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code conductHow you act, at Mirror, in the villages, at school, and in town during your days off... affects our work directly. Please act accordingly, and think first, while you are a part of our programme.

Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes, creeds, colours and both genders. Each one has their own moral and ethical code, beliefs and lifestyle. Mirror has many volunteers passing through its doors, and we must run a tight, albeit relaxed and happy, ship - to make sure that OUR moral and ethical code, beliefs and lifestyle are maintained. After all, you are visiting us to learn as well as help. Thos that cannot do this are not helping, and are quite possibly causing more problems than their stay merits.

Click on the link below for full details

The following information is a way of harmonising and integrating everyone during their stay at Mirror. It means putting your own needs second to ours for a short time.

How to act

  • Abide by our rules
  • Think of others first
  • Dress appropriately
  • Understand you are here to work, before play
  • Leave your culture at home - immerse yourself in Thai and hilltribe cultures
  • Be flexible

Above all else

  • Bring enthusiasm
  • Bring understanding
  • Bring the right attitude
  • Bring an open mind
  • Bring an open heart

We run many projects at the foundation, working with people affected by a variety of issues - sex abuse, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, labour exploitation, lack of citizenship, to name a few. The volunteer project is only one element of the work we do here, but is considered a very important part. So, please remember that while on your placement, you represent our foundation and are seen as role models by the communities you interact with. Inappropriate behaviour will damage the important work done, and will mean you are having a negative, not positive effect during your stay. To help us maintain our reputation and standards, we have a code of conduct which is important for you to understand and adhere to:

Dress code

Mainly for the girls, the dress code is designed to cause minimal offence to locals, as we live in a much more traditional and conservative society in Thailand.

  • Shorts length must be below the knee
  • Skirts must be at least calf length, preferably ankle length
  • No leggings during the working day (only at the foundation site, and must have shorts or skirt over the top, for modesty)
  • Shoulders covered
  • No cleavage shown
  • A bra must be worn at all times
  • Tops should cover the belly
  • Boys - shirts must be worn at all times

The dress code is more relaxed at the foundation, but we are strict when volunteers go to teach, are on homestay, or in public when representing us. If we feel you are inappropriately dressed, we will ask you to change clothing, or withdraw you from the activity. If you have doubts or questions regarding the dress code, please ask.

Drugs

ANY use of illegal drugs during your stay will result in immediate dismissal from the programme, and involvement of the police and your country's embassy. Some local establishments are barred to volunteers due to drug consumption - any volunteer found to have visited any of these establishments will be removed from the programme immediately, whether drugs were used personally or not.

Applicants with unspent drug convictions are barred from joining our programmes. Applicants with spent convictions or cautions on their criminal record must notify us during the application process - failure to do so will result in removal from the programme.

Alcohol/Smoking

One of our main rules is that NO drinking is allowed during the working week, either at the foundation, on homestay, or in town. This extends from Monday to Saturday afternoon. Moderate drinking onsite is allowed on Saturday and Sunday evenings, but at no other time. This has been put in place to ensure that volunteers are able to work effectively when required, are not drunk or hungover in front of children, teachers or parents, and do not act inappropriately in public. We also ask you not to smoke in front of children

Volunteer accommodation

A number of people share rooms in the dormitory-style accommodation at Mirror. Therefore:

  • Please respect the space and belongings of those in your building.
  • Boys and girls sleep in separate dorms, whatever the relationship is.
  • Because of the dominance of Buddhism within the community, a significant number of Muslim volunteers, and simple respect, we ask that on your way to, and return from, showering that you please fully cover yourself.
  • Please clean up after yourself. This includes the cup you used in the office as well as the three under your bed
  • Each morning, please fold your mattress into three, and tidy your personal belongings.
  • Please be in your dorm and ready for bed by 10pm - you're living in a community which goes to bed early and rises early, so we appreciate your cooperation.
  • Lights go out at midnight, so please be quiet after that time. Also keep the noise down if you wake up early.
  • Thai people (and probably your roommates too) will be offended if you do not shower at least once a day. The climate is hot, even during the cold season days, and you will sweat a lot. Luckily there is nothing more refreshing than a bucket shower when you're overheated!
  • Girls, when you have your period, please dispose of the towel in a closed plastic bag and throw it in the garbage. DO NOT flush it down the toilet as you will block the system.
  • The head is considered holy in Thai culture. It is very disrespectful to touch a Thai's head. The feet are also considered unclean, so do not use them to point at someone - this applies when sitting down as well.
  • For the same reason, do not hang trousers, underwear or socks at the head of your bed.
  • After washing please wring out your clothes well before hanging them to dry.
  • When you finish your time here, please clean up your room before leaving. If you wish to leave any items for future volunteers, please leave them in the contributions box.

Teaching at school

You are representing Mirror when you teach. Please behave accordingly:

  • Greet the teacher with respect, a smile and the traditional wai, as well as the Sawat Dee Khrap/Kaa mentioned earlier.
  • Do not throw anything at children to catch, but pass them politely. Books are revered in Thailand, so treating them roughly will cause offence.
  • DO NOT smoke on school grounds, or in the presence of children.
  • Please dress smartly, and appropriately, when teaching as this conveys the benefits of learning to the children. This is especially important when going to the temple or hospital.

Sexual relations

We do not encourage relations with others, unless it is serious. This is especially important if the other person is Thai - a Thai will put far more meaning to sex and relationships than most western societies. Apart from the possibility of breaking a heart, it can cause upheaval in the family home, rejection of the person in question by their parents, and possibly retribution by a resentful relative. This is a very complicated subject, which takes a long time to learn. This applies to female volunteers as well as the male.

  • DO NOT invite a girl on her own to go out with you, or drink.
  • DO NOT touch a member of the opposite sex, as this causes great offence, and WILL be complained about.
  • Added to that, there is the fact that HIV+/AIDS is a serious problem in Thailand, and especially the northern region. Something like 13% of sex workers are infected. Play it safe.
  • Boys and girls sleep in separate dorms, whatever the relationship is.
  • Any relations with a hilltribe member is strictly forbidden, and will result in instant dismissal from the programme.
  • Any relations with a staff member is strictly forbidden.

Summary

Failure to abide by our rules, or follow our Code of Conduct, could result in the programme being terminated without notice. Ignorance of these rules is not an excuse. The responsibility to read the information, and act accordingly, is entirely down to the volunteer.

Basically, understand the culture you are joining. If you are in doubt, ask a question - there is always someone who will be able to help.

Mirror is a working NGO, with many vital projects working to help hilltribe people secure a better future. It is not a holiday camp, we are not hotel staff - if you are looking for a tourist experience, there are plenty of travel agencies out there.

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