The Code of Conduct has been written to keep the communities we work with safe, and our foundation running smoothly.
There's a lot to read in other parts of the website, but if you understand and abide by the following points, we shouldn't have too many problems. Mirror is a long established, and well known, Thai Non-Governmental Organisation, which works very hard to help ethnic minorities in Thailand. It is most definitely not a holiday destination - volunteers are here to work.
Remember, you have applied to volunteer with our organisation - we haven't forced you to come here. As such, we expect you to abide by our code of conduct. It applies to all volunteers and you will have agreed to these as part of the terms and conditions before you arrive - it is your responsibility to read the code below, and all other information before you begin your programme.
How 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. Those that cannot do this are not helping, and are quite possibly causing more problems than their stay merits.
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.
Code of Conduct
How to act
- Abide by our Code of Conduct
- Think of others first
- Dress appropriately
- Understand you are here to work first and foremost
- 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
Our dress code must be adhered to, from the moment we pick you up to when we drop you off at the end of your stay. It is important that you are dressed suitably, so that you do not offend the hilltribe cultures or local authorities.
- long trousers/pants below the knee
- no skirts
- no leggings or yoga pants
- cover your shoulders - no strap tops
- no cleavage shown
- wear a bra at all times
- tops must cover your belly
- Boys: tops to be worn at all times, even on Outdoor work
Not only at Mirror, but during your entire time in Southeast Asia - it is not only offensive to most Thais to dress inappropriately, and you will be commented on, but it can also be potentially dangerous.
We are especially 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. Repeat offenders will be told to leave the programme.
If you have doubts or questions regarding the dress code, please ask.
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 drug convictions are barred from joining our programmes. Applicants with cautions on their criminal record must notify us during the application process - failure to do so will result in removal from the programme.}
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 on school grounds, or in front of children generally.
There are designated smoking areas at the foundation. Please ask staff if you are not sure where they are.
Volunteers share rooms in the dormitory-style accommodation at Mirror. These dorms are gender-separated, are equipped with basic bedding, mosquito nets and/or screens. Most of the dorms have shared bathrooms - manual flush toilets, cold water bucket showers.
- Please respect the space and belongings of those in your building.
- Boys and girls sleep in separate dorms, whatever the relationship is.
- Entering the dorm of the opposite gender is strictly not allowed.
- Because of the dominance of Buddhism within the community, a significant number of Muslim intern students, 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 dormitory, bathrooms, and volunteer office, as well as anywhere else you go onsite.
- Please be in your dorm and ready for bed by 22.00 - you're living in a community which goes to bed early and rises early, so we appreciate your cooperation.
- Please be quiet after 22.00. 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.
- 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.
- In Buddhist culture, the head is considered holy, and the feet very dirty. So, do not hang trousers, underwear or socks at the head of your bed, or in the path where people must pass underneath.
- Report any incidents, accidents or repairs to the staff at morning meeting
- Store any food in air tight zip lock bags or containers
- 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.
- 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.
We do not encourage relations with others during your programme - any negative consequences could affect your stay, create problems with other volunteers, or is against our rules.
- 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 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 or Thai intern students is strictly forbidden.
You may have heard of 'Thai time', but we don't generally have the luxury of being late. Our vehicles are limited and used by different projects through the day, so they must be where they need to be on time. Our drivers likely have other duties and responsibilities, and more importantly do not wish to put themselves, their passangers, or the general public in danger by driving fast because they have been forced to wait for a tardy volunteer.
- Working week is 08.30-16.00 (Tuesday-Friday), and 8.30-13.00 on Saturday.
- New volunteers are picked up on a Monday (see Week 1 for more details)
- The main gate is shut at 22.00, and everyone is expected to be in their dorms by this time - our rural community goes to bed early, and rises early.
- Please do not take days off, apart from Sundays or Mondays, while you are with us. Our programmes of work and agreements with schools are based on the number of volunteers signed up for that period.
- If you wish to have time to travel, then do it before you arrive or after you leave - anyone that leaves during their programme without prior agreement will not be accepted back. For this reason, it is very important to factor time to travel into your arrangements.
- Don't be late for morning meeting.
If you cannot agree to follow our rules, act in a way detrimental to our work, or disrupt group harmony, then we will tell you to leave. The priority of the organisation, and your priority as well, is the wellbeing of the tribal people we are working with, and we can achieve this much better with your help and cooperation. The responsibility to read the information, and act accordingly, is entirely down to you.
Basically, do some research to understand the culture you are joining. If you are in doubt, ask a question - there is usually 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.
- Category: Pre-arrival
⊕ Extra information
- Cancellation policy
- Personal requirements
- What to bring
- What to expect
- What not to expect
- Length of programme
- Common tasks
- Certificates of volunteering
- Insurance policy - How to send it
- Police check - criteria
- Police check - where to apply from
- Police check - Acceptable checks (by country)
- Police check - Contact us for a decision
- Police check - How to send it
- Final thoughts... Remember!