Picture shows back row (l-r) TAT
Director Junnapong Saranak, with Ramlah Jafri and David Baird, Head of
School. Seated in the front rows, on the left side, the children who painted
the 13 calendar images, and on the right side, children from the Dream
Weaving for Peace Foundation with its Director, Bunnam Wirutkaman, seated
Students from Prem Tinsulanonda International School who volunteered to
paint pictures for a small desk calendar had no idea that the result would
bring the Tourism Minister up from Bangkok to congratulate them, nor could
they ever have imagined that it would raise almost $20,000 for children in
need. The concept was the brainchild of two foreign residents of the city
and it set out to do two things - raise funds for poor children, and
simultaneously act as a tourism promotion for the city. It succeeded beyond
expectations on both counts.
Thirteen images were chosen from a total of 92 paintings submitted by the
Prem students, reflecting “Why Chiang Mai is a Wonderful Place to Live”. The
paintings were featured in the calendar with text describing the history and
culture of the city, and reasons why “a week is not enough” to enjoy its
Dr Suvit Yodmani, at that time the Minister of Tourism and Sports, learned
about the calendar, and was so impressed by its uniqueness he flew up to
Chiang Mai to preside at the official launch on 4th October last year, and
to applaud the initiative. The calendar was self-financed, and had no
sponsors or advertisers. In her presentation, its creator Ramlah Jafri told
a fascinated audience that she was not sure that a sufficient quantity could
be sold to even cover the production costs, but that she nonetheless had
faith it would succeed. She was correct!
The calendar was purchased by tourists, residents, commercial companies,
hotels and travel agents, and has found its way into thousands of homes and
offices all over the world - each one promoting the Lanna capital in a
delightful and unusual way. Over 9,000 calendars were sold, and after
printing and other expenses, raised a total of 604,000 baht, which was
presented by the Prem students who painted the pictures to poor kids from
the “Dream Weaving for Peace Foundation” in Samoeng, which cares for
homeless and orphaned children. The simple ceremony was touching and
meaningful … beautifully conveying the “Children helping Children” ideal.
The presentation took place at Prem Tinsulalonda International School on
April 4, and was attended by the Director of the Tourism Authority of
Thailand’s Northern Region 1, Junnapong Sarunak, the Head of School David
Baird, together with several hundred students, parents and teaching staff.
20 of the children from the “Dream Weaving for Peace” foundation and its
Director, Bunnam Wirutkaman, were overjoyed to be at the event.
Established in 2003, the foundation is located in hilly countryside about
half an hour’s drive from the small town of Samoeng, and about 70 kilometres
from Chiang Mai. It consists of a number of simple but functional buildings
set into a hillside, and is sanctuary to around two dozen homeless children.
It is supported entirely by donations, which are supplemented by income from
products and handicrafts created by the children, whose ages range from four
They attend a local school, and each child plays an important part in the
running of the centre, with different responsibilities according to age,
complemented with activities and instruction designed to help them become
independent in later life.
Vocational studies include weaving, woodcarving, drawing, embroidery and
painting. Emphasis is placed on self-sufficiency, with the children playing
a major role in growing vegetables, rice, and rearing farm animals, which
means that very little food needs to be purchased outside. The proceeds from
the 2008 Chiang Mai Charity Calendar will be used exclusively for the
education of the children, and it is hoped to repeat the entire project for
2009. The calendar story is described fully on http://chiangmaicalendar.
googlepages.com and also contains galleries of all 92 paintings submitted.
The Dream Weaving for Peace Foundation has a small web site at: