Deloitte Belgium supports Fund Isaan, a charity established by Deloitte partner Rony Wuytjens to raise the level of education in one of Thailand’s poorest regions. Its goal is to improve the livelihoods of students in Isaan, and by extension their families and communities as well.
Fund Isaan addresses the importance of education through scholarships, volunteers, and computer classrooms installed at rural schools. Every year since 2007, six lucky Deloitte volunteers have helped Fund Isaan fulfil its mission by travelling to Thailand to teach English to children and teachers. Read more about the experiences of two Deloitte professionals who made an impact in Isaan this year!
Working as a foreign teacher in a school with basically no infrastructure was a real eye-opener for me. Many of the experiences are very transferable to my personal life and my work at Deloitte.
Learning to adapt
Davy De Cock: Learning to assimilate with the culture and understand why they do certain things or apply certain methods makes it a lot easier to deliver the high quality results people expect. Identifying this goal at the start of your project increases your chances of succeeding in the end.
Elisa Engel: Spending six weeks in the Isaan region showed me the importance of living within a community and making the well-being of their people a priority.
My motivation to volunteer is investing in our future. This definitely applies to the poorest regions in the world, where I believe education is one of the keys to fighting poverty.
Connecting with others
Elisa Engel: My goal was to motivate the children and use my creativity to teach English in an enjoyable and memorable way. I also helped the teachers improve their English and teaching methods.
Davy De Cock: Connecting on a personal and cultural level to gain trust is important before starting to make an impact. It’s necessary to do this step by step without trying to change everything at once.
Making an impact
Davy De Cock: In rural Thailand, people tend to use a lot of plastic, and they also still burn their garbage. Although they could understand when I explained the concept of responsible recycling, they only switched their behaviour after I bought a lunchbox for the children in my host family and set the example. There is impact in the small things we do every day. Set your own expectations and live up to them.
Elisa Engel: I’ve always been a big believer in the fact that if we want to improve our future, one of the best means is to invest time in children, whether in a prosperous or a developing country. I am happy to still be in contact with many of the students, teachers, and my host family even though my onsite teaching assignment is finished. My most important message to them was to never stop trying, to not be afraid to make mistakes, and to always believe in themselves.