Sem Pringpuangkeo Foundation

Volunteer Report by Michelle Oomkens

Many thousands of HIV infected people and AIDS patients are dying, making a significant impact on Thai families and society. Almost half of the infected people coming from the six upper Northern provinces of the country: Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Lampang and Mae Hong Son.

Sem Pringpuangkeo Foundation is a non-profit organization that facilitates the provision of scholarships as well as supportive activities for the underprivileged orphans affected by HIV/AIDS in the northern provinces of ThailandSem Pringpuangkeo Foundation is a non-profit organization that facilitates the provision of scholarships as well as supportive activities for the underprivileged orphans affected by HIV/AIDS. It is located in the Northern part of Thailand. The Foundation was founded in 1995 by Dr. Sem Pringpuangkeo and he also launched the Foster Parents Program. With the assistance of outside contributions, they could create a better quality life for these children and give them educational opportunities to enable them to be more productive members of Thai society in the future.

Apart from the continued support for children’s proper education, a partnership program with Deutsche Bank also provides various supportive activities namely Vocational training, Agricultural training and Arts & Music activities to enable children to learn and to practice which will support their lives socially and economically.

The aim of the Foundation is principally to break the cycle of children from homelessness, drug addiction, crime and prostitution, to reduce the economic and social gap as well as to provide active visits to the children by the Foundation’s staff to mentor the children’s lives: Psycho-Social Support.


After my pre-university school in Holland, I wanted to travel around in Thailand for four months. I was thinking about volunteering for one month in Thailand, so I sent some E-mails to different organizations. There were a lot of organizations that responded and I had the choice! They all seemed nice, but I chose for the Sem Pringpuangkeo Foundation in Chiang Mai, because when I was reading the E-mails and the website, it seemed it fits the most with the study I like to do next semester in Holland. On Sunday 29 January 2012 I arrived in Chiang Mai and the next day Khun Santi (the project coordinator) picked me up to go to the office in Chiang Mai to meet the staff and getting some information about the Foundation and about my duties. It was not what I expected, but I thought it would be nice! So I was excited to start with volunteering at Sem Pringpuangkeo Foundation. One of my duties was to go along with the staff of the Foundation to visit the children (Psycho-Social Support) and see how they are doing at the moment, so to collect information about them.

Though, my duties at the Foundation were not really what I expected, but it was a very good experience and I’m glad that I had the opportunity to volunteer with Sem Pringpuangkeo Foundation. It is a good experience to see how the underprivileged orphans behave at school and to see their homes by yourself. I’ve heard about this way of living and sometimes you’ll see a program at the television, but I had never seen it by myself.  They are just normal kids, they look good and healthy. I’m pleased to see that! It is also good to hear that they are glad with the support of the Foundation to have the opportunity to go to school.

It is funny to see how shy the children were, when we visited them at school. And also that I’m a stranger for them, because I’m ‘white’, that isn’t obvious for them. Sometimes I felt like an attraction, because the children keep staring at me. For me, that was really funny! Maybe that is why they were shy to me. But when I tried to talk with them, they became less shy and tried to give answers and ask me some questions. It was a little bit difficult to have a real conversation, because I don’t speak Thai, but Khun Santi was able to translate it, to make the conversation easier.                

The children, teachers and families were very nice! Every time we left, they gave us a present like coconut, vegetables and handmade presents of the children, so sweet!

I think the aim of Sem Pringpuangkeo Foundation is very impressive! It is a good organization and it would be so nice when they become better known, so they could support more children! I’m very impressed about the Foundation’s support activities, because it is a good opportunity for the children to gain self-confidence for participating in daily economic activity, so they become more involved in social activities. They also learn how to gain income from what they already have in the community.

I hope the Foundation will become better known and have more donors in the future and maybe Facebook and Twitter are a good start. I also hope that the new website will become a great success!

I would like to thank the staff of the Foundation for providing me this great opportunity to volunteer with them! Good luck in the future!




Pyscho-Social Support

Foster Parents Program

Environmental Program

Art and Music