HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Funds raised at FERC gala evening well spent

Karen textiles receive export support

Chiangmai Expats Club meets with School for Life

Funds raised at FERC gala evening well spent

Annelie Hendriks
The Foundation for Education of Rural Children (FERC) in Chiang Mai has finished all projects paid for with the proceeds of 570,000 baht raised during the successful gala evening in February of this year.

Opening ceremony on May 31, 2007 performed by the monks of the village wat.

At a primary school in Muang Keud, a small village at the riverbank not far from Mae Taeng, FERC built a dormitory with toilets and showers, mattresses and cupboards and a small canteen with tables, benches, kitchen equipment, a water purification machine with a sink and taps and an electricity supply at the dormitory for a total of 332,000 baht.
Apart from the children of Muang Keud village this primary school provides education for children from 5 other villages located 3 to 12 kilometres from Muang Keud.
The grounds of this village school are small and there was no room to build a dormitory for the children who live too far from the main village. Although 3 to 12 kilometres does not seem to be too far out of reach, for the poor Lisu, Lahu and Akha families in those villages it was. It costs one family 400 baht per child per month for transportation to bring the children to school by songthaew. Some families could not afford this amount and others could only afford to pay for one of their children. The Tambon told FERC that for this reason at least 50 children could not go to school.

This dormitory was built for 40 Akha, Lisu and Lahu children at Muang Keud village near Mae Taeng.

The school has no land and no money to build a dormitory for these kids. A generous landowner donated a piece of land 1 kilometre from the school and FERC donated the funds to build the dormitory. The dormitory and canteen were built in 2 months time with the assistance of the Department of Education of Mae Rim, the local Tambon and Amphur, the director and the teachers of the school itself and the many parents who volunteered to build these school facilities.
On May 31
st the official opening ceremony took place and all volunteers, people involved and the board members of FERC were present to attend the inauguration ceremony by the monks, the dances of the children, the speeches and to eat a healthy luncheon together afterwards. After the ceremony at least 40 children could finally use the dormitory and make a beginning with their education for the first time in their lives.
At Mae Sariang, 250 km west of Chiang Mai, FERC donated 100,000 baht for books to four needy schools for hill tribe children in the mountains. Many schools in the mountains do not have enough books for the growing number of students.
Out of the donations given during the FERC gala, a number of scholarships were granted to poor children in Hangdong, as previously reported in the Chiangmai Mail.
FERC would like to thank all Chiang Mai residents who contributed to the gala proceeds with which FERC could provide educational facilities for so many poor children. We hope to see you all at the next FERC gala, scheduled for February 10, 2007.

Future inhabitants of the dormitory perform dances at the opening ceremony of the dormitory.

Back row: representatives of FERC Marc Dumur, Pongtada, Annelie Hendriks; Front row: director of the school, adjunct director of the Department of Education and representatives of the school and the department.

Karen textiles receive export support

Saksit Meesubkwang
Karen textiles produced in the Phoppra district of Tak that have long been a favourite of tourists, are now to receive support from the local administration in finding export markets.

Karen housewives work hard to make sure their textiles are the best in the land.

Karen housewives living along the Thai-Burmese border produce the distinctive designs by hand. Following good sales to tourists visiting the district, the Tambon Administration Organisation (TAO) agreed to set up a group to seek out foreign markets for the Karen textiles.
The TAO expressed hope that the group would help bring extra income to the village and reduce dependence on agriculture as their sole source of income. The group now has 20 members.
TAO president, Lt. Chalerm Bunpornwong, said that the group’s first target was to set up export markets in Europe and Asia, where the designs are already well-known.

The textiles are colored naturally, using dye derived from tree roots.

Karen housewives make their textiles.

The textile makers model their tribe’s traditional clothing.

Chiangmai Expats Club meets with School for Life

Phillip Johnson
The Chiangmai Expats Club regular meeting was held on Saturday, August 12, at 10:30 a.m., at the Chiangmai Orchid Hotel on Huey Kaew Road.

School For Life staff members are doing an amazing job.

Since the latter part of 2005, this writer has regularly attended Chiangmai Expats Club (CEC) meetings, and I can positively say that I have never witnessed three, I said “three” teary-eyed grown-ups express such strong feelings as they shared their experiences while working with a local children’s aid organisation called School for Life.
Noland Thuss, an expat club member and a School for Life staff member, introduced guest speakers Catherine Joy Frankish, Nancy Lehet, and Thaneen Worrawittayakun, who help run School for Life, an organisation founded seven years ago by Thaneen (Joy) Worrawittayakun and Dr. Jurgen Zimmer. As demonstrated in the slide presentation, School for Life has a population of 140 children who come from many different family backgrounds. Some children are tsunami survivors (not victims), some find a home here because their parents are incarcerated for long periods of time, others are residents of the school because they have been orphaned by Northern border clashes, disturbances, etc.
The children learn to cook, clean their living quarters, and are taught basic survival skills for if and when they leave the school. Each child has an older buddy (or big brother or big sister) to watch out for them, teach them, and ensure they are given love and understanding and a safe environment in which to live, learn and grow. Teacher and caregiver commitment is described as being “impressive”.
If you would like to join a group of people committed to changing children’s lives and making a difference, please contact Joy at [email protected] hotmail.com. Accommodation is available at “the farm” where you can stay a few days and meet the kids and staff members who give “School For Life” its name.
The next expat club meeting will be held at the Chiangmai Orchid Hotel on Saturday, August 26th. David Kendall, a well-known language teacher will talk about “The Art of Learning Thai”. All are welcome to attend. Yes, that includes you.
Remember to show your CEC membership card to CEC friendly merchants and sponsors to receive discounts on services.
It’s all about expats helping expats.

New Expat Club members are welcomed aboard.