South Gyle charity worker will stay in Thailand during lockdown

Mark JeffriesMark Jeffries
Mark Jeffries
Mark Jeffries has been abroad since 2016.

Charity worker Mark Jefferies, 26, from South Gyle, started travelling in November 2016 by visiting Australia and South East Asia and is planning to stay abroad as the UK is in lockdown.

He is currently in Thailand caring for stray dogs.

Mark said: “I wanted to help stray dogs in Thailand. So I applied for the Lanta Animal Welfare (LAW) volunteer program on Koh Lanta island. LAW is a non profit organisation which relies solely on donations.

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“The virus has hit this place very hard and they’ve had to close to all tourists. So volunteer numbers have dropped drastically and so have donations. Luckily living conditions are great due to the virus. The island is quiet so we’ve been given lovely bungalows on the beach to live in.

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“I’m not worried here, it feels safer on a small island than it is back in big cities in the UK. The volunteer program has been brilliant, they have put me up in accommodation and give me two meals a day for three months and it only costs £500, which is nothing really.”

He added: “We’ve had to be split into teams here and we cannot socialise with any other teams and we have to abide by very strict measures to protect everyone including the animals.

“Spirits are high as every day I’m spending time with beautiful dogs who just dote and depend on affection and most of the cats and dogs usually get adopted to European or western countries and so many animals need adopted today.

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“Although it is not all cuddles and playing, there’s a lot of cleaning involved to protect animals from infections that other animals may carry.

“I’m here for three months and I plan on sticking to it.”

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