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Doi Kids need glasses too!

Local kids get a chance to see the world more clearly

T.J. Bouma explains to Rotarian John Schorr about the first step in eye evaluations.

By Shana Kongmun
Kid’s from Schools of Hope, the Stratton ABC Foundation and Magical Light Tam Nak children came to Magical Light Foundation on Sunday, September 7, 2014 to have their vision checked and help those in need obtain glasses from Amigo Vision and Chiang Mai International Rotary Club.
The kids lined up, many nervous as they had never been tested, others eager as they were having a hard time reading and so were looking forward to the day they could see clearly again. The youngest fellow of four years old was very shy and a bit short for the equipment but his big brother Tai, from the Stratton ABC Foundation, was there to help him along. He said that poor vision ran in the family and he wanted to see if his little brother needed help at such an early age or not. Other kids ranged in ages from seven to seventeen and a few parents came along to get tested too. All in all, around 30 people were seen and glasses will be made for about a dozen of them.
Amigo Vision and Chiang Mai International Rotary Club will be heading to Mae Hong Son for the Small World Festival to work with Chiang Rai Rotary Clubs to test kids from schools around the region on December 24, 2014 and also visits Chiang Mai villages with other local Rotary Clubs to work with people in more remote villages.

K. Noom was a big help in registering the kids and getting their information before the eyesight evaluations.

This little fellow was being tested to see what strength he needed for glasses.

This little girl was nervous of the equipment at first, but settled in when she realized it wasn’t going to hurt!

FERC raises funds for scholarships

Twenty-five students get help with schoo

David of David’s Kitchen joins committee members and guests at the registration desk: From left: Caroline Thompson, Dorothy Engmann, Tannanan Wilson, Nattajuck Boonma, Glynn Morgan and Marc Dumur.

By Shana Kongmun
The Foundation for the Education of Rural Children (FERC) held their annual fundraising dinner at David’s Kitchen at 909 on Thursday, September 11, 2014 where over 70 people attended enjoying the atmosphere of good food, good music and friendship.
FERC initially began by building schools but realized that their time and money would prove more beneficial by providing scholarships mainly to teens in the 10th, 11th and 12th grades but also to kids in pre-school and primary school. The scholarships, which provide each student with 10,000 baht annually, ensure that they can cover their living expenses without being a burden on their families.

Mayuree Yoktree of the Office for Social Development and Human Security for Chiang Mai (center) is joined by Caroline, Norman, Celeste and David

One such alumnus is Nattajuck Boonma or Wit of the very popular hair salon Hair Pro, who is now also on the committee for FERC along with Marc Dumur, Celeste Tolibas-Holland, Carolina Thompson, Glynn Morgan, Dorothy Engmann, Patrick Roberts and President Luxami Utaipol Dumur.
The dinner, which raised over 65,000 baht for scholarships, saw many local supporters come including Mayuree Yoktree, the head of the Office for Social Development and Human Security for Chiang Mai, was also on hand to join her longtime friend Celeste in supporting education for rural children.

David and his wife Prom welcome Annette Kunigagon and Tim McGuire who are joined by FERC Committee member Celeste Tolibas-Holland.

Chair Marc Dumur welcomed the guests and introduced them to the work that FERC had been doing over the past years, adding that last year they supported 37 students while this year they are currently supporting 25 since some have graduated.
The evening ended with everyone thanking the staff at DK including Chef Oh, David and his wife Prom. FERC’s next fundraiser is a tea scheduled for some time in February while the next scholarship distribution will take place in November.

Committee chair Marc Dumur greets old friends Ineke Martens and Matthy van der Pohl to the fundraising dinner.

Janet and Ed Hennessey were happy to join the evening with Marc.

Marc Dumur spoke to the party goers about FERC and the work that they do.

Mums and kids get a second chance

Hanna, Eleanor and staff from the New Life Center Foundation at the pop up shop opening at Promenada on September 6, 2014.

By Shana Kongmun
The newest shop at Promenada is not your average store; this pop up shop located on the second floor of Building B sells second hand kids and baby clothes, toys, cribs, strollers, maternity clothes and more. The pop up shop was set up by Eleanor Broad and Hanna Tower to help raise funds for the New Life Center Foundation and opened to a full house on Saturday, September 6, 2014.

Local resident Karen brings kids clothes and toys to donate to the shop.

The New Life Center Foundation is a faith based organization that works with ethnic minority women and girls in Thailand and surrounding countries who are at risk for trafficking, labor exploitation and sexual abuse. Started in 1987 the Center has been partnered with the government and other NGOs to help victims of trafficking and give others the tools to avoid trafficking by providing shelter, education, life skills, and vocational training. The pop up shop is a permanent fixture at Promenada and welcomes donations of used baby and kids clothes, toys and other items for children and mothers.

Marc Vermeulen, Director of Project Development for ECC International that manages Promenada, presents Hanna and Eleanor a congratulatory basket on the opening of the new charity kids shop.

Lamphun’s Tai Yong people hold ancient Buddhist merit making ceremony

The local community of Tai Yong people celebrate this event annually.

By Shana Kongmun
Lamphun’s stunning Wat Haripunchai hosted the annual Salak Yom merit making ceremony on September 6 and 7, 2014. Chiang Mai a la Carte, a unique tour agency in Chiang Mai which offers customized experiences joined the Buddhist faithful in this ancient ceremony.
Salak Yom is practiced annually between September and October among the Tai Yong people of Lamphun province. The Tai Yong originally came from Muang Yong in Northern Shan State in Myanmar and migrated to Lamphun in the early 19th century.

The intricate strings tying the Salak Yom to the temples are clear in the setting sun.

The Salak Yom ceremony features the presentation of elaborately decorated “trees of gifts” to the Buddhist monks and novices of the local monasteries, in return for merit and blessings for the donors. The gifts hung on the upper part of the tree are offerings for the monks, such as alms bowls, robes, blankets, palm leaf manuscript holders, dried foodstuffs, and money. The lower half of the tree is decorated with offerings intended for the spirits of the deceased, such as clothing, cigarettes, and accessories. Many of the large Salak Yom trees as well as smaller salak offerings feature framed photographs of the deceased to whom the offerings are dedicated.

Local girls dress in traditional clothes before performing at the ceremony.

Salak Yom means “lottery tree”. The donors of the trees write their name on a piece of paper. After the chanting by monks and novices, these papers are randomly divided among the temple, monks, and novices, who must then find the offerings and the donors written on the paper.
Once the monk has found the donor he gives a blessing transferring merit to the donor and the spirits of the deceased, after which he will carry off the offerings with the help of lay members of his home monastery.

The Salak Yom are pulled by men through the streets.

From the mid 20th century Salak Yom had been in decline but it was revived successfully in 2004 by the provincial authorities of Lamphun.
The first Salak Yom ceremony always takes place at Wat Haripunchai and is a two-day event. Smaller Salak Yom ceremonies then take place at a number of local monasteries. Chiang Mai a la Carte was lucky to join this stunning event as part of their program to offer tourists something completely different.
“There are unique seldom visited temples, local markets, magnificent Lanna architecture, very high-quality handicrafts, botanical gardens and, most importantly, very hospitable and genuinely friendly people. Meeting and getting involved with the people of North Thailand is the biggest attraction of all,” said Chiang Mai a la Carte founder, Frans Betgem who is happy to help spread the word about this “one of a kind” event in Lamphun to visitors.

The Salak Yom are trees of gifts for the monks to make merit for deceased loved ones.

The Salak Yom are tied to the temple with holy strings.

HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]

Kids need glasses too!

FERC raises funds for scholarships

Mums and kids get a second chance

Lamphun’s Tai Yong people hold ancient Buddhist merit making ceremony