2 students from Ferndown Upper School won scholarships to support their trip to Thailand.
Zak and Shannon spent 2 weeks at the Wildlife Friends Foundation of Thailand and helped animals who previously worked for the trekking and domestic industries and were rescued and moved into the sanctuary.
From feeding and washing elephants to visiting local temples and markets to experience the different cultures. See the pictures from their trip and read about their experience below.
We just wanted to thank you for the amazing opportunity you gave us in
Thailand at the end of July.
Throughout our 2 weeks at the Wildlife friends foundation of Thailand, we experienced so much! Being a part of the sanctuary and being able to help animals that had such a poor quality of life before their move from the trekking and domestic industry to the sanctuary was both emotional but also great, in the sense we were able to be involved in the animals having a better life.
We met so many people from around the world, all the way from America to Australia, through bar nights and social events we took part in. We also got involved in the culture around us, such as visiting local temples and markets and speaking to the local Thai villagers. It opened our eyes to all the opportunities that are out there to get involved in and we would love to encourage people to do something similar.
With the time that we spent there our first week was spent doing elephant care. A typical day included; -6:30am - make banana balls and feed elephants, clean up compost -7:30 - 9:00am - volunteer breakfast and rest period -9:00 - begin to prepare food for elephants for the rest of the day, also shower the elephants -12:00-13:00 - volunteer lunch -13:00 - activities with elephants (go for a walk, mud bath) -15:00 - banana ball feeding and place enrichment activities for elephants -6:00 - volunteer dinner
On our second week we moved to the wildlife and rescue part of the centre. This was hands off so very different to our time spent with the elephants, but however, no less rewarding. It included cutting ALOT of fruit and watering and cleaning all the enclosures followed by scrubbing bear pools and sweeping the tracks.
Thailand was one of the most rewarding and life changing times we've both experienced, working with the elephants allowed for us to see first hand how our collective hard work helps to make the animals live such a better life! One of the best parts was that although we were only there for 2 weeks, we managed to discover each elephants individual personality and bond with them on a daily basis. While the work we did everyday was exhausting and very hot it was truly amazing. Being thrown into an unfamiliar situation half way around the world was very intimidating but made us realise that we could fit in and grow as individuals, which are skills we will need growing up and preparing to leave for university. Our trip was a very two way thing which meant we gained so much from it ourselves as well as knowing our time spent their was appreciated greatly and had a direct positive impact on the animals wellbeing.
We would be delighted to share our experience with you and others if you have any opportunities for us to do so.
And again, thank you so much for your time and donation, we wouldn't have been able to do it without John Thorntons Young achievers award! We've attached a few of our photos of some of the activities took part in during our time there.
Zak and Shannon