The Chiangmai Zonta Club met at the Empress Hotel under
the leadership of Jermjitt Boonsom (yes the Spirulina Biologist) to discuss
the Club’s fundraising activities for this year.
from left to right are members Dr Carolina Thompson and Ginny Link, Past
President Somboon Suprasert, President Jiamjitt Boonsom, President-Elect
Hope Watcharaprecha, and Immediate Past President Margaret Bhadungzong.
The Club’s main charity activities focus on the Grandma
Care Project In Northern Thailand.
Issues: There are over 1 million cases of HIV/AIDS in
Thailand; over the next 5 years, half of these will die, the majority of
working age (25-45 years). Who will take care of their families and
communities and what will be the impact on the country as a whole?
Description: The Grandma Project, established by the Thai
Red Cross helps HIV/AIDS sufferers/ families. The support Zonta and Rotary
Clubs have now extended their activities to 7 provinces in northern
Thailand. It encourages villagers to help each other to care for “their”
families, shifting the responsibility to the community and relieving
pressure from hospitals.
The most vital part of this home-care training is the
grandparents who now raise their 1000+ AIDS orphans, assisting over 3000
immediate family members. By including the emotional and financial pressure
on these families, we could reach over 100,000 people nationwide. Today the
Grandma project has more than 1000 trained volunteers who home-visit over
800 families to train them about home care.
We use many strategies: education; businesses provide
funding and medical supplies; home and community based care provides for
those already sick and dying; the “Thursday Club” gives HIV patients
peer counseling, medical support, medical counseling and treatment; home
visits are made to supervise and monitor patients and caretakers; training
is given to family members in nursing care, nutrition and mental support;
community-based care releases family members from burdens, neighbors and
other community members help by forming clusters for home visits; spiritual
care, social welfare, hospice care and home training.
To date, 1020 Grandma’s have been trained in 34 groups;
300 children have received school funding.
Lessons learned: These Grandma’s cite certain problems: no strength to
take care of their grandchildren, economic issues (no work = no income) and
no children to support them anymore, no school funding (even for lunch).
Lastly, the Grandma’s worry about who will look after their grandchildren
when the Grandma’s have passed away.