Performers collect flowers from adoring audience
Bill Brower is a Field Program Officer with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners' projects throughout South and Southeast Asia. On February 12 he spent the day at FED’s Family Fund Fundraiser event near Bang Niang.
Pop three balloons with a dart and win a stuffed animal. Kick three of five soccer balls through tires sitting upright and win a clock. Reach into a barrel filled with shredded paper and pull out a mystery prize. Take a shot at any of these carnival games, set up and run by foreign volunteers, for 5-10 Thai baht (about $0.15-$0.20) per go. And all the money goes to a good cause: The educational and welfare programs made available to you and your community by the Foundation for Education and Development.
FED ran the fundraiser in an effort to raise awareness among parents and the wider community, and to increase financial support, albeit at a nominal level, from the beneficiary community. It was certainly a fun approach to local fundraising—an activity not often pursued by organizations in developing communities. But community buy-in helps breed ownership which is key to long term sustainability and success.
FED is serving a long-neglected community: Burmese who have migrated, both legally and illegally, to southern Thailand in search of work. Even those present legally have essentially no rights under Thai law.
In addition to games, the Fundraiser event, which coincided with Burma’s biggest holiday, Burma Union Day, featured traditional Burmese and Thai dancing, singing and other performances. After the different groups performed, they went to the edge of the stage to collect flowers and plastic leis from their friends and family, in a scene worthy of a Celine Dion concert (not that I would know…).
This was the first annual fundraiser and immediately following it Zurine of FED already had ideas for how to improve next year. It seems this learn-by-doing approach serves FED well. Thank you for supporting this project!
Harder than it looks...
Thai pride, too, on Burma Union Day