By Debbie Huang, Secretary General, Volunteering Taiwan, IAVE National Representative, Taiwan
Aligned with the SEEDS action plan, which was initiated by the IAVE National Representatives in the Asia-Pacific region in 2011, we launched the ‘Give and Take’ learning trip to Doi Pha Som in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in collaboration with Volunteer Spirit Network. This was the third year for Taiwanese youth to visit this mountain community. The volunteers worked under the guidelines of “Sufficiency Economy” and shared their skills and knowledge with the local farmers and social entrepreneurs. We specially honored the work of Phra Sangkom Thanapanyo, the co-founder of Doi Pha Som, on establishing the “Sufficiency Economy model”, which provides young people a guideline for alternative skills based education and a supportive structure for youth to establish their agricultural business.
To advance cooperation amongst volunteers in Taiwan and Thailand, we invited Phra Sangkom as the speaker at the Taiwan International NGO Training Program on August 26-27. The event attracted over 120 participants from NGOs and the volunteering sector. With his enlightening speech, we learned about how he developed Sufficiency Economy in remote communities, which effectively improved the farmers’ livelihood and transformed young people’s careers. Doi Pha Som Project is one of the benchmark overseas youth exchange programs of Volunteering Taiwan – Journey of Dream. Besides volunteering in Thailand, we also completed our summer projects in Singapore and Indonesia.