Bo De pagoda is a place of Buddhist worship. According to Buddhist custom, pagodas welcome all kinds of people in different situations and help them to find solutions to their problems. The female monks who live in the Bo De pagoda always aim to help people and act in a peaceful and respectful way toward others. Since 2008, the head monk of the pagoda decided to set up a refuge where voluntarily offers place for people who have no family or home to go to. Bo De Pagoda has approximately 50 children (mostly orphans) living in the pagoda: around 40 infants and 10 secondary pupils. There are also some women (called nannies) who also live at the pagoda and take care of the children. In 2012, volunteers' work has predominantly been in the operation of the "kindergarten". The word "kindergarten" is used very loosely as the children who attend are aged 6 months to 3 years, hence it is more of a child care facility than a kindergarten.

Volunteers' roles

Your role is essentially as an extra pair of hands, and where children are involved, the more help available the better! At our care placements it is important that you show the initiative and enthusiasm to immerse yourself into the job and spend your time productively. As well as helping with the day-to-day running of the classroom you will also have the freedom to come up with games and activities to keep the children amused and occupied. We recommend that you come prepared with ideas and materials (puzzles, coloring books, basic language books, children's books, sports equipment, toys, etc). You could even teach some basic English and maths, if you feel this would be useful to the children. Art, music, drama and sport are always popular!

It's important that volunteers at Bode Pagoda are willing to be open and put in the effort to get to know the children and nannies. Spend your lunch break socializing and you'll have a much more rewarding experience. The volunteers play with the children, coordinate morning tea, prepare craft and music activities and provide physical care of the children as necessary (changing and washing). This role also involves modeling correct behaviour for the children and nannies regarding non physical discipline, healthy eating, mouth and hand hygiene and fair play. There are children who attend the kindergarten who have disabilities (down syndrome, deaf, mute, limb deformities). These children require particular attention from the volunteers to engage them in activities and provide them with adequate stimulation. Because of the age group of the children at the pagoda currently (in 2015), this role may change over time. For instance, as these children grow older, they will be able to study English in formal lessons. The role of the volunteer is challenging because of the diverse needs of the children depending on age and development.

Working day : Monday - Friday
Working hour: Volunteers arrive at 8.30 - 9.00 am. Lunch break is from 11.00-14.00. Working day ends at 16.00. Volunteers can bring packed lunch from home or explore nearby eateries as well.
The kids study literacy, maths, drawing, colouring... in class hours. Beyond class hours, you can organize games outdoor or inside the classroom. Children easily lose concentration so we appreciate any idea of activities and games to keep the children amused and occupied. Here are some possible activities suggested by previous volunteers:
1. Education:

+ Assist teachers in instructing children on writing (holding their hands to write letters) and Maths (addition and subtraction)
+ Teach children to draw simple things like houses, trees, etc.
+ Games with numbers (like Bingo)
+ Lessons on emotional skills
2. Self-care lessons.
Need volunteers to give one-on-one instructions.
+ Brush teeth
+ Wash hair
+ Wash hands and feet