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HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Thailandfreunde e.V. donate 175,000 baht to School for the Blind

‘Big Bike Night’ at the Night Safari

Thailand’s tourist numbers hit lowest level for 49 years

Amari Rincome’s ‘Baht for a Better Life’ awards 7 scholarships

Thailandfreunde e.V. donate 175,000 baht to School for the Blind

Teerapol Sanchue, Frank Sethi, Brian Howe, Marisa Chuchan, Aoy Howe, Joe Erkes, Maria Reussner, Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon, Sawat Intaleng, Pramuan Namonchul, and Wuttipong Arayatumsopon, pictured with teachers and supporters of the School for the Blind, all pictured at the party to celebrate the donation of 175,000 baht. (Photo by Ray A.Tumpson)

Lee Roy Webster
On July 8, the executive board of Thailandfreunde e.V, Thailand presented a donation from Germany of 175,000 baht to the director of the School for the Blind, Pramuan Namonchul.
Special guest from the German Thailandfreunde, (TF), executive board, Peter Heinrich, was present to document the transfer of the donation, and speeches were given by the president of the German human rights organisation and vice-president ofthe Thai chapter, Dirk Weeber-Arayatumsopon, and Wuttipong Arayatumsopon, a section leader.
The presentation was attended by many students, teachers, (present and retired), as well as by volunteers; all enjoyed a delicious lunch cooked by School for the Blind students and teachers, as did the deputy director of the province’s education office, Sawat Intaleng , representing the governor of Chiang Mai.
During his speech, Sawat praised the efforts of the Thai/German organisation for their donations over the last 4 years of more than 2 million baht cash and double that amount in goods to needy Chiang Mai organisations.
In the near future, after receipt of necessary official documentation, the Thai chapter of Thailandfreunde eV will close and change its name to ‘Lanna Star Kids’ Foundation Thailand’. Wuttipong Arayatumsopon will become the joint president of the new foundation, together with Teerapol Sanchue. Cooperation with the German Thailandfreunde e.V. organisation will continue. The aim of the new foundation will by to provide much-needed help to the underprivileged, especially orphanages and those who need emergency assistance. Wuttipong states that, ‘We also feel that we have a duty to support the projects of the Thai Royal Family, as in the past when we donated to H.R.H. Princess Somsawali´s Red Cross Mother and Children HIV projects, the School for Life under the patronage of His Majesty the King, and now the School for the Blind under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen and the Chao na Chiengmai Foundation here in the city.

 

‘Big Bike Night’ at the Night Safari

Members of the Chiang Mai Big Bike Club, assembled at the Night Safari recently for an informative and useful meeting with relevant organisations including the Lawyers’ Council, the Provincial Transport Office, and the police. Hope they all got home safely!

CMM reporters
The Chiang Mai Big Bike Club recently held a meet for their members at the Night Safari, aimed at increasing training and knowledge about all aspects of owning a big bike.
Kunkanit Chaichankanit, the ‘Big Bike’ club’s president, introduced a number of organisations and their representatives, including the president of the local Lawyers’ Council, who gave some useful legal advice and the head of the local Provincial Transport Office, Atsathai Rattanadilok na Phuket, who gave advice on road safety, followed by members of his staff who advised on driving licenses and their availability. The lucky Thai ‘big bike’ riders who attended were given the privilege, as a result of the lectures, of not having to attend the mandatory talk at the transport office before taking their driving tests. The speakers may, quite possibly, have wondered if members of a ‘big bike’ club should not have already taken their driving tests!
Also in attendance were officers from the tourist police, who spoke on visitor safety, and local police who reminded the members about on-road safety issues, traffic rules and regulations and the dangers of ‘drugging and driving’.


Thailand’s tourist numbers hit lowest level for 49 years

CMM reporters
The Tourism Council of Thailand’s chairman, Kongkit Hiranyakij, announced last Thursday that tourism in Thailand had hit its lowest point since 1960. In percentage terms, the decline in 2009 is expected to bottom out at 22%.
According to Kongkit, political uncertainty and violence have contributed to the sharp decline already evident as a result of the world economic crisis, with the high incidence of swine flu causing a further drop in expected visitor arrivals from 14.1 million to 11 million. The country is expected to lose up to 200 million baht of projected tourism revenue this year if the swine flu outbreak is not contained..
However, Kongkit believes that if the government can deal with the political turmoil successfully, a revival in visitor numbers is expected by 2010. He expects local Thai tourists to account for 430 billion baht in revenue in 2009.


Amari Rincome’s ‘Baht for a Better Life’ awards 7 scholarships

CMM reporters
In a recently held painting competition with the theme ‘My Dream’, 7 winning students from Baan Kob Dong School in Fang, one of the ‘Baht for a Batter Life’ project schools, received scholarships presented by Wim Fagel, GM of the Amari Rincome, as part of the hotel’s 40th anniversary celebrations.

The winning students with their artwork, pictured at the awards ceremony with, (l-r), Ajarn Arkom Dejkhunmak, Wim Fagel and his wife Pinkaew, and Ajarn Jiraporn Phoonsri, director of Baan Kob Dong School.

The ‘Baht for a Better Life’ charity was started by Amari Hotels and Resorts in 1995. Small change and donations from both guests and staff are collected to further the education of children in Thailand. At present, two projects are being supported, the Duang Prateep Foundation and the Amari Schools Project. Funds from ‘Baht for a Better Life’ have also been used to rebuild a dilapidated school in Udon Thani and build ten new schools in underprivileged areas throughout the kingdom.