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LAND OF KARMA - THE BENEFITS OF GIVING BACK

February 12, 2018

Thailand is a Buddhist land, with a firm belief in Karma: what you give out comes back to you. That's why giving back to community is such a great idea. It's not only good for the community, but it's good for you. Beyond just a spiritual belief, the benefits of good karma earned from giving back are also scientific fact. Donating time or helping others can improve your life by lowering tension. This happens through a reduction in cortisol output, the main ingredient for human stress. Community kindness also helps improve mental health, by forming connections with others that stimulate the brain. It also helps provide a sense of meaning and belonging within the community, something that is often lost when a full time occupation is not part of life. Now that you know giving back isn’t just good for karmic health-- but physical health, too-- you might want to explore some ways you might improve your life and the lives of others while living at Sansara in Hua Hin.

The first and most important part of volunteering in Hua Hin-or anywhere in Thailand-is the issue of visas. Doing any work at all within Thailand requires an officially endorsed visa. Even if you are not being paid for the work, this restriction helps the government prevent people illegally taking advantage of Thailand’s resources through work that is not officially recognized. Different organizations have different ways of handling that issue, so be sure to clear the information up front before involving yourself in volunteer work. Finding that volunteer work can happen in two different ways. Locally, Sansara residents can reach out to different organizations located in Hua Hin, and get involved directly. The other option involves finding larger charities online, and contacting their international headquarters to find out what type of opportunities are currently available in Hua Hin. 

Two great local charity/community organizations that are easy to find once you are locally established in Hua Hin are Rescue Paws and Trash Hero. Trash Hero is an international organization of beach loving people who help keep the coast looking beautiful. They might be the easiest to involve yourself with, as their Facebook page lists a weekly clean up session every Sunday on Hua Hin’s beach. Just show up, and you’ll be part of the team. Besides from helping the region look as beautiful as it can, and helping all the marine life stay healthy, your work will involve walking along some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, as you chat with others and gather trash. Not a bad way to spend the day and get your daily exercise. And if you would like to involve yourself further, Trash Hero also leads educational drives and awareness efforts, as well as structuring and initiating long term environmental sustainability projects as well.

Rescue Paws was started in 2013, with the goal of helping save and heal the numerous stray dogs, or “soi dogs” in the region. Soi means “street” in Thai, and throughout Hua Hin, these poor and abandoned animals are living a hard life. Initiated with the mission of just feeding these often starving creatures, the charity has expanded its reach in recent years, adding medical services to their operations. Providing Rabies and combo vaccinations, sterilizations, parasite treatments and more, Rescue Paws provides services that don’t just help the stray dogs, but improve the community they live in. Their website, http://www.rescuepawsasia.org, will tell you more about what they do, and what type of volunteer opportunities they offer.

For an online search of larger charities working within Thailand, you can start with the Rain Tree Foundation, which helps develop impoverished rural communities. UNICEF Thailand has a myriad of charitable missions, spanning everything from the fight against human trafficking to tsunami relief. Amnesty International Thailand defends human rights in the region, and a great way to find out other charities and foundations operating locally is by getting involved with the Thailand chapter of The Rotary Club.

Whichever method you choose, remember that you won’t just be helping the world be a better place through your volunteer efforts in Hua Hin. If you believe the Thais, you’ll be helping earn “good karma” that will make your future more enjoyable and pleasant. And, as scientific studies show, you’ll be improving your health by involving yourself in the community, keeping your mind active, lowering your stress levels, and giving yourself a sense of purpose. If all that sounds good-and we sure think it does-- Sansara community managers will be available to help residents find the best place to help, and organize the details to make the experience as beneficial and enjoyable as possible.

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