HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

New Year’s cruise

FERC holds seventh annual fund raising gala

“The Grandma Cares” Partnership Programme

New Year’s cruise

Rebecca Lomax

Rotary Club Chiang Mai West recently held a Club Assembly/New Year’s Party/Family Night and Induction of New Members Ceremony onboard a dinner cruise boat on the Ping River.

Current Secretary and President Elect Rachan Ponchevin, President Frank Weicks and newly inducted member Jay Stevens onboard the cruise boat.

Taking advantage of the beautiful cool season weather and recognizing the importance of the river to Chiang Mai, members and their families met at dusk and boarded the boat to enjoy a feast of excellent Thai food prepared and served by the Riverside Restaurant prior to the cruise.

New member Jay Stevens is a retired engineer who worked with Hana Microelectronics prior to his retirement. He and his wife will be returning to visit the United States shortly, and he looks forward to meeting with clubs in New Hampshire as well as North and South Carolina to exchange Rotary flags and promote friendship between the clubs. Following the induction of new Rotarian Jay, members celebrated the New Year by exchanging gifts that ranged from American football coffee mugs to Thai musical instruments.

FERC holds seventh annual fund raising gala

R. Lomax

The Foundation for the Education of Rural Children (FERC) will hold its seventh annual fund raising gala on February 18, 2006 at Baan Wongmalee in Chiang Mai. This year, the proceeds from the gala will be used to build and furnish a school dormitory in Mae Taeng District.

Little Karen children

FERC also plans to install a water treatment system in the school/dormitory area so that the children will have clean and healthy drinking water, thus reducing the number of illnesses that these children experience. In addition, they plan to provide schoolbooks and supplies for four schools in Mae Sariang District.

Because many villages do not have schools, or have very limited schools, children often must leave their homes to receive an education. This means that children as young as six live in dormitories during the week, dormitories that are often shoddily constructed. Few have sanitary drinking water, and the children suffer from water-borne diseases. They often fail to thrive physically. The dormitory that will be built will replace the current one that provides little shelter or safety for these children.

The gala includes a buffet dinner and live entertainment as well as both silent and live auctions of goods and services that have been donated. You can expect to see boat trips, vouchers for hotel and resort stays, decorative items and furniture among the auction items. And don’t forget that there is also a raffle and that door prizes will be drawn using your ticket stub. For the price of admission, 1,500 baht, you have a chance of winning a wonderful trip.

For more information contact: www.thai-rural-education.com

“The Grandma Cares” Partnership Programme

What happened during 2005

Hope Watcharaprecha

In one of the villages. A Rotarian with grandma and the child

The “Grandma Cares” Project is an initiative that grew from a community program in 1992 providing psychological and social support to families affected by HIV/AIDS. Run by Rotary Club of ChiangMaiThinThaiNgam (RCCT), it assists older women who must care for grandchildren whose parents have died. The program which trains grandmothers and other relatives responsible for taking care of the children of deceased or sick parents also provides supplements to basic needs of these children and their grandparents. Volunteers also work with family members who provide home-based care for people living with AIDS.

In February 2004, Rotary Club of Bukit Kiara Sun-rise(RCBKS) Malaysia, Dist. 3300 and RCCT, Dist. 3360 (Sister Clubs) launched the “Grandma Cares” Partnership Program in Kuala Lumpur. An MoU under which Rotary Clubs around the world are invited to participate in raising funds for the Project was signed by countries attending this forum.

As of July 2005, Partner Rotary Clubs in the “Grandma Cares” Partnership Programm/Trust are:

Rotary Club of Chiang Mai ThinThaiNgam Dist. 3360, Chiang Mai, Thailand,

Rotary Club of Bukit Kiara Sunrise, Dist. 3300, K. L. Malaysia,

Rotary Club of Hong Kong Northeast, Dist. 3450,

Rotary Club of Singapore North, Dist. 3310,

Rotary Club of Bugis Junction, Dist. 3310, Singapore,

Rotary Club of Chungli Chung Shing, Dist. 3500, Taiwan,

Rotary Club of Markham Sunrise, Dist. 7070, Toronto, Canada.

During December in 2004 the “Grandma Cares” Partnership Program had its first Convention in Chiang Mai - a two day program filled with activities and workshops, and in December 2005 the second convention was held here, this time a three day event of Rotarians and their families.

Activities consisted of Grandma Home Visits, plenary sessions and a fellowship of friendship games in Chiang Mai with over 100 participants who came from the Rotary Club of Orewa, New Zealand, Dist. 9910 and Rotary Club of Hong Kong South.

Partnership pledges made on that day received a Matching Grant from Homer, Alaska, U.S.A. Each country made their special well received contributions for the GCPP/Trust. A sponsor can be a body corporate, a Rotary Club or any other organization or an individual and the annual sponsorship is USD 400 per beneficiary child and his/her grandparents. The sponsorship will have to be channeled through the “Grandma Cares” Trust. Also on the agenda are the distribution of school funds on January 21, 2006 at the Red Cross Station #3, at 9:30 a.m by Zonta International Chiang Mai collected during the “Biking for Education” (a total of 120,000 baht was raised on that four day biking event).

A total of 82 children from Chiang Mai, Doi Saket, Chiang Dao and Mae Ai with Nike sponsoring shoes for these children and clothing and toys sponsored by private donors will also be distributed.

Banner exchange during the convention