Volunteers for Sarnelli House

Sarnelli House is made up of 6 homes for children in three different hamlets in the Nongkhai province of Northeast Thailand.

  1. Our Lady of Refuge Home for Girls
  2. St Patrick’s Home for Boys
  3. Sarnelli House
  4. House of Hope
  5. Nazareth House
  6. The Jan and Oscar House

Volunteers are accepted for work at Sarnelli House only. Since the children infected with HIV/AIDS are now taking the Anti-Retro Viral (ARV) drugs, they are healthy enough to go to school.


March 15 – May 1
October 1 – October 21
Once school opens, volunteers are not needed.

If you are interested in being a volunteer during these times please send the following:

Essential Requirements:

  • Up to date Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • 2 letters of recommendation from organizations, schools, or churches.
  • Police Check

Responsibilities of Sarnelli House

  • Accommodation

Charlene House is a 6 room facility for volunteers. It has 2 beds /room and share bathroom. One room is wheelchair accessible.

Notice: Accommodation at Charlene House

As Charlene House is part of the Catholic Redemptorists Fathers of Thailand, accommodation in Charlene house caters for families and individuals and couples who are married. Couples  who are not married and have been approved for volunteering will need to find accommodation in Nongkhai (Mutmee guest house in Nongkhai is a popular option www.mutmee.com) and transport can be arranged to be picked up and dropped off in Nongkhai on a daily basis.   


  • Meals

Lunch and dinner are provided by Charlene House, and breakfast food is available. However Sunday is the cook’s day off, but the kitchen is well stocked with food.

We are unable to accommodate volunteers who have special diets such as strict vegetarians or peanut allergies, etc. Our cook does not have the time or resources to accommodate these special needs

  • Transport to and from airport


  • Lots of fun, laughter and love from the children

Charlene House is a 6 room facility for volunteers. It has 2 beds /room and share bathroom. One room is wheelchair accessible.

Responsibilities of the Volunteer:

  • Travel to and from Thailand

Organize and pay for travel to Udon Thani (closest airport to Sarnelli House. It is a 40 minute flight from Bangkok Don Meung Airport). There is an overnight train from Bangkok to Nongkhai as well

Our van will pick you up and drop you off at the airport or train station.

  • Visa

If you are staying in Thailand for less than 30 days you do not need to apply for a visa. You can leave and re-enter the country to get another 30 days over and over again over a period of 6 months. Most countries are included in this deal. Check the website if you are unsure.

If you intend to stay for longer than 30 days, you need to apply for a Tourist Visa. This allows you to stay in the country for 60 days.

You can also apply for a Visa-on-arrival which gives you 15 days in the country.

The Thai government wants all visitors to possess means of living expenses at the amount of 10,000 Baht per person.

Visit http://www.mfa.go.th The Kingdom of Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • Health/Travel Insurance

Ensure that you have adequate travel or health insurance; if you should require hospitalization it would be necessary to transfer you to Bangkok.

Nature of Work:

Playing with the children and keeping them company is one of the main roles of the volunteers at Sarnelli House. Other ways of assisting the staff include

  • Help the staff to dish out the children’s food in the dining room for evening meals
  • Help the staff fold the washed clothes – after lunch
  • Help the children with their English homework
  • Run English classes on the weekend or every day in the school holidays – there are resources- ask Kate.
  • Play and football, soccor, badminton, drums, guitar, ride the bikes with the children.
  • On weekends the children sometimes go on outings. Ask ahead if anything is planned. If they go to Tesco Lotus each adult is assigned several kids. Each child has a spending limit. Help then to choose something appropriate and within their budget
  • Sometimes the kids get a few baht to spend. They might ask you to walk to the local shop with them. Its just a few minutes from Sarnelli House.
  • Teach the teenage girls at Nazareth House or Vienkhuk how to cook eg pancakes, brownies
  • Try to give attention to as many kids as possible rather than getting to know only a handful. If you and a child get attached to each other it’s a difficult process of separation when you leave for you and the child.
  • Respect routines and the Thai staff. The staff have been with the children for a long time and know them well. Be supportive. Learn some Thai.

There are also orphans at St Patrick’s Home for Boys, The House of Hope (children under 5 years) and Our Lady of Refuge Home for Girls at Vienghuk. They don’t get as many visitors as Sarnelli Kids so they would appreciate a visit. You can cycle to these houses.

Please contact Kate Introna for further information:
Email: Kate Introna


Visitors to Sarnelli House

Visitors staying at Charlene House

Charlene House has been blessed by faithful donors, like Father Dan, Mike Mouton and Reggie Bollich of Lafayette. But the price of electricity food and fuel makes it imperative that we post a daily US$20 charge for anyone staying at Charlene House. However we don't expect students and local Thai people to pay this cost as we understand the cost of living is not so easy for these groups, and we appreciate their time and efforts to travel here.  

This money will help defray the expenses of electricity, TV (UBC/CABLE TV is 1,600 baht a month), fuel, beverages and food. The charge covers breakfast, plus two cooked Thai meals a day, and the use of laundry machines, TV, and helps with the upkeep of the gardens. We are hard put to keep our 130 children adequately fed, and Charlene House bills were being paid by SARNELLI HOUSE funds that supplies all the children’s needs. We reluctantly decided to take this path. Thank you for your understanding.

Information for Visitors Visiting Any of the Sarnelli House Projects

  • No visitors should enter the showering/bathing areas of any children on any of the sites
  • No visitors should enter the sleeping areas of any children at any of the sites
  • Sarnelli House is a No Smoking Area
  • Visiting Hours : 9.30 -11.30am and 2.30 – 4.30pm
  • Photos are to be taken with permission only
  • Visitors staying on at Charlene House need to provide their passport for a copy of the ID page and visa to be taken.
  • Emergency contact details are to be provided also



  • Dress

You should dress for a tropical climate: cotton, silk or linen clothes are most comfortable. Exposing too much of your skin will not only earn you sunburn, but is also frowned at by the locals and is not culturally appropriate. No matter how hot it is, gentlemen should wear knee length to long pants, for ladies, pants are also o.k., or you can wear a skirt or a dress that covers the knees. Sleeveless shirts or singlet tops should be avoided. Beach wear is only acceptable on the beach!

  • Drinking Water

The tap water in Thailand is not for drinking. Bottled water is supplied at Charlene House, and Sarnelli House has a water purifying system and all the water in the water dispensers is safe to drink.

  • Language

Try and familiarize yourself with some basic greetings in Thai before you arrive. It will be much appreciated by staff and children.

  • Internet Access

There is internet access in the office, but this is used by staff. There are internet cafes in Nongkhai. There is no phone land line at Sarnelli House.

  • Culture

The King and Queen of Thailand are much loved and respected by all Thais, and you see their portraits in every Thai home. No disrespect or dishonor should be given them and will not be tolerated at Sarnelli House

  • Gifts

If you are looking for something to bring over for the children here are some ideas:

  • Teaching English resources
  • Basic ABC books for toddlers learning English
  • Colouring books and pencils/crayons
  • DVDs in Thai for the kids to watch - great for the rainy season
  • You can buy toys and clothes for children in Nongkhai at a cheaper cost than at home.


Security and Child Protection Policy and Guidelines

Please downloand and read  

Sarnelli HouseSecurity & Child Protection Policy and Guidelines
download (pdf format)

In accordance with our Child Protection and Security Policy, if volunteers or visitors are behaving in such a way as contravenes this policy they will be removed from Sarnelli House and may be subject to criminal prosecution.

Direction to Sarnelli House from Nongkhai
(approximately 20 kms from Nongkhai)

From Nongkhai follow the signs to the highway to Udon Thani. This is straight 2 laned highway. After about 15 km you will pass the town of Nong Song Hong on your right on the other side of the divided highway. Follow the signs that say Thabo and make a Right U turn to Thabo. When you are facing towards Nongkhai turn Left at Nong Song Hong (road number 211) and follow the road heading towards Thabo, Sri Chiang Mai. After about 7 km you will see a small service station on the right side, and then a sign for Sarnelli House, turn right here, and follow the unpaved road for about 2 kilometers, then turn Right at another sign for Sarnelli House.


If you have any further questions, please contact us. Thank you for your interest!


October 2015 Visitors

November 23, 2015

Debbie from the UK is a regular visitor to Sarnelli House and is much loved by all the kids and the staff. She came for over two weeks, baked and swam with the children and also took them on days out. 

Stephanie, originally from the UK but now based in Singapore, visits Sarnelli House once or twice every year and she had a lovely five days here in October. Stephanie helped to take the little ones on days out and brought her usual energy to Sarnelli House.

Thor Vaassen is another regular and much loved visitor to Sarnelli House. He came for three weeks in October and, like always, gave his everything to the children here. He went swimming, played football, did arts and crafts, oversaw an Art competition with his friend Wang Chamchoy and took the kids on days out. We look forward to him coming again soon.

Wang is a well known artist from Chiang Mai and the kids love his visits. He always comes here at the same time as his friend Thor Vaassen and together they taught art techniques and ran a Christmas card competition. The children here greatly respect Wang and his resilience and talent.

Leon and Henriette are from the Netherlands and are part of Stichting Vrienden Van Sarnelli, a charity which raises funds for Sarnelli House. They are very familiar faces around here and are very popular with the children and the staff. Leon & Henriette took part in arts and crafts and swimming and also made their famous french fries for lunch one day. The children love this treat and lined up eagerly for their cornet of delicious french fries.

Rotary Forbes, Australia

Five member of Rotary Forbes in NSW, Australia came to visit for a week. Jeff, Peter, Ross, Graham worked hard at painting the classrooms at Sarnelli House and Viengkhuk and also discussed plans for solar panels and water pumps with Fr Shea and Fr Ole. They even had time to teach the Sarnelli boys some cricket! Paul set up a dental clinic and taught the children tooth brushing techniques. The kids were (mostly!) brave in the dentist’s chair, even if a few needed extractions. We thank the guys for their help and we’re sure they’ll be back again.

Tom, originally from Norway, and his wife Nid live in Pattaya and work as travel agents. They have a new business called Nialaya Jewellery and came to lend their support to Sarnelli House. Tom brought his drone plane and wowed the kids with it. They played skipping with the boys, swam and accompanied the children on days out to a waterfall and some shopping.

Guy Huelot and his daughter Mandy came all the way from Kentucky, USA to see us at Sarnelli House. Mandy had been here seven years ago and was thrilled to meet Hippo, the girl from Jan & Oscar when sponsors. The delight was mutual as little Hippo grew a few inches when she saw Mandy. Guy has been a good friend to Sarnelli and he enjoyed seeing the farm and meeting all the children.

September 2015 Vistors

November 23, 2015

Anja Morzuch comes from Germany and is living with us for a full 12 months. She is a member of the APO church in Oberhausen and the good people there have long been friends of Sarnelli House. Anja is very popular with all of the children here and having spent a month or so living at Viengkhuk, is already one of the girls over there. Anja’s Thai is already very impressive and we are delighted she’ll be staying with us for the year.

Joseph and Michelle Introna (first two on the left), from Australia, came to visit or the first time. They were travelling in Thailand and made Sarnelli House one of their stops. They had a lovely afternoon at House of Hope and treated the Jan & Oscar girls to an unexpected trip to the local Tesco Express.

August 2015 Visitors

September 22, 2015

Silke and Gielis from Belgium came for a visit and helped plant rice and visited all the houses on their trip around Asia. 

July 2015 Visitors

September 22, 2015

Three students from Ruamrudee International (RIS) School in Bangkok came for a three day visit. They came on their own in their school holidays with the intention of helping the children. They  taught very successful English classes t, joined in sporting activities and bought school supplies with donations  from their school. Many thanks Nathanial, Chat and Kat and all at RIS, come and see us all again.

Emmy Roumen from The Netherlands came for her second visit to Sarnelli House and was a great help and friend to the children. She is missed and we hope to see her again.

June 2016 visitors

July 16, 2015

Thanks to Francesca Dewar from the UK who volunteered at House of Hope for 3 weeks and was a great help and to Ashleigh from Singapore who visited as well. 

Br Edward and Br Mark are two Redemptorists seminarians from The Philippines, here in Thailand for their immersion year. Their first stop was Sarnelli House for three months to learn Thai and immerse themselves in the children's lives. They are great young men, we hope to see them again. 

May 2015 visitors

July 5, 2015

Lou Golaz from Switzerland visited and was great fun and a great help with all the kids

Rebecca Robyns visited from the Thai Childrens Trust UK  for her project Eye See Me – capturing the lives of children through their eyes.  See more at   http://www.thaichildrenstrust.org.uk/news/eye-see-me-project-encourages-creative-expression.aspx

Fr Prud C.SsR  captured Sarnelli House on the latest video he has made – see it soon on this website. Thank you for a great job.

Fr May Tee C.SsR  came back for a visit and was welcomed with open arms by all. 


April 2015

May 14, 2015

Stephanie Hartigan from Singapore visited and took the kids on excursions, helped with delousing the little girls’ hair and supervised swimming all with fun and laughter.

Khun Wang Chamchoy from Chaing Mai ran some art classes for the children in between celebrating Songkran with them and participating in all activities.  His portraits in oils of some of the staff are amazing!

Lise and Franck from Switzerland who were volunteering in Nongkhai with Pimali (www.pimali.org) spent  time with the kids playing football and also donated items such as towels, flipflops  and sports equipment  - thank you! 


March 2015

May 14, 2015

Jim Snell from the USA volunteered on his annual visit and sponsored outings to Tesco and the water park for the children – many thanks!

Thor Vaassen from Australia got into all the activities and sports in the school holidays and organized Wang our visiting artist, to set up art classes which were well attended.

Brian O’Riordan from Ireland came to teach English and sponsored numerous activities and outings also. 

Ben and Angelique Ummels longtime supporters and now neighbours provided funds from Vrienden van Sarnelli in The Netherlands for many projects including milk for the House of Hope kids, underwear and toiletries and replacement of the roof at Vienghuk. 


February 2015

March 18, 2015

Fr Pat Corbett (C.S.s.R)  from Australia visited Sarnelli House for the first time.

Tommy Kelly and Jai from Ireland made their annual visit to Sarnelli House and helped out with whatever needed to be fixed.

From the UK , Andrew Scadding ( Chief Executive, Thai Children’s Trust), Virginia Yip and Ann and Carl Gross all loyal supporters of the projects under the Thai Children’s Trust finished their site visits in Thailand at Sarnelli House .

Leon and Henriette Castermans from the Netherlands  visited for 3 weeks and repaired all the bikes at House of Hope! A much needed task. Their most recent funding from their foundation   http://www.vriendenvansarnelli.nl is the replacement of a new ceiling and roof at Our Lady of Refuge Home for Girls at Viengkhuk. 


Mike and Janet O’Connor, cousins of Fr Shea from Wisconsin USA visited again and resumed their generous friendships with the staff and children. 

January 2015

February 19, 2015

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