February 16th - INTO Students Gives back

In December 2014 Panchanit Horsaengchai, an INTO St George’s student,  volunteered  at the Poonsab Preschool, …

February 16th - INTO Students Gives back

16 Feb 2015

In December 2014 Panchanit Horsaengchai, an INTO St George’s student,  volunteered  at the Poonsab Preschool, Bangkok, Thailand. The Preschool is an INTO Giving supported project for children from the slums of Bangkok, and part of the HDF Mercy Centre.

Panchanit, also known as Ice, has been studying an International Foundation in Medicine, Biomedicine and Health Sciences at INTO St George's, University of London.

Panchanit is the first UK INTO student to volunteer on an INTO Giving supported project. As she is from Bangkok, she decided to dedicate some of her Christmas holidays to volunteer at the school.

Read what Panchanit had to say about her experience…

I first found out about the Poonsab Preschool from INTO Giving when they came to present to us at INTO St George’s. As an international student from Thailand who has benefitted from a good education and been given a great opportunity to study abroad, I felt that helping these children would be the least I could do. So, I volunteered during my Christmas break when I went back to Thailand.

On my first day, I arrived at 7am and was greeted by a group of kids who were watching morning cartoons. They all stared at me with a confused look, which I thought was pretty funny. Then, the head teacher took me on a quick tour.

The school is quite small for the number of children; There is a kitchen, three toilets and an all-purpose area which is used for nearly everything - canteen, morning exercise, teaching, storytelling, sleeping and playing.

 

There are four teachers, including the head teacher and one volunteer, to look after and teach 96 children. Sometimes it was pretty chaotic during playtime! The head teacher explained that the students are divided into four groups according to their age. At first, introducing myself and getting involved with the students was quite challenging, as they are not familiar with strangers or volunteers since they all come from a small community and have known each other from a very young age. However, after a couple of hours they were so welcoming and cheerful.

Most of the time I had to take care of those who had difficulty learning, needed extra attention or were quite hard to control. At first they seemed to be naughty beause they rarely listened to anyone, but it turned out they were extremely nice and loveable.

One of the most precious memories I have of Poonsab is when one of the girls, Pim, shared her snack with me even though she had just a few of them left. Every time I left the school, she always asked when I would be coming back. Another child named Kun ran to greet me every morning with a big hug and smile on his face. Then there was Kwan, a little girl from nursery, who always danced with me during the morning exercises.

 

I learned a lot from my time spent volunteering at the Poonsab Preschool. For example, how to cope with any unexpected siutation, deal with a crying two year old on her first day of school and take care of ADHD children. But the most significant thing that my visit taught me was the importance of giving something back to society.

 

It was the most exciting memory of my Christmas trip back to Thailand.

 

 

Now that Panchanit has had this experience, we look forward to other INTO Students giving their time to volunteer on the projects we support.

If you are looking for a rewarding volunteering opportunity, and would like to support an INTO Giving supported project, please get in touch.