Vol. VII No. 33 - Tuesday
August 12 - August 18, 2008



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by Saichon Paewsoongnern


FEATURES
HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Everyone wins at the Charity Rooftop Dinner!

Nok ‘Em Ded jewellery design – two people in harmony with nature

 

Everyone wins at the Charity Rooftop Dinner!

Three charities chosen—runners up will receive 30,000 baht each

The representatives of the 8 charities.

Elena Edwards
Excitement and anticipation was in the air on the evening of August 2, as the long- awaited 5th Annual Charity Rooftop Party’s dinner began. Held, as always, at the Amari Rincome Hotel, the dinner is the second most important occasion of the year for the Rooftop Charity and its committee—the first being the party itself, of course, the climax of a year’s hard work! Annually at the Amari Rincome dinner, the charities which will benefit from every last penny of the Rooftop Party’s proceeds are chosen.

Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon, President of Thailand-Friends e. V. presenting a cheque for 100,000 baht to the Charity Rooftop Party to be held on January 10, 2009.
This year, the committee had decided that, instead of the usual single beneficiary, support would be given to three charities, and that voting would be undertaken by a combination of the committee and the Rooftop Party’s major sponsors. Several days before the dinner, the committee were sent the marvellous news that a donation of 100,000 baht was to be received on the night from Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon, President of Thailand-Friends e.V, continuing his ongoing support of Chiang Mai children’s charities. As a result of this generous gesture, it was decided that the charities who were not chosen would receive the sum of 30,000 baht each as a consolation prize so that no applicant would go away empty-handed!
Eight charities had applied to be considered; each had provided a synopsis of their activities and a summary of their needs. Committee members had been busy visiting as many applicants as they could, and each member’s inbox had been overflowing with email questions, answers and pleas for clarification! Sally and Jo had been rushed off their feet organising everything from raffle prizes to the applicants themselves, but still managed to look stunning and display amazing energy at the dinner. The original concept of the Hillside 4 Charity Rooftop Party was put together by John Morgan and Steve Yarnold, after watching the devastating effects of the tsunami on television. Khun Wachara Tantranont generously underwrites the entire evening, thus ensuring that every baht raised goes to the charities.

Representatives of Wildflower Home enjoying the evening.
On the night itself, the Amari’s ever-popular GM, Win Fagel, was on hand to welcome the committee, the applicants, and the guests, who arrived, as usual, in droves, all kitted out in their best, including an amazing shirt worn by the husband of one of the CM Mail’s best-loved occasional columnists. Several of the applicants arrived early and set up displays of photos and brochures at the entrance to the dining hall. By 7.30 p.m., it was “All Systems Go”.
Guests, already supping quantities of wine, provided by Pierre from Wine Connections, were served with hors d-oeuvres to stave off hunger pangs whilst listening to the 8 presentations; each charity was allowed 5 minutes to give their appeal. For the guests, to be sitting at dinner in one of Chiang Mai’s beautifully appointed hotels and listening to heart-felt reports of need, desperation and deprivation from charities without major funding may well have been a thought-provoking and sobering experience.
After the presentations had been given, guests tucked in to a delicious buffet supper, whilst the committee retired to cast their votes. Having been promised “snacks”, they were delighted to be invited by Wim to sit at table and be served dinner with wine! Brief, but very welcome…
The voting over – the big moment arrived – the announcement by the MC, John Wright, who’d flown in specially from Bangkok to be with everyone and do what he does so well! At last… the results! The three winning charities who will share in the total proceeds of next year’s Rooftop Party were the Northern School for the Blind, Freedom House, and Samsara, who got lucky this year on their third try. The five charities who will receive the special 30,000 baht award were Lanna Dogs, Wildflower Home, Croston House, Nong Ook School, and the Kid’s Ark Foundation. Rapturous applause, hugs and the occasional squeal followed; after the noise subsided, the door prize and raffles were held to much laughter, and guests were entertained as a special treat by Daeng Fantastic who will be performing alongside the ‘Pink Panther’ at a benefit concert entitled ‘Baht for a Better Life’ at the Amari Rincome on August 30. The next event in the series of 7 very special happenings, again organised by the indefatigable Sally and Jo, is the Lunchtime Fashion Show to be held at the Shangri-La on August 27, beginning at 11 a.m., and including lunch for an all-in ticket price of 350 baht. This is going to be a “wow”, with a fashion- oriented Shopping Mall set up in the lobby including stalls manned by Nok’em Ded jewellery, (some of the models will be wearing their spectacular designs), Ginger, Sop Moie Arts, Oasis Spa, Ballet, and many others. Goodie bags with vouchers and other surprises for all guests, a great buffet meal and clothes for all sizes and both sexes modelled by some of our favourite CM people, plus a raffle for a gorgeous cocktail dress, (alterations included if necessary), will make this an unmissable event.
The three successful charities all concentrate on the seriously disadvantaged in Northern Thai society; none of them receive major funding. Freedom House is a very small, as yet, Chiang Mai based organisation whose dream is to become self-funding—hence their application for a “Freedom Coffee Shop”, which will enable on-the job bakery training for their young adults. The coffee shop will also be an outlet in CM for information on hill tribe and refugee issues, and will provide an income for the organisation to enable them to concentrate more on education than on fund-raising. Freedom House’s target groups are Thai, Akha, Chinese and Shan Burmese children and young adults; the school itself runs classes in Thai, English, Art and Music in the evenings. The Thai language is emphasised, in case opportunities arise for the children to attend a Thai school. The Young Adults programme provides intensive Thai and English classes, and, for Burmese students, the contemporary history of their native country.
The Northern School for the Blind, based in the city, educates and cares for 205 visually impaired kindergarten and primary level students at present, many of whom also suffer from neurological problems such as autism. Residential facilities, meals, medical care, uniforms and educational materials are provided by the school. The aim of the school is to develop the students’ academic, vocational and life skills. Their application was for help in providing materials for a two-story building to be used as a gymnasium and a new kitchen.
Samsara is based in one of the poorest regions in Thailand, along the border with Burma in Mae Hong Son province. The average annual income of a hill tribe family living in one of the villages in the area is 175 US dollars. Yes, you read it right, annual income! There are 185 schools, serving 27,000 hill tribe children, mostly Karen and Hmong; 40% of these schools are inaccessible in the rainy season, when unpaved access roads become muddy streams. The schools are often over a day’s walk from various villages; without transportation, 60% of the children need to stay at the schools for most of the time. Samsara’s mission is to provide necessities not funded by local or national government, such as school books, dormitory furniture and other equipment, water purification installations, extra toilets, ( at one school with 270 pupils there was only one toilet), kitchen facilities, etc. Samsara’s application was for beds, mattresses, floor coverings, cupboards, school books and the transportation needed to get them to the site.
The five charities who will each receive 30,000 baht are, firstly, Wildflower Home, which cares for traumatised single parents escaping from domestic violence situations, for pregnant girls who are rejected by their families, and for victims of rape and other mistreatment. The Home provides safe shelter, vocational training, medical and psychological help and much needed support for as long as is necessary. Secondly, Lanna Dog Rescue provides medical care, sterilisation, and vaccination for Chiang Mai’s abandoned street-dog population, both in the Wats and on the streets, and educates monks and dog owners in caring for and helping their charges as well as maintaining a shelter for sick and elderly dogs. A new centre and refuge is being constructed, aiming at a new model of care for rescued dogs.
The third charity, Kid’s Ark Foundation, identifies needy children using input from local teachers in order to reach those at risk. Through their “Godparent” programme, their overseas donors provide a monthly allowance which covers school expenses, thus deterring kids from entering the sex or drug-dealing trades, or being forced give up school and work at home. The Foundation also provides translated information about reproductive health and other issues to members of the Red Lahu ethnic group resident along the Thai/ Burmese border. Educational support is also given.
Nong Ook Village, again on the border, is the destination of aid received from the fourth charity, the Schools of Hope Project. The local abbot, Venerable Phra Virote, has dedicated his efforts over many years to education, using his own limited funds. He has recently offered the temple premises as the site for a school, to be open to all Shan children in the village, thus providing a safe location and legal recognition by the Thai authorities as a monastic education facility. Education is essential for refugee children, as, with no ID papers, they are not entitled to the state education and health services—as a result they are virtually guaranteed to be condemned to a life of poverty and danger. Schools of Hope’s aim is to be able to provide a safe house for the female students, who are not allowed to stay in the temple, together with free education by a qualified teacher, and, essentially, a nourishing midday meal for all.
The final charity is Croston House Children’s Home, a small but growing foundation at present located in Makrua Chai, Lamphun, with 25 resident children between 15 years and 22 months old. All the children are from families experiencing difficulties such as drug or alcohol dependency, HIV/Aids and other illnesses, imprisonment of parents, or severe poverty or debt. The foundation is funded at present by regular monthly and quarterly cash donations from four companies based in local industrial estates. A trust has been recently set up in the UK, although fund-raising efforts so far have not resulted in any significant benefits. Friends of the foundation make regular donations of food, toiletries and cleaning materials. Croston House’s aim is to provide children in need of a good home with a caring supportive family environment in which to ultimately complete their education.
Eight causes who need all the help they can get. Please remember that the Rooftop Charity does not give cash, – it buys much needed items and monitors their delivery and usage wherever possible—so, your money goes straight to where it’s needed most, in the most useful, controllable manner. Since the Amari Rincome dinner, the committee has heard that two of the charities have received offers of volunteer help, another will hopefully receive patronage from the German Royal Family, and another has received donations. The dinner itself raised a total of 34,270 baht, made up of 11,370 from the raffle, a donation from Wine Connections of 8,000 baht, and a donation from the Amari Rincome of 15, 000 baht. Added to the donation of 100,000 baht from Thailand Friends and the money already raised by previous events, the total amount raised to date is 212,064.00 baht. 5 months and 7 special events to go, plus the party itself—let’s all help to make the Charity Rooftop Party 2009 the best ever! Whether it’s a little or a lot – every baht counts. Should anyone wish to find out more about any of the charities, their email addresses are as follows.

Northern School for the Blind:- [email protected];
Kids Ark Foundation:[email protected];
Nong Ook:- [email protected];
Freedom House;[email protected];
Lanna Dog Rescue:[email protected];
Wildflower Home:- [email protected]
Croston House:[email protected];
Samsara:- [email protected]
 

Nok ‘Em Ded jewellery design – two people in harmony with nature

A stunning bracelet, crafted from mixed hardstones, including turquoise, jasper and quartz, and gilded coral.

Two beautifully designed silver bracelets for the “Silver Collection”

A colourful and funky bracelet
using a mixture of hardstones,
coral and hill tribe silver.

Two contemporary and
one floral ring from Nok ‘em
Ded’s “Silver Collection”.

A modern contemporary style necklace composed of smoky quartz and onyx beads intermingled with silver rings.

An elegant and classically designed necklace featuring turquenite, pearls, glass and mixed hardstones.

A dramatic longer- length necklace made up of carnelians, freshwater pearls and mother-of pearl.

A multicoloured and very popular design using a variety of hardstones.

Elena Edwards
Nok & Teresa Khongtham met on an island in the south of Thailand in 2002, fell in love & moved to Bangkok 4 months later. Not completely happy in their jobs, they decided to try something different. With both of them being very creative and Teresa’s entrepreneur skills, jewellery seemed an attractive and suitable option. Having no background or previous experience in this field, they took the plunge anyway and quit their jobs, setting out to the local markets in search of materials. Their designs started very simply with some elastic and cheap beads and gradually grew from there. Their sales locations also grew—from stock on the sidewalk to night markets to day markets, and eventually to corporate markets selling to corporate workers. It was a tough process, especially during rainy season as public transport was relied on, but they stuck at it. Every design they made sold well and they soon had quite a following. Plagiarism, inevitably, followed—as a result, Teresa found herself back in Australia promoting their formula internationally by wholesaling to retailers around Melbourne.
Nok ‘Em Ded Jewellery Design was officially born in February 2003. Business continued to improve; a camper van was purchased and customised to contain their collections—the resulting 3 month sales trip around Australia proved highly successful, and was repeated many times over the next 4 years. Every 3 months they returned to Thailand to create more designs, relocating to Chiang Mai in 2003 in search of a more peaceful lifestyle. Always sad to leave Thailand, and with the constant travelling becoming more wearisome, they decided in 2007 to launch their website. True to form, it was an instant success, providing them with a worldwide clientele and allowing them to settle down and live full time in Chiang Mai. In 2008, the future looks as strong as ever with international shows booked and joint ventures begun with local businesses and designers including Lawrence, the talented designer of the gowns & clothing collections for the upcoming Fashion Show at the Shangri-La on August 27.
Nok now takes full charge of the creative side of the business as head designer, whilst Teresa handles all other areas of the business, including direction and design work. Having no training in jewellery design, their designs are a result of natural talent and inspiration. Nok’s amazing inborn flair for experimenting with colours and materials results in an exquisite & stunning collection of styles that are unique works of art in their own right, inspired by the earth’s natural beauty. Natural gemstones along with other materials are used, sourced from around the world and individually chosen for colour and impact. “With mankind continuing to plunder and destroy our earth it’s wonderful to still be able to find and pay tribute to the beauty that lies beneath it”, they both say.
Material for the Silver Collection, and also all silver used in other designs, is sourced locally from the various Hill Tribes, thus supporting the tribes. Teresa and Nok’s passion for what they do shines through every stage of the process. With their meticulous attention to service, detail and craftsmanship, customers can be assured of high quality products and complete satisfaction maintained at all times. Both the Stone & Silver Collections are extensive, each containing a large variety of jewellery ranging from simple & chic to elegant, classic & contemporary, starting from low end fashion pieces and extending to high end very complicated designs. Both the Stone & Silver Collections are extensive, each containing a large variety of jewellery ranging from low end fashion pieces to high end, very complicated designs. Examples can be seen on their website, www. nokemded.com . The collections are now promoted locally as well, catering to international wholesale buyers, individual sales, ladies luncheons, special events and various other functions. At present, Nok ‘Em Ded does not have a retail store as Nok and Teresa prefer to concentrate exclusively on their present business plan. Also, not having the expense of a store allows them to offer their designs to customers at less than the regular retail price. Prices range from approximately 150 Baht up to 6,000 baht, ensuring that clients can always find something special for an affordable amount.
Being strong believers in Karma, Nok and Teresa give back to society as often as they can. They are regular volunteers with Care for Dogs, and have adopted 6 homeless dogs of their own, (so far!). They give generously to support other local charities in Chiang Mai. Two good and very talented people with a perfect story of creativity, ambition, passion, perseverance and teamwork. As the saying goes… they’ve certainly ‘started from the bottom & worked themselves up’!



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