Jan 13, 2021

A New Year, New Opportunities and New Hope

Aerial View of the Paksong Region of Thailand
Aerial View of the Paksong Region of Thailand

2021 brings fresh beginnings and renewed hope for a better year for all. 

We want to start this project report with an update on the pandemic in Thailand and the impact as it relates to the Thai Child Development Foundation (TCDF).  Earlier this month, the Thai Government announced that schools would be closed until January 31st in 28 of the hardest hit provinces in the latest wave of the virus and this does include the Paksong region where TCDF is located.

In addition to the school closure, TCDF's EcoLodge must remain closed to tourists and in general the region has restricted movement which means that until the Government gives its okay that any work on implementation of the water management system cannot take place.

However, preparation for the implementation phase has continued and specifically discussions were held with several of the world’s largest irrigation equipment suppliers with the hope of receiving an equipment donation to help reduce the overall costs.  We are delighted to share that we have been able to secure an in-kind donation for the necessary pump, controller and solar panels for the project and the funds raised through GlobalGiving will be allocated specifically to the filters and a perimeter wall for the property.  

Meanwhile, TCDF continues to serve the children, families and villages in the region through their medical care and social support programming.  Their medical care work includes a nutritional program for children in need, physiotherapy for disabled children and medicine and check-ups by specialists.

From a revenue generating perspective, TCDF continues to sell their handmade soaps, herbal teas, fruits and vegetables within the greater region.  Once the Government re-open the region for tourism the priority will be preparing the Eco-Lodge for visitors.

We want to send our best wishes for 2021 and thanks again to those that have supported the Thai Child Development Foundation and this project.  TCDF is committed to becoming self-sustaining within the next three years and this project will be central to helping the attain this goal.

Mount Neverrest TCDF Drone View
Mount Neverrest TCDF Drone View
Jan 5, 2021

Creating a Big Impact through Small Acts of Kindness

Photo of The Garden Project Team in Madagascar
Photo of The Garden Project Team in Madagascar

As we begin 2021, we're pleased to be able to reflect and share some of what has been achieved through our Small Acts of Kindness initiative.

Like so many around the world, the global pandemic has paused much of the work being done by non-profits but it also created an opportunity to address one of the key requests from the groups that BBS supports globally. Namely, to provide professional development for identified learning needs such as effective communication strategies with key stakeholders.

BBS along with The Credibility Institute (based in Montreal, Canada) provided two one-hour learning sessions via Zoom on "Strategic Communication Planning" and "Reconnecting with Your Key Stakeholders During (and After) the COVID Crisis". For each program, two sessions were hosted to cover the broad span of time zones where the BBS supported initiatives are located. Each session was led by Mr. Stephane Prud'homme, Founder and CEO of the Credibility Institute, and included a Q&A session.

A range of topics were addressed throughout the sessions including:

  1. An understanding of public relations (PR) versus marketing;
  2. Identifying key stakeholders, stakeholder influence and strategy mapping;
  3. Effective tools and measurement;
  4. Your reputation as an organisation and introduction to a reputation matrix;
  5. Authentic communication;
  6. Responsible communication and CSR reports. 

Participants represented nearly every corner of the globe including Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Bangladesh, Australia, Germany, United Kingdom, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Uganda, Zimbabwe, United States and Canada.

BBS is appreciative to The Credibility Institute for volunteering their time and expertise to create and deliver programming that addressed the special opportunities, and challenges, of the non-profit sector on this subject.  The Small Act of Kindness Fund supported this project by covering the costs associated with delivering the programming via Zoom as well as the follow-up learning materials on PR for the participants. 

Several other learning opportunities have been identified and BBS will continue to host these learning sessions starting in early 2021.

One of the other items that the Fund supported in late 2020 was the need for gardening tools for a school garden project in rural Madagascar.  NY DINA College is providing an education to 150 rural village children that otherwise would not have had an opportunity to receive an education because of the village's remote location.

One of the key priorities of the school's founder is to ensure the long-term sustainability of the school.  To achieve this end, NY DINA decided to create school fruit and vegetable gardens that will feed the children, provide skill development and be a new revenue stream with the surplus produce sold in the local markets.

The team in Ambohimader, Madagascar, has crafted the garden project in conjunction with local agronomists, built the needed wall around the school property, dug a trench system for watering the property and of course planted the first round of saplings. Through the Small Acts of Kindness Fund, the gardening tools and some of the fruit tree saplings were provided as seen in the pictures included with this report.

Several other projects also received support through this initiative and our current timeline is end of Q1 to be able to report back further.  The noted projects are medicine for the villages in the Javari region of the Amazon and secondly is oxygen tank delivery to the special needs school at the Thai Child Development Foundation in the Paksong region of Thailand.  For now, the on-going COVID crisis has limited travel to the Amazon in an effort to protect the Indigenous people throughout the region. It has been reported that the new variant has now been found in Brazil so time will tell what impact this could have on the region.  The Thailand Government has decided to keep all schools, including the Thai Child Development Foundation school, closed until January 31. The Government has stated that "the closure applies to all education institutions and both informal and formal, public or private, schools".  We are in close contact with our partners on the ground in both regions and will continue to share any updates as we receive them via further reports.

In closing, we wish to say we are beyond grateful for the support received in 2020.  We recognise that 2021 will continue with many hurdles but we are hopeful because of strength we've received through your belief in our work. 

Purchased Gardening Equipment courtesy this Fund
Purchased Gardening Equipment courtesy this Fund
Mr. Prud'homme, Founder, The Credibility Institute
Mr. Prud'homme, Founder, The Credibility Institute
Dec 18, 2020

First Round of Garden Planting is Underway

Planting Has Started!
Planting Has Started!

So much has happened in 2020 at NY DINA College such as the building of the school's perimeter wall, the planning by the local agronomists, the soil and water testing, the trenching of a water system, creation of the composte area and of course the gardening and plant care workshops.

And it has all lead to this point....

The planting of the first delivery of trees and plants!  Working as a team, the agronomists and staff at NY DINA have been busily planting a range of fruit tree saplings as well as other plants.

In this short year end update, we wanted to share the photos we received of the work underway and again say thank you to everyone that has supported this project and help move NY DINA to their goal of becoming self sustaining.

The Planting Team
The Planting Team
A Few Members of the Madagascar Team
A Few Members of the Madagascar Team
Pastor Eugenie... The Supervisor!
Pastor Eugenie... The Supervisor!
 
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