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Volunteers for the Duang Prateep Foundation in the slums of Bangkok, Thailand
09 August 1998
by Noriko Nakagawa and Nikki Dulyavoranun

Noriko Nakagawa is a Japanese lady of 47 years, who is now working as a volunteer for the Duang Prateep Foundation for the second time.

Her first engagement began in August 1989 until May 1993 and now, since March 1997, she is back because she has benefitted greatly from her previous volunteer experience.

We met her in December 1998, and with a big smile, she explained to us her work, her experiences, both positive and negative and her general feeling about working in the slums of Bangkok for the past 5 years !

Her principal work is to write newsletters, translations, reports on certain projects for the Japanese Embassy and to some of the sponsors of the Foundation.

Her inspiration is drawn from the founder of the Duang Prateep Foundation, Khru Prateep, who grew up amidst the tough conditions of living in a slum, and through her perserverence, was able to set up this Foundation to help those living there.

Noriko is amazed at her strength, "she never complains, she never thinks about herself" and she feels this is inspirational for her and for her work Volunteering at the Foundation also made Noriko learn Thai, and after all the time she has spent there, she now feels integrated in her work and with her environment.

She lives in a guesthouse in the slums, and has been able to observe the attitude of the people around her - the way that the neighbours all help each other even if they have very little - and this, she finds is very positive to witness.

The other volunteer, Nikki Dulyavoranun, who is in fact, no longer a volunteer - she worked as a volunteer for six months, and through her input, has now been taken on for a part-time basis. Aged 29 years, of Thai origin, Nikki says, "to be a social worker, you have to love what you do, not the money". She also assists with correspondence, translation, following up on projects and the general co-ordination of the staff. Khru Prateep is also her model, she is the driving force in everyone's mind. Her feeling about working here is that volunteers should be flexible in all aspects and help with everything, from cooking and cleaning, to talking to the children in the slums.

Two stories from volunteers who we interviewed in December 1998 at the Duang Prateep Foundation, in Bangkok, Thailand. For more details on the background and projects of Duang Prateep, read under the Charity Chat section of News from the Field.

Noriko Nakagawa and Nikki Dulyavoranun