be aware that in times of Covid-19 travel plans can be changing fast and we would recommend getting travel insurance that covers Covid-19 related events+++
WHAT TO BRING?
- In the cool season (November till the beginning of March) some warm clothes
- Rainy season boots are helpful/raincoat or umbrella
- Mosquito spray (also available in our shop)
- Work clothes
- If you have some projects to share bring the relevant information to share.
TRAVEL INFORMATION FOR VOLUNTEERS
There are many ways to get to Gaia Ashram and for a more detailed description we would like to refer you to the following page:
Our facilities are basic but very comfy. All our volunteers will stay in our dormitory that is on the first floor of the sala, our main community building at the heart of Gaia Ashram.
For those that want more privacy there is the fairy house which is right next to the forest. We call it the fairy house because the little forest is wild and full of fairies and other unseen beings.
Gaia Ashram welcomes people on bicycles that are traveling the world and for people traveling with their own tents to Gaia Ashram there are available spaces to set them up. We advice not to camp out in rainy season. Please inform us beforehand if you plan to stay in your tent.
You can find more detailed information on our facilities here.
There is an internet Shop & Wi-Fi spot in the next village that is usually available everyday and can be reached by feet or bicycle. We recommend volunteers to get a Thai sim and get an internet package. Additional internet credit can be bought in local village or through most ATM machines. We can recommend AIS provider as they have good coverage and English customer support.
Laundry can be done by hand at Gaia Ashram or there is the option by machine in the village which is 40 bath per kilo.
We are asking volunteers to bring natural products such as natural soap & shampoo as the waste water goes directly into the land. At Gaia Ashram we aim to have all natural products for domestic use.
We are selling our natural products GAIA ESSENCE made from the land that ranges from mosquito repellent, soap, shampoo, to herbal teas and essential oils. Part of the profit from the sell of these natural products will go into the Gaia Ashram project and eventually part of the profit will go into supporting the local community. It is our long-term aim to work with the local community to empower them to create more & more natural products for sale and to provide an opportunity for them to earn some extra income.
Your support would be much valued to help achieve our aim in getting the wider community more green & re-localizing the economy. For those volunteers with skill or interest in learning about making natural products you are most welcome to help us.
In line with our values we try to reduce waste at Gaia Ashram. We ask volunteers to not bring waste to Gaia Ashram and during your stay at Gaia Ashram we will process our waste into eco-bricks that we can use for building project.
As volunteers you will cook meals together in shifts. If we are more than 5 volunteers staying at Gaia Ashram we usually get support to provide dinner. Please note that we cook vegetarian at Gaia Ashram and that there are always vegan options.
***No Alcohol or Drugs***
We ask volunteers not to drink alcohol or use drugs on the land. We ask smokers to smoke out of sight away from other Community members at a designated smokers area.
FOR VOLUNTEERING WITH US PLEASE SEND US AN EMAIL.
WE’RE HAPPY TO HEAR FROM YOU!
May all the work that we do be of benefit to all beings and mother Earth!
May Mother Earth Gaia and all her beings be happy and thriving!
May we dedicate our lives to take care of ourselves, each other, Mother Earth and all beings!