Bringing Joy and Warmth to All
Once the knitted caps and blankets were packed and transported to the areas where they were to be distributed, teams followed soon after to help with the distribution.
In Chiangrai, Hilltribe children who were studying on the lowlands waited expectantly for the blankets, when they knew that the Foundation has sent blankets for them, just before they went on their journey back up to their villages in the hills. All were beaming with joy when they received their brand new brightly coloured blankets, in time for the cold season.
The Foundation then made her way to Chiangmai, to the foothills of Samerng, met with another group of Hilltribe teens, who were celebrating together. As dusk came and the night grew colder, the teens and villagers were happy to recieve the winter knitted caps, to dorn on and bring home.
Within the next few days, volunteers travelled to meet some who were already there, to meet with students in the hills of Samerng. The team used the opportunity to interact with the kids and gave out the winter caps, which were received with much excitement and laughter. The team also visited homes of the hilltribe community and learnt about their life-style and about the cash crop, which they grow, which was strawberries, and how it was a poor and late crop this year.
It was a meanigful time of sharing and exchange for everyone involved.
Love and Concern Knits Us Together
The Foundation has always been on the lookout for opportunities to serve the poor and underpriviledged, and we are also aware that when the cold weather comes to Thailand, especially in the hilly areas, we will need to quickly mobilise ourselves to meet the needs of the suffering. Thailand being in the tropics, is generally hot or rainy in its weather, therefore when the temperature drops, most are ill-prepared for it, especially the poor who live from hand to mouth.
As a result, the Foundation decided to embark on a pilot project (in June) to robe in Volunteers to help with knitting woollen caps, in preparation for the coming winter (December till February). The target was to 600 knitted caps for the needy.
Once the project was launched, volunteers started to even make homemade knitting needles from chopsticks, while the Foundation sourced for yarn, via either donations or sales. A core group of about 5 Volunteers soon spread to include others, some are employees of companies, some kidney dialysis patients, some students and even housewives.
Slowly, the number of knitted caps increased from 50 till 100 till in the end we reached our goal of 600 caps , plus a few extras! This pilot project gave everyone a sense of unity and achievement, and truly knitted all of us, the giver and the receiver, in love and concern or each other.
Thank you for being a part of this tapestry of goodwill and love to those in need!
The Foundation would like to take this opportunity to wish all supporters and donors a very Happy New Year and may you have a year of good health and prosperity, as you continue to make life meaningful for the less fortunate.
As a result of your generous donations, we have been able to directly help hundreds who have been affected by the great flood that occured in Thailand.
Because of your compassion, the despondents were given life-paks which included meals to stave their hunger, dried foodstuff for when no one could reach them and when there is no electricity to cook their food, portable and hygenic toilets to prevent the spread of diseases, medicines for fungal infections that are rampant when the body is in contact with water all the time, milk powder and pampers for the babies, and most important of all, clean drinking water, when even the public utilites were infiltrated with the flood waters that flowed through heavy industrial parks and sewerage.
When the Kasetsart University in Nakhon Prathom set up the Evacuation Centre (for people as well as animals) there, the Foundation donated shampoo to the centre, provided the children evacuees with activities, and our team of volunteers even bathed the distressed dogs of flood victims as well! In addition, blankets were donated in time for the cold weather in the evacuation centre. Volunteer also helped with physical therapy too!
At the same time, the disaster had also affected the rice fields in the North-east province of Saelaphum, and the Foundation was able to help with the rehabilitative efforts there.
Meanwhile, youth volunteers learnt how to make biodegradeable detergents, which were then given to the flood victims when they had to clean up the mess left by the flood.
Due to the floodwaters that had flowed from the north down to the lower central plains near Bangkok, it had left the distric of Chalongkrung like an island, surrounded by water, and the community there were unable to leave their homes because the water level was too high for cars or trucks to drive through. The Foundation responded by bringing life-paks to the children and their families, as soon as the flood receded, to help lighten the burden on the families, as they were mostly labourers receiving daily wages.
Post-flood Relief work also included giving out Christmas presents to help cheer badly affected flood victims who lived by the river banks in Ayutthaya, as well as gathering data from victim for researchers who were looking into the responses of the authorities, speed of news of the coming disaster and source of help.
At the same time post-flood rehabilitative sponsorships were given to 20 victims who were badly affected to help them get back to normalcy in life.
The Foundation again wishes to thank all who had a share in Making the World a Better Place through your Giving!
Eversince the devastation of the 2011 Floods in Thailand, the country has been on the alert for further flooding this year. The Government has spent billions repairing and improving infrastructures for flood prevention. Corporations that had their factories submerged in the flood waters have made preparations on flood prevention measures, in coorperation with the government.
Yet inspite of all these, when the rainy season started in July, and with the incoming tropical storms, the rivers started to swell and northern provinces experience flash floods, some lasting slightly more than 2 weeks, affecting businesses, schools and homes.
The lastest on the flood situation in Thailand is as follows: 15 provinces has already experienced the floods at present (24 September 2012), affecting 70,818 homes and 214,220 people.
On 24 Sep, we got news from our volunteer in Phisanuloke province, that the district of Bang Rakam is experiencing flooding. This is district is situated in the lowlands along the River Yom, and it receives water from the Sukothai province. Every year the Sukothai province will experience floods at least for 2 months of the year, and the Bang rakam province will thus be affected as well.
As a result the Foundation will be getting our volunteer there to survey the damages experienced by the families and to see what help is needed for them there.
4 October: Our volunteer had to go to the flooded area and interview the situation amidst transportation difficulties, buy and bring the food supplies right up to the doorsteps of those who were affected. She interviewed and gave out life-paks to 31 families who needed it most, and these victims voiced their heartfelt gratitude, as assistance came in timely, since most of them were daily waged employees who live from hand to mouth and the flood had affected their jobs as well.
Meanwhile, the Foundation has been on the lookout for those victims whom we have helped last year. The floodwaters are flowing southwards, nearing those who had been affected. We will be on the alert and will be watching out, ready to give assistance when needed.
The Foundation is grateful to all donors who have sacrificed your earnings, so as to help the less fortunate, who are unable to get out of the poverty cycle without outside help. We also welcome any feedback or comments that will enable us to better our services to those in need.
With sincere thanks.... from the Thai people
Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Thailand:
As I was driven around the neighborhood where Foundation For Life responded to the floodings in 2011, Vena explained that they went where they received calls for help. A majority of this happened near the river. The flooding lasted 2-3 weeks in cenral Bangkok and FFL responded to areas that were not receiving supplies and support with volunteers providing emergency survival packs, food, water, blankets, and diapers because parents of young children began to request them. Vena, the project leader, explained: “imagine rubbish and dead dogs floating to your home in stagnant water for weeks.” Not only this but many people were dying from electrocution since many downed power lines and outlets, that were not turned off, were exposed to unknowning people wading through the waters.
Another Founation For Life staff explained that the waters rose in 30 minutes. When it began to flood, one volunteer from Foundation for Life called for help. The water rose to flood the entire first floor so the large family had to all move upstairs – where they stayed for 2 weeks. When I arrived with Foundation for Life staff, the mother started crying. The whole event was so traumatizing for her and her family both emotionally and physically because both her and her husband had strokes before the flood. Foundation For Life returns frequently to check on the family. When leaving, we were thanked continuously by the family.
You can still see the lines of where the flood waters rose and stayed. At a workshop I hosted, I saw someone knitting something. This would be one of the hats that would be distributed to children in the north and perhaps In future floods. Volunteers knitting hats and blankets for the oncoming cold season as well as for future disaster.
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Volunteer to the Foundation for Life