Volunteer in Vietnam with Friends for Asia
Volunteer with: CHILDREN - STUDENTS - PEOPLE IN NEED -

About Us – Friends for Asia

Friends for Asia Founded in 2007

Friends for Asia began operations in 2007, founded by Todd Cikraji, an experienced teacher and Peace Corps Volunteer (Kyrgyzstan and Thailand). Friends for Asia develops international volunteer projects that assist local communities overcome challenges, and provides volunteers with the experience of contributing to those communities as a valued participant. As of 2014 over 1,000 volunteers and interns have participated in projects in Bali, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam.

Friends for Asia Mission Statement

The mission of Friends for Asia is twofold. First, we offer an opportunity for people to meaningfully contribute to the improvement of standards of living by building capacity in our host countries. Secondly, we provide committed volunteers to work on projects that benefit the local communities.

Independent Organization

We have always been an independent organization with no connection to (or support from) any government or religious organization. We also do not operate as a charity, but rather as a professional self-sustaining organization. As such, we require a project fee from our volunteers and interns to help cover the costs involved with providing proper support and arranging quality international volunteer projects and internships. We work hard to keep our fees as low as possible and have some of the lowest volunteer and internship project fees offered throughout Asia.

Bali, Nepal, Thailand and Vietnam Locations

Friends for Asia operates projects in five locations:

Friends for Asia Volunteer Coordinators and Staff

It is important to us that our coordinating staff is made up of highly qualified, well-educated individuals devoted to our volunteer’s needs and the development of our projects. You’ll see our staff regularly, if not every day. We give our volunteers and interns freedom and the opportunity to have an authentic volunteer and internship experience, but we are also here to support them in all areas.

Thailand Volunteer and Internship Staff

Todd Cikraji, Founder and International Director; and Leslie Temanson, Volunteer Coordinator and Consultant

Todd Cikraji is the founder and international director of Friends for Asia. He corresponds with all our volunteers and interns throughout the application and booking process. He also keeps in touch with volunteers and interns during their projects in Chiang Mai.

Todd is originally from Cleveland, Ohio and has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Dayton. Before founding Friends for Asia, he was a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Kyrgyzstan and Thailand. Todd also worked at several large schools here in Thailand teaching English as a second language and overseeing the work of other foreign teachers. Todd believes strongly in international volunteerism and has been overwhelmingly impressed with the contribution and work of the volunteers and interns at Friends for Asia.

Leslie Temanson is Volunteer Coordinator and Consultant. He was born in Minnesota, but lived in California before moving to Thailand. Previous to working at Friends for Asia, he was a volunteer with Friends for Asia. I volunteered in the Elephant Camp and International University for Monks Volunteer Projects.

Leslie was a US Peace Corps Volunteer in Mali, West Africa for five years. Upon completing my Peace Corps service, he continued working in Africa with various NGOs assisting with self-help projects for another 15 years. When he retired from teaching and teacher mentoring, he volunteered in Peru. Leslie has a have a Master’s Degree in Education from California State University San Bernadino. He holds dual California teaching credentials: one in general education and the other in special education.

Vietnam Volunteer and Internship Staff

Vietnam Project Co-Directors Phuong and Que

Phuong and his wife Que co-direct our Vietnam volunteer projects. They are Hanoi natives and have worked with thousands of international volunteers and interns.

Vietnam Volunteer Coordinators – Huan, Hien, and Thuy

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