HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Rotary Club of Fayetteville and the Thai Kids Project

Chiang Mai host to Buddhist Youth Exchange

Chinese Studies Center opens at the Rajabhat Institute in Chiang Mai

Tips for happy families

Rotary Club of Fayetteville and the Thai Kids Project

The Rotary International theme "Sow the Seeds of Love" took on new meaning with a project the Rotary Club of Fayetteville launched in partnership with two Thai clubs. Thanks to former Fayetteville residents Holly and Jerry Rose, the Rotary Club of Fayetteville partnered with two Rotary Clubs in Chiang Mai to help rural kids have a chance at education. The World Community Service committee spearheaded the "Jump Start: Thai Kids Project."

Thai Kids Project Members

The Roses have lived in Chiang Mai for the past two years and have coordinated the project in Thailand. They are volunteers with the Foundation for the Education of Rural Children in Chiang Mai. Several of the foundation board members are also members of the Chiang Mai West and the Rotary Club of Chiang Puak Rotary Clubs. Needing a local partner club in the project country, the Fayetteville club is partnering with both Thai clubs on the project.

Locally, members of the Rotary Club of Fayetteville donated $5,588 for the project. Rotary District Governor Ed Clifford of Bentonville donated matching funds from Rotary District Funds. The Rotary International Foundation is also providing matching funds, so the grand total funded for the project will be $20,997. The funds will help to equip the rural mountain village schools with desks, chairs, books, and teaching materials, as well as cots and blankets for the dormitories. The funds will be used to purchase the needed equipment in Thailand. The schools are in the mountainous region north of Chiang Mai.

Last year, the Roses presented a program on the Rural Children’s Foundation to the Rotary Club of Fayetteville, which instilled a desire in club members to want to help. Other needs were expressed and the Rotary Club of Fayetteville launched the "Happy Feet" project. Several years ago, the club donated shoes to the Guatemala Children’s Home in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Club member Pat Molle contacted several Wal-Mart shoe suppliers and invited them to partner with the club to meet the footwear needs of the children. To date several suppliers have expressed interest and the Brown Shoe Company has donated 100 pairs of sturdy leather shoes. Each pair of shoes is being sent with two pairs of crew socks. Rural Thai children seldom have new clothing or shoes, so this will be a real treat for them.

Club member George "Bear" Graen cut dry erase lapboards to send along. Teacher materials are difficult to obtain, so the club is gathering items that cannot be purchased in Thai stores for the teachers.

"We are so fortunate to live in Wal-Mart’s backyard," said Patsy Brewer, WCS chair. Through these contacts, the Brown Shoe Company, a Wal-Mart supplier, has donated 100 pairs of children’s leather shoes for these schoolchildren. Lisa Hanly in the St. Louis office believed in the project and facilitated having the shoes donated. Not many children in Thailand have shoes, so these lucky kids will be wearing the "boot tread" shoes on their way to a new learning experience. The Roses said, "The kids will just love their shoes. The Thai love color and the girls’ lavender boots will be a big hit."

The Rotary Club of Fayetteville is 78 years old and meets weekly at the Radisson Hotel. For more information, contact President Jim Huffman at 479-521-2338.

Chiang Mai host to Buddhist Youth Exchange

Autsadaporn Kamthai

Thailand hosted the Inter-Cultural Buddhist Youth Exchange Program III 2003, arranged by the World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth (W.F.B.Y.) April 21-28. 60 Buddhist youths from 11 Asian countries, including Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Taiwan, Japan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India and Thailand and 20 youth observers attended the exchange program, which was held in Bangkok April 21-22 and 27-28 and in Chiang Mai April 23-26.

Buddhist youths listen intently.

Many people participated in the opening ceremonies at Chiang Mai University.

Uraiwan Thianthong, Minister of Culture, presided over the welcoming ceremony of the exchange program at Humanities Building 7, Chiang Mai University.

The program was established by the World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth and first began in 2001, co-hosted by Dhammakaya Foundation (DKF) and the Young Buddhist Association of Thailand under Royal Patronage (YBAT). In 2002, the program was hosted by Malaysia.

Buddhist youths enjoy activities at the youth camp in Chiang Mai.

Can you untangle this mess? Buddhist youths practice interpersonal skills at the youth camp.

The youth exchange program is useful and valuable for young Buddhists. The objectives of the program are to provide an environment of self-learning on Buddhist education through multi-Buddhist culture, enable the sharing of various Buddhist youth lifestyle activities, seeking cooperation among the youth and to initiate WFBY’s Club 25 as an alumni society for the program participants.

Chinese Studies Center opens at the Rajabhat Institute in Chiang Mai

Autsadaporn Kamthai

Chiang Mai Governor Pisit Khetphasook and Jang Gua-Ching, Chinese Consul-General in Chiang Mai, jointly presided over the opening ceremony of the Chinese Studies Center at the Rajabhat Institute in Chiang Mai.

Young women perform the stunningly beautiful fan dance during the opening ceremonies.

Girls perform a fan dance to celebrate the occasion.

Chiang Mai Governor Pisit Khetphasook (left), Assoc Wannawadee Mahlampong (center), the rector of Rajabhat Institute of Chiang Mai, and Jang Gua-Ching, the Chinese consul-general, cut the ceremonial ribbon at the opening ceremony.

The institute established the center in response to the academic exchange program it has run with Beijing Foreign Studies University from 1991 and from 2001 with Guangxi University and Guangxi Normal University.

The center is at room 121, on the 2nd floor of the Rajabhat building 1. The center will provide information about Chinese language, culture, economy and politics, for both institute’s students and lecturers and also to strengthen international relationships between Thailand and China.

Tips for happy families

Supatatt Dangkrueng

A meeting aimed at providing the secret for a happier family life was held at Lotus Pang Suan Kaew Hotel on April 26. A joint cooperation by Advance Info Service (AIS), Chiang Mai Municipality, Radio Thailand’s Chiang Mai Provincial Office, Chiang Mai Ram I Hospital and Waree Chiang Mai School, the event was held with support from the Thai Family Institute.

In the activities area at the seminar, a young mother colors with her child.

Dr Amporn (left) was interviewed by Khun Add, famous MC on TV.

In this area of the seminar, it was all about children enjoying play.

Many participants brought their family members to participate in the family seminar. While parents were listening to a lecture from Dr Amporn Benjapholphitak, the deputy director of Children and Youth Mental Health Institute, Department of Mental Health, the children enjoyed games and an exhibition in another part of the seminar.

Dr Amporn’s lecture was on strategies for family happiness and good relations. She focused on the important role that the family institution was playing in our society. She also advised on how to cope with the dangers of age gap, miscommunications and misunderstandings.