2020 will be remembered

volunteer summer camp Thailand

The year 2020 will be remembered for many reasons!

COVID for all. For us also the Sangkhom camps, our first camps after, or rather during, COVID!

2020 started well with many great volunteers, young, older, families, our trainees, plans for holiday camps, and much more. Then COVID!

Luckily our volunteers managed to go home before complete lockdowns and problems with flights. Our Lao trainees had to go back to their villages and Openmind faced a temporary lockdown.

Biding our time, preparing to open up, we took part in some fundraising campaigns organized by enthusiastic volunteers Jessica, Alice and Christian, GlobalGiving, and Riot Games. Thanks to funds raised we can look forward to a hopefully more active remaining 2020 and then into 2021. We have many exciting plans and will come back to those later!

Right now, we want to celebrate completing our first 2020 Learning Camps last week. Our usual April camps were canceled for obvious COVID reasons!

Openmind’s Gaweechat(TT ) agreed with the Non-Formal Education Department in Nongkhai to arrange a number of camps for adult villagers and young school dropouts.

The focus was as usual on learning English our learning by doing way. The adult villagers considered and discussed homestay tourism while the younger ones thought about learning for a better future, again including English, and seeing how to use their smartphones as learning tools. When asked they admitted they mainly used their mobiles for games and chatting. When asked how they learned to use their mobiles, the answer was ‘learning by doing’!

How to do Camps without our great overseas volunteers?

Well, three previous Openmind trainees and campers James, Tew, and Namtip stepped forward as camp leaders when overseas volunteers could not join. James back from a scholarship in the US, Tew just finished his studies to be an English teacher and Namtip in between studies in China. Together with Toto, a longtime volunteer Jim and me, they engaged with campers to learn and discuss our learning by doing way!

It is great and gratifying when previous Openmind trainees and campers come back as energetic and enthusiastic camp leaders, especially now that overseas volunteers cannot travel. This was always OpenmindProjects ambition: local people helping local people!  It’s the best proof that our trainee and camp programs have an impact, and a great way to inspire and empower the less privileged!

Thank you James, Namthip, Tew!

It was great working with you at the Non-Formal Education Camps in Sang Khom!  Watching you coaching the adult villagers and younger school dropout campers was gratifying!

Everybody learning English, villagers discussing homestay tourism and the young Campers thinking about their futures, what they want to do, and what they should learn to get there. You did a great job together.  We are proud of you!

Now we are thinking ahead, how to arrange camps and arrange for online training and online volunteers, more about that later!

Well done, everybody! Choc dee!

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