About OpenmindProjects Nonprofit Foundation
IT learning already in 2001
OpenmindProjects is a nonprofit founded 2001 in Thailand and active in Southeast Asia with a local and global network of volunteers and alumni. We believe in EdTech and 21st Century Learning to help poor children to a better future. We have done this at our Training Center, Learning Camps and in villages but Covid disrupted our work. In response we launched online training while waiting to restart our local projects and welcoming volunteers back. As a nonprofit we did this with limited resources, depending on donations.
Our pioneer in IT learning
Once upon a time…
There was IT in Isan, a pioneer project in Northeast Thailand, based on the idea that IT can be the poor man’s best friend. Two orphan homes and a village were our first projects. The idea: demonstrate and show children what they can do with a computer and internet. Then give them time to Explore and they will Discover, learn, and can share with friends.
IT in Isan became OpenmindProjects and we still believe in Learning by Doing.
Opportunities for local people and overseas volunteers, depending on donations
Opportunities for the underprivileged
Over the years many young but poor people have come from Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia to learn with OpenmindProjects. They learned English and to use computers and internet to learn about the world and future opportunities. They learned together with OpenmindProjects and volunteers.
Opportunities for the more privileged: volunteers
Overseas volunteers have come to our Training Center, Learning Camps and field projects to help while learning about another culture. Now, after three Covid years we can welcome volunteers back!
Funding and Support
Originally Openmind Projects was founded and supported by cofounder Sven. Volunteer contributions have, however, been the major funding source. Some camps were supported by a Rotary Club and family foundation. Before and during the Covid years Gaweechat and Sven worked as volunteers and contributed to cover costs.
Now we need after Covid Funding!
Our future work, to restart our projects: camps, schools, a new Center will depend on donations and support from volunteers and other donors!
Cofounders Sven Mauleon and Gaweechat Joompaula
East meets West!
Sven Mauleon, from Sweden, and Gaweechat Joompaula, from Thailand set out to find ways to use IT to help the poor.
Sven brings extensive international experience to OpenmindProjects. Read About Sven in leading Swedish newspaper, Goteborgs Posten.
Gaweechat is the manager, self-taught and a true role model!
Sven: ‘I had an idea to bridge knowledge divides using IT. Now we also bridge culture divides with volunteers!’
Gaweechat: ‘I grew up without electricity but got a chance to learn to use computers. I believe in learning by doing.’
Some Openmind Milestones
In 2020 Covid disrupted our work. We decided to go online and to restart on the ground when possible.
Before Covid we had hosted some 400 Thai, Lao, Burmese and Khmer trainees at our Center. Over 3000 young villagers from Thailand, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia had joined our 80+ Learning Camps. Now it’s time to restart with volunteer and donor help!
- 2022. Welcome back after Covid, local students and overseas volunteers! Fundraising to restart projects, schools, camps and a new Center.
- 2020 – 2022. Started online training for schools and villages, disabled and migrant students. Also arranged local camps for village and drop out students with Openmind alumni and other local volunteer support.
- 2017 – 2019. Improved learning and training for our Learning Camps, trainees and volunteers.
- 2016. Our first Mountain Camps for Karen, Burmese migrant and refugee youth along the Thai-Myanmar border.
- 2013. Won a Tourism Authority of Thailand international volunteer campaign, “The Little Big Project”, receiving 5,000 USD which OpenmindProjects donated to save endangered sea turtles.
- 2012. Arranged our first Learning Camps at our Training Center in NongKhai, Thailand.
- Young campers started the We Love Openmind Projects Facebook Group.
- 2010. Started working with Burmese and Karen and stateless on the Thai-Myanmar border.
- 2008. Invited as finalists to the Stockholm Challenge, ICT for Development. Sponsors helped us bring five OpenmindProjects representatives to Sweden.
- 2007. Began inviting students from Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia to our Training Center.
- 2007. Visited Cambodia and Nepal and decided to work with local projects.
- CNN recommended OpenmindProjects for their global ‘Be Your Own Change‘ initiative.
- Moved to our new Training Center in Nong Khai.
- 2005. After the tsunami, OpenmindProjects and volunteers were early to help people together with a local Rotary.
- 2004. Invited to Laos to discuss sustainable ecotourism. Started supporting Lao communities and volunteers designed http://www.trekkingcentrallaos.com.
- Initiated an ecotourism project in Northeast Thailand, made a website and video and invited volunteers. Now recommended by Lonely Planet!
- 2003. Visited South Thailand, national parks and schools, conducted teacher workshops, and agreed to invite volunteers.
- 2002. Changed name from IT in Isan to OpenmindProjects, designed a website to invite volunteers to teach IT and English our Learning by Doing way.
- Our initiatives were featured in the Bangkok Post and recognized by UNESCO.
- Sven wrote about ecotourism in Bangkok Post, ‘Going Ethno in Isan‘.
- Opened our first modest Openmind House for young trainees and volunteers. Designed our first Volunteer Training
- Invited to an international conference, ‘Closing Gaps in the Digital Divide‘, sponsored by the Asian Development Bank, to present our projects at the Asian Institute of Technology.
- 2001. Sven initiated a pilot project to test IT learning for poor village children Gaweechat joined the project.