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301st Meeting - Tuesday, May 13th 2008 

Opportunities for Expat Volunteers in Chiang Mai

A talk and presentation by Khun Duenpen Chaladlam (Khun Boong) 

Founder and president of Chiang Mai Friends Group

I have been a travel agent for more than 10 years, and during that time I have met many foreigner visitors who like Thailand so much that they come back to live here. I have listened to and learned from foreigners who live here about things they would like to do for Chiang Mai.

Given the level of interest that many expats have in wanting to make a contribution to the community, I invited them to help me to teach the children and talk to local people of Ban Papai Village, Doi Saket, where I first started the Green Chiang Mai Project, Sunday Afternoon Class and One Visitor, One Tree Project. Participation in these projects has benefited both the local people and the expat volunteers. The villagers have gained a better understanding of foreigners and the world, and a wider vision and better understanding about long-term management for tourism and society, and the expats who have visited this local village have learned more about Thai culture, ways of thinking and languages. We have created a lot of friendship among them.

To start the Chiang Mai Friends Group, I invite both foreign and Thai friends to help me with Green Chiang Mai and set up retirement services for our business and friendship. There were 7 people at the first meeting and since then it has become more popular. I proposed the Green Chiang Mai and teaching to Dr Deuntemduang Na Chiengmai, the Mayor of Chiang Mai, and she said that she was willing to help us to promote the group, and to receive foreign volunteers who wanted to help our city, especially in education and environment.

Because local government organizations cannot hire or receive foreigner volunteers without official permission from Central government and foreigners cannot volunteer directly to them, Chiang Mai Friends Group acts as a bridge between foreigners and local organizations. All volunteers apply through the Chiang Mai Friends Group to work on a case by case basis and local government organizations approve our volunteers by giving special permission for each activity.

About Chiang Mai Friends Group

Who are we?

A group of both Expats and Thais who share a genuine love for Chiang Mai City. Our purpose is to act as a bridge between Thai and Expats to promote projects with cooperation between Chiang Mai Friends Group and other organizations or groups.

Mission Statement: GREEN = Green - Resource - Ethnic - Education - Net-working

Our Objectives

Chiang Mai Friends Group's objectives are to advance cooperation and professionalism as a means of promoting business, education and the environment by:

  • the encouragement of business and friendship in all its branches in the broadest and most liberal manner
  • the promotion of research in net-working and the improvement of research methods and conditions
  • the improvement of the qualifications and usefulness of net-working through high standards of ethics, conduct, education, and achievement
  • the establishment and maintenance of the highest standards of professional ethics and conduct of the members of the Club.
  • the increase and diffusion of business and friendship through community services, meetings, professional contacts, reports, papers, discussions, and publications Thereby to advance business and friendship interests and inquiry, and the application of research findings to the promotion of business, education and environment.

      44/3 Sridonchai Rd. T. Hai Ya, A. Muang Chiang Mai 50100 Thailand
      Tel & Fax: +66 (0) 53 206121 Mobile: + 6689 433 4926
       www.retireinchiangmai.com  Email: info@retireinchiangmai.com


1. Green Chiang Mai Projects
We at Chiang Mai Friends Group would like to invite every one of you to join our Green Chiang Mai project. This concept has been developed to ensure that Chiang Mai stays green by planting young trees which will be cared for and nurtured by the local villagers. It is a chance to visit surrounding villages and interact with local people from all walks of life.

It has proven to be a popular way to meet new friends and have lots of fun. If you decide it is something you would like to get involved in, not only will you receive your own tree to plant, but you will also be ensuring that you are doing your bit to protect the environment.

The trees have kindly been donated by local villagers as they realize how important it is to help the environment. In addition, local businesses are also supporting the project along with many foreign people living in the area.
Many local hotels are helping to promote the project and many restaurants throughout the city are using locally-grown organic vegetables from the Royal Project. These 'green restaurants' only use organic vegetables which not only taste better but also support the many local people who sell them.


  1. Plant a minimum of 2,000 young trees every year.
  2. Promote the "Green Environment" concept among public and private organizations especially the tourism industry.
  3. Promote through training environmental concerns in rural and urban areas.
  4. To enhance the cooperation and understanding between expatriates and the local community by encouraging people to join the "One Visitor, One Tree" Program.

Green Environment
A Green Environment is one in which people do not cause pollution, but instead do things that:

  • Improve the air quality.
  • Improve the water quality.
  • Use natural resources in a way that minimizes waste and garbage.
  • Make the environment more natural.

Examples of a Green Environment include:

  • Elimination of forest burning, yard waste burning, and garbage burning.
  • Planting trees that convert carbon dioxide to oxygen and clean the air.
  • Keeping sewage and toxic materials out of streams and rivers.
  • Disposing of toxic chemicals properly.
  • Using recyclable or reusable bags when shopping.
  • Using organic growing methods and not using chemicals.
  • Restaurants using organic vegetables.
  • Growing fruit trees on home property and getting back to self-sufficient practices.
  • Finding an alternative engine for Tuk Tuk that does not burn oil.
  • Using natural products rather than synthetic ones.
  • Using natural techniques to control insects rather than chemicals.

Tactics that will be used to achieve Green Chiang Mai:

  • Have villagers, Thai Chiang Mai residents, and foreign volunteers cooperate on creating a Green Environment.
  • Teach rural villages what the advantages of a Green Environment are, and what things can be done to achieve it.
  • Start with four villages as a role model for achieving a Green Environment.
  • Planting trees donated by the Kingdom of Thailand.
  • Expand education on Green Environment to cover all of Northern Thailand when first four villages are successful.
  • Involve Timber Department, TAT, Municipalities, Land Development Department, and Royal Project Foundation in achieving the objectives of the Green Environment.
  • Create certificates and award them to companies and organizations that are role models in promoting a Green Environment.

Sunday Afternoon Class. A pilot project for a Cross-Culture Education
Project. It is held at Ban Papai Village, Doi Saket.

2. Feel@Home in Chiang Mai.
This project has been developed to introduce expats and Thais to each other so that friendships can be made. It will encourage cultural exchange and friendship so that everyone lives happily together in Chiang Mai.

3. Cross-Culture Education Project.
This is for expats who are interested in becoming a volunteer teacher. There are 11 municipality schools which are working together with our program to ensure the welfare of their students is maintained and that their English language skills can improve. Right now we are having Sunday Afternoon Class at Baan Papai, a Self Sufficiency Economy Village.

4. Summer English Camp.
This project is designed to motivate students from Chiang Mai Municipality Schools as well as students from Ban Papai. Many of these children already benefit from volunteer teaching on Sundays, but it will give them even more chance to improve their communication and English language skills.

Resume: Boong Duenpen Chaladlam

I was born in the village of Thoeng City, Chiang Rai Province in the family of 6 children, 1 boy and 5 girls. My parents are farmers and very wisely they always motivated their children to study hard both regular subjects and philosophy for life. We are the Self Sufficiency and democracy Family.


  • Primary School at the village school
  • Secondary at the community school
  • High School at the District school, Thoeng Wittayakom I was the president for students for all those 3 schools.
  • Bachelor's degrees in Education, major of English, Chiang Mai University I was the leader of the volunteer students to teach in Ban Dek Chai Chiang Mai, the orphanage home for boys in Mae Rim.

Psychology and Philosophy for communication without anger since 2002 till present


  • Sales Executive for Asian Journal Company Limited, 1998-2000.
  • Owner of Boutique Travel Service since 2000
  • President : Chiang Mai Friends Group
  • Member : Chiang Mai Expats Club
    • : Soroptimist International Club of Chiang Mai
      : Charity Rooftop Party
  • Certificate:
    • Youth Invitation Friendship Program to Japan by National Youth Bureau and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) 2002.
    • Group Study Exchange (GSE), Rotary International 2001.
      The in-field Facilitator for the Southeast Asia International Internship
      Program sponsored through Brigham Young University, Utah, USA 2002-2007

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