Background of the Royal Initiative Volunteers
His Majesty the King instructed the King’s Private Offices 904 to set up the Royal Initiative Volunteers in tribute to the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX, and Her Majesty Queen Sirikit for their contributions to the Thai nation. It encourages unity and happiness among the people, and stability for the country as a whole. The programme is under the supervision of the King’s Private Offices 904, and works in conjunction with various other government and private sector offices. An Royal Initiative Volunteers Project operations centre was also set up to control, direct and coordinate activities to ensure that they are conducted properly and in line with royal initiatives.
Initially, His Majesty the King desired that the volunteer work be carried out in communities around Dusit Palace, as a public service activity in tribute to the late King Rama IX. The 1st King’s Own Bodyguard Regiment, together with courtiers of the royal household and volunteers from the general public under the project “Good Deeds from the Heart” helped to clean up and improve the small communities around Dusit Palace, gradually expanding the area of coverage to other parts of the country in a steady and sustainable way.
The term “volunteer” means a heart that is ready to deliver goodwill towards fellow human beings with willingness, contentment and joy, ready to sacrifice time, physical and mental effort to do public service activities that benefit others without expecting anything in return. A heart that is happy to help others, that does not stand by idle when it sees others in trouble. A heart that is happy to do good and see tears turn to smiles. A heart that is full of “merit” or peace and the power of goodness, while reducing “ego”.
Definition of “Good Deeds from the Heart” Volunteer
The public from all walks of life, both in Thailand and overseas, who are willing to dedicate their time, physical and mental efforts, to do public service activities without expecting anything in return
Royal Initiative Volunteers can be divided into three categories:
1.Development Volunteers – Royal Initiative Volunteers whose objective is to develop local communities to improve the quality of life through activities that include public service, natural and environmental preservation, safety in daily life and career, public health etc. Responsibilities can be divided into eight groups:
Strong and Happy Community Volunteers: for public service activities such as dredging canals, cleaning places of worship or public areas, collecting water hyacinth, planting trees and other activities to improve the happiness and wellbeing of communities.
Art and Livelihood Volunteers: promote and transfer knowledge in arts and crafts, folk wisdom that can further benefit others.
Performance and Exhibition Volunteers: support the organisation of performance or exhibition activities to honour the king, promote his projects or volunteering activities such as concerts at Dusit Palace Plaza, Un Ai Rak Winter Fair, Songkran Fair.
Medical and Public Health Volunteers: support the work of medical practitioners, provide first aid, and disseminate health awareness.
Registration and Information Volunteers: provide advice and support for the public to register as volunteers.
Support Team Volunteers: support and facilitate activities and logistics, prepare food and drinks for the public and volunteers carrying out public service activities.
Public Relations Volunteers: support public relations activities, disseminate information on volunteer activities, and welcome the public who participate in the activities.
Security and Traffic Volunteers: support and facilitate the flow of traffic for the public, give routing advice, and report traffic accidents to relevant authorities.
2. Disaster Volunteers – Royal Initiative Volunteers whose objective is to monitor, check, warn and make plans in the case of natural disasters or other disasters that affect the public, as well as provide relief for disaster victims in the case of floods,storms or fires.
3. Ad Hoc Volunteers – Royal Initiative Volunteers whose objectives are to help in royal ceremonies or royal arrivals, working in conjunction with relevant government units to facilitate public participation, prepare venues as well as restore the venues after the royal ceremonies to their original states.