Volunteer with the Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities Centre in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.


The Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities Centre in the Greater Mekong Subregion (DEPDC/GMS) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation based in Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand. The community-based organisation has a diverse 25-year history and currently works primarily to prevent and to protect children and youth from being trafficked into exploitative labour conditions.

The organization’s projects provide crucial preventative measures of education, vocational and life-skills training, protection and accommodation, family and community outreach services, and leadership development to at-risk children and youth in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.

The Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) is comprised of the six countries through which the Mekong River flows: Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Guangxi and Yunnan Provinces in Southern China. Human trafficking in Northern Thailand is prevalent due to numerous populations of minority ethnic groups, many of which lack Thai citizenship. Historically, these people have suffered extreme poverty, because they lack access to formal education and health care and they have little political power. As a result, many are marginalized and are compelled to seek financial alternatives in order to survive.

Many families therefore resort to selling their children into exploitative labour conditions, frequently with the promise that their children are going to work in a decent, safe workplace. Thailand is a country of origin, transit, and destination for trafficking victims, and with the near future opening of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Economic Community in 2015, the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) will inevitably remain a major hub for the trafficking of children.

Because the human trafficking process is far reaching and its causes are deep, our mission aims to help the most at-risk children, and their families and communities, in order to decrease the conditions and factors that make them vulnerable to trafficking. The organisation operates a range of projects which facilitate this mission at three distinct sites, strategically located within Thailand’s northern most province of Chiang Rai, in the districts of Mae Sai, Mae Chan, and Chiang Khong. Each project site functions differently, but all work toward the common goal of reducing the psycho-social risks and dangerous conditions which leave children and youth vulnerable to trafficking in the region.



Are you looking for a mind-stretching, life-changing experience? Do you have a passion for social justice and to help vulnerable youth in need? Are you ready for cross-cultural immersion in the unique culture of Thailand?  

If your answer is yes to all of the above, then please read on!  

The DEPDC/GMS International Department recruits talented, motivated International Volunteers who want to gain experience in anti-human trafficking work and to have a direct impact on the lives of at-risk children in northern Thailand and beyond. 

DEPDC/GMS is a non-profit, non-governmental organization headquartered in Mae Sai District, Chiang Rai Province, Thailand.  The organization works to prevent and to protect girls and boys from being trafficked into exploitative working conditions, the commercial sex industry in particular.  DEPDC/GMS provides crucial preventative measures such as education, vocational and life skills training, accommodation, protection, community outreach, and leadership development to at-risk youth in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.  

The organization coordinates a multitude of programs and projects at distinct sites, located throughout Chiang Rai Province in the districts of Mae Sai, Chiang Khong, and Mae Chan. Each site functions differently but works toward the common goal of empowering youth to empower themselves and their peers and communities to combat human trafficking and exploitative child labor.  

In order to provide the organization with steady volunteer support, which is critical to the smooth functioning of all projects, our International Department accepts applications on a rolling basis.  We tend to recruit up to 12 months in advance of the prospective start date of volunteer commitment, but we will consider applications within a shorter time frame. For more details, please click on the individual site opportunity tabs in the drop-down list beneath the VOLUNTEER tab for a description of tasks and responsibilities undertaken by International Volunteers and for instructions on how to apply.  

*DEPDC/GMS – Mae Sai requires a volunteer commitment of at least six months, in addition to 30 to 40 hours of intensive Thai language lessons over three to four weeks prior to arrival in Mae Sai if the applicant does not already have a basic command of the language. In general, exceptions are made in rare cases should an applicant have outstanding skills, directly applicable experience, and/or there is a specific need.

DEPDC/GMS in Mae Sai does not provide housing, food, transportation, or a living stipend, nor does it charge a participation fee.  The organization can provide documentation support for the volunteer’s Thailand Visa application; however, Thailand’s immigration laws change frequently and typically without warning, and Thai embassies and consulates vary greatly in the types and lengths of visas that they offer.  Many DEPDC/GMS volunteers have financed their stay through private fundraising. Please click on the Opportunity in Mae Sai tab above for details on this volunteer position.  


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