- Interviews and stories
- Agents of Change
Burma Link’s usual day-to-day work involves conducting interviews for voices and stories, transcribing and editing after conducting the interviews, advocacy and outreach, updating the website and reaching out through various social media platforms. Sometimes we write articles for other news media and take part in other projects that help refugees and others have their voices heard, including briefing papers as well as creating visual posters, newsletters, and leaflets. Burma Link’s focus is on Burma’s ethnic nationalities and displaced people. We are all about grassroots voices and helping small local organisations expand their reach and silenced voices be heard. We also conduct AOC (Agents of Change) trainings, and currently have a network of 29 AOCs who are local young leaders, involved by helping their community voices be heard, translating stories, and doing other volunteer activities.
This depends on the volunteer position.
- Coordinator of Public and Media Communications (minimum commitment two months)
- Fundraising Officer (minimum commitment two months)
- AOC Training Officer (minimum commitment six months)
- International Coordinator (minimum commitment six months)
- Burma Coordinator (minimum commitment six months)
- International Research Intern (minimum commitment two months)
- Local Research Intern (minimum commitment two months)
- Volunteer Coordinator
- Membership Officer
Other tasks/skills in demand:
- Web design
- Graphic design
- Translation and interpretation
- Administration and accounting
This all depends on the current situation and the position you are applying for. Some aspects we expect from every volunteer are; the possibility of committing to a minimum of two months, integrity and honesty, sharing our mission, vision and values, reliability and trustworthiness, cultural sensitivity, strong ethics, initiative and independence.
JOB REQUIREMENTS FOR ALL POSITIONS
Educational and professional:
- University degree
- Capability to communicate efficiently with others
- Excellent written and oral communication skills in English
- Knowledge of Burmese & Karen is an advantage.
- Integrity and honesty
- Reliability and trustworthiness
- Cultural sensitivity and strong ethics
- High degree of personal initiative and creativity
- Capable of working independently and within a team as well as forming strong working relationships with all staff and volunteers
- Able to work effectively in a multi-cultural environment
- Ability to prioritise and manage own time even under pressure
- Willingness and ability to travel and work outside normal working hours
- Able to identify what needs to get done, then willing and able to make it happen with great attention to detail
- Strong organisational skills and the ability to meet deadlines.
There is no fee for volunteering with BL, as we are an all-volunteer organisation, the time you can give to help us is already a big help.
BL is an all-volunteer organisation and do not yet have external funding, so we are unfortunately unable to provide financial support or accommodation for volunteers. We can, however, help our volunteers get settled and find affordable housing. Basic accommodation in northern Thailand can be anywhere between 1500 and 6000 baht per month.
Check the current visa regulations upon submitting your application.
In northern Thailand, hot season is February through May. Rainy season is June- September (although it’s still usually hot). Cold season is October through January (bring a lightweight fleece, some socks, etc. for nightfall and early morning). You also need to consider clothing you would wear in order to be respectful whilst conducting interviews etc. (covered shoulders and clothing below the knees for women). People dress very informally here even in meetings etc., so you will not need any formal clothing such as suits. Bring comfortable and respectful clothing.
In terms of money, depending on your life-style, an extra 6000 baht a month would keep a volunteer comfortable if eating mainly local food. A Thai meal out usually costs about 40 baht. A Western meal costs around 100 baht. A beer is about 60-70 baht.
More information on what to bring will be given for successful applicants.
Due to BL being an entirely voluntary run organisation, it is difficult to provide expensive materials. We require that you bring your own laptop and a set of headphones in order to listen to interviews in the workspace. The office has no air conditioning, but has a fan. We provide water, tea and coffee, and we usually buy lunch together, costing around 20 baht per person, per day.
Cultural immersion is expected. Independence and an ability to solve one’s own minor issues are essential. BL is a very small team; therefore, we cannot offer constant support, however given the fact that we are a small team, we work closely together, and support each other. Burma Link staff is always happy to answer your questions and discuss the situation in Burma, on the border etc. as well as give you advice on getting settled in Mae Sot.
Volunteers will also get a chance to network with local groups and visit areas normally out of reach, however all this depends on the current situation, and volunteers should not expect this.
Please check with your doctor about what vaccinations to get before coming here and follow their advice. According to the hospital in Mae Sot, people do not contract malaria in this area. Many people come from across the border from Burma for malaria treatment. Volunteers have come here with doxicycline (an antibiotic) that you have to take daily as an anti-malarial. They then end up donating it to the local clinic because they don’t want to keep taking it. However, this is your personal decision. If you come and decide you want to take doxicycline, it can be obtained here. In the rainy season, there may be malaria in the refugee camps. People do get dengue fever from mosquitoes- bring strong repellent and buy more here, and always sleep under a mosquito net (you can buy one here if needed).
There are hospitals in major towns in Thailand. You can go to the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) site to look at what travel vaccinations they say you should get (Hep A, B, typhoid, etc). Overall, follow your doctor’s advice. Also, the Red Cross in Bangkok has cheap vaccinations. Thailand’s hospitals are known for providing good medical care (especially in Bangkok) and people specifically come from the West for cheap dental work. In Mae Sot there is at least one dental clinic where the staff speak English. Chiang Mai also has good health facilities.
We can discuss this kind of possibility and BL is open to arranging official internships (although a high degree of personal initiative and independence is still expected). Please contact us and explain your research and how you can help Burma Link. We also provide an ongoing opportunity for an International Research Intern.
There are generally no problems with violence against foreigners. In general, foreigners feel safe here, but the people we work with have security issues. We expect strict confidentiality from everyone who is involved with BL. Upon acceptance, volunteers are given more information with regards to the security situation. Volunteers are also given a briefing on security after arriving to Thailand.