Character and Leadership Training for Thai Youths

by Foundation for Life
Vetted
The participants in the Bowling event
The participants in the Bowling event

What our organization was trying to achieve and why

In the Project "Character and Leadership Training for Thai Youths" , the aim of the Foundation for Life was to help Thai youths be persons of good character, being able to challenge themselves and others in doing good, and buidling their future upon moral and just values. In order to do that, we have to painstakingly take time to be involved in their lives, instill right values and being exemplary in action.

The nature of this type of developmental work is for the long term, and thus, the funding needed to sustain it, has to last a long time too. In order to fund our activitites for the children and youths, we needed to attract both volunteers and donors, to help in giving to and raising the funds to this end.

The idea or method that we tried

One idea that came up was to organise a Bowling Event to raise funds for the Project. The committee had seen this done by an eduational institute and thought that it would be a good idea and something that we could try for ourselves. We were to encourage friends and well-wishers to form teams of 3 to bowl together, and registration fees were incurred. In this way, we hoped to be able to raise the funds for our project. 

Why the idea or method failed 

In our enthusiasm to raise funds, we were focusing on the details of how the event should run, the target amount to aim for, and then we realised that our grassroots leaders and volunteers were mostly truely grassroot level people, whose contacts, friends and supporters were mostly family members, fellow employees and villagers. In addition, they were unlikely to be bowlers, either! 

As bowling is a sport geared towards the population who are better off financially, and who lived in cities where bowling alleys are in existence, our reach for donors were limited to city dwellers who have an interest in bowling, or who are bowlers themselves. On top of that, although we had about 50% of our members living in the capital, the majority were from the poor to lower income groups. Basically, we did not have enough participants to offset the rental charges of the Bowling alley.

To put it bluntly, we did not have the clout for a bowling competition as a fund-raising event.

What we learned from the experience

We learnt through this experience that if we want to raise funds, the more participants, the merrier. In order have more people involved in the fund raising event, the activity has to be one that most people are able to easily participate in.

Secondly, we have to expand our areas of influence and find ways to reach out to a wider audience, than just friends and family alone. While at the same time, each individual volunteer or member need to have a sense of urgency about the project and the current needs, that having enough funds will help to fulfil.

Lastly, we needed to  effectively and simply put our ideas across to people so that they can see and appreciate the needs of our project.

How our organization is using that experience to improve our work

From this experience, we have included activities that most people are able to take part in, for example, participating in a walk rally.

In order to widen our publicity, we were very fortunate to be included in the Global Giving network, both in the US and the UK, and we will work at being on this network as it increases our visibility.

Meanwhile, we are still striving to instil a sense of urgency to our workers and volunteers, that children and youths need help urgently before it is too late to help them form good habits and traits that will carry them safely through an unchartered future, and therefore the urgency to have the funds to enable the developmental work to go on.

Finally, it is an on-going effort for the Foundation to communicate effectively to those within and outside our walls, so that lives of Thai children and youths may be strong from inside out! 

Hence, to fail forward, we need to muse back to see how we can aim up.

Thank you for reading our report.

The Royal Funeral Procession to Grand Palace
The Royal Funeral Procession to Grand Palace

In Remembrance of Our Beloved King Bhumibol

The Foundation was at the height of preparations for the National Leadership Camps to be held this week, when the sad news of the demise of our king Bhumibol was announced throughout the kingdom, on 13 October 2016.

This set the whole nation into mourning and grief. Many events, including concerts, competitions and even some graduation ceremonies, were cancelled or postponed indefinitely.

At the same time, the government announced 1 year of mourning for the Thai people and for all public offices and educational institutes to fly flags at half mast for 30 days.

Meanwhile, the Foundation also felt the deep grief with all Thais in the country and round the world, and decided to postpone the National Leadership Camps to be held next year instead, as the camps were originally planned within the week of the king's passing.

During this week, thousands had flocked to the Grand Palace grounds to pay their respects before the portrait of the late monarch and sign farewell messages during the day, as Buddhist rites were performed and attended by the Royal Family and government officials. The Royal Household Bureau will start allowing mourners to pay tribute inside the Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall in front of the monarch's body from October 28. Millions of mourners are expected to attend, as many poor villagers are making the long trip to the capital city from the provinces, to pay their last tributes to their beloved king.

In response to the king’s teaching on doing good for the society and to show love and tolerance amongst fellow citizens, the Foundation went to the Sanam Luang, near the Grand Palace, to give out snacks and drinks to fellow mourners there.

The Foundation is thankful for the help and support of donors, and for the extension of sympathies from people all over the world.

With thanks,
Vena Lung (Project Leader)

ps. The photographs are by courtesy of the local news from The Nation Multimedia and The 

The Thai people wait outside Grand Palace
The Thai people wait outside Grand Palace
The nation mourns for beloved king
The nation mourns for beloved king
The funeral rites by the royal family
The funeral rites by the royal family
Last minute cancellation of Leadership Camps
Last minute cancellation of Leadership Camps
Foundation distribute snack and drinks to mourners
Foundation distribute snack and drinks to mourners
I will go back ...and form a team
I will go back ...and form a team

Preparing for Service -  Getting the young people ready

It is summer time and the schools are out, but for our young leaders, they have decided to spend part of their school holidays in preparation for a national event... to help to plan and organise activities for both their peers and the younger kids.. an event that will take place in November!

 As our staff  prepare for this retreat, by booking a reasonably comfortable chalet by the beach and arranging for all the logistics related to the training, our other volunteers helped to prepare for food and liased with the teens and their parents.

The teens both boys and girls, were all ready and eager as they came from various parts of Thailand, like in the capital city fo Bangkok, provinces like Chonburi in the east, Saraburi in the north-east and Chiangrai in the north. The bond of friendship that they had built over the years as they came for the progressive leadership trainings, was quickly re-established as they learnt about the ins and outs of running a successful event of games, fellowship and friendly competition. They also had times of sharing, brain-storming and practicing the foot drill steps, so that they can go back to their various centres and begin to teach them to their friends.

Pure was so excited that at the end of the retreat he said,"I will go back to gather my friends and form a team for this event!"

Meanwhile, M (not her real name) added, "I have really been encouraged to be like a good shepherd, to look after those in my team, just as i see the adult leaders have done in preparing for us here!"

The Foundation has seen many of these kids grow up through the years to be better persons and leaders, who are willing to sacrifice their personal comforts in service to others. This is what really motivates all volunteers.

Also, many thanks to donors who help to make our dreams for a better tomorrow here in Thailand!

Any feedback and comments to help us imporove is most welcomed!

 

Best regards,

Vena

Pressenting Ideas to the group
Pressenting Ideas to the group
Volunteers leaders serve as examples
Volunteers leaders serve as examples
Practising the steps
Practising the steps
Laughing at ourselves- Being more self aware
Laughing at ourselves- Being more self aware

Training the Trainers - Back to Harmony

"B" (not her real name) as been serving as a volunteer for many years (19 to be exact) and what has kept her undauntedly pressing on, was her belief that as an adult who has a heart for the young people, she can help befriend them and give advice when in times of crises. At  the same time the task of running activites for these young people can sometimes be tiring and unrewarding, esspecially when misunderstandings occur between the volunteers and even among the clients (the young people as well).

In the Asian Culture, especially in Thai culture, seniority and hierarchy plays a major role in communications and conflict management (or rather non-management). Any disagreements are frowned upon and relationships sour, but are not voiced or cleared, leading to suppressed anger and bitterness.

"B" was experiencing just that, when she came for our Foundation's annual training and retreat for adult volunteers. The Theme for the Seminar was "Back to Harmony" which was conducted by Mr Lai, an expert counsellor and social worker (from Eagles Mediation and Counselling Centre, Singapore) , who deals in mediation matters especially amongst couples, and  family disputes. "B" sat in the seminar and was amazed at how the examples that were brought up were similar to what she was facing. In the duration of the training, she also realised that Conflicts amongst humans were inevitable and was infact not to be avoided, because conflicts helped her to be more aware of herself, and her "opponent" , and she also learnt how to approach the person whom she has conflict with, in a way that would invite a true conversation.

 By the end of the training, "B" related her story and shared that the training has helped her to look at conflict from a different angle and she even tried to apply the principles taught, immediately.

Her response when asked about feedback of the training, she said, "Even from the start of the first hour,I was tearing...how true that we need to be humble and repent of our pride as a start to reconciliation." 

This training is very successful and it’s very enlightening, very relevant and useful in our daily life...." Suzanne, another volunteer commented 

"It was the Group Activity that caused me to have to face and deal with a conflict situation...it was really a ön-the-job-training situation'!", Nit exclaimed, almost in disbelief.

Our Foundation certainly hopes that this practical and useful training would be the start of new culture within the Organisation, to help us learn to agree to disagree, and work harmoniously, using our differences as strengths.

We are grateful to all donors for your continued contribution, to enable us to seek help from experts who can guide and mentor us in our outreach to the children and youths who will also face various conflicts in their lives. We also value any feedback you may have to enrich our experience as well!

Best Regards!

"..very enlightening,..relevant..to daily life."
"..very enlightening,..relevant..to daily life."
"On-the-job-training" Activity
"On-the-job-training" Activity
Trainer emphasizing his point on Conflicts
Trainer emphasizing his point on Conflicts
Little Hannah hands over the Girly Bank
Little Hannah hands over the Girly Bank

Never too Young

It is the belief of the Foundation that it is never too young to begin the process of training a child in good morals and character, because we are confident that when we train up a child in the way he should go... when he is old, he will not depart from it. Indeed it is imperative to give the young ones a solid foundation to LIFE!

The Foundation therefore began pilot projects to reach out to the Pre-schoolers from ages 4 to 6 years, and developing a curricula that would be suitable for the littles to understand and participate in, in a meaningful and impactful way.

While the pilot project was going on, a little girl, Hannah from another part of the world was encouraged by her parents to save up so that she could present her efforts to Aunt V, whom she knows works with the little children living in the Slum Community in Thailand.

Hannah's parents caught hold of Aunt V one day and said that Hannah had filled up her Girly Bank and would like to present it. "The coins in this are for the kids in Thailand," said Hannah, feeling shy as she hands over the Girly Bank to Aunt V.

Meanwhile, Aom, the assistant manager and supervisor of the daycare centre in the Klong Toey slums, has this to say of her children under the program, "I noticed that the children now learnt to live, play and work with other children well!"

To all donors and supporters of our project :- you will never know how much  your efforts has helped the underprivileged children and youths in our projects. All of us, both Volunteers and Receipients would like to take this opportunity to Thank You and wishing you a Very Happy and Prosperous Year in 2016!

Best Regards!From All in The Foundation

1 of the receipents of Hannah
1 of the receipents of Hannah's gift
Thanks from Plern to Hannah!
Thanks from Plern to Hannah!
Teachi kids to be young leaders taking attendanc
Teachi kids to be young leaders taking attendanc
"Children now live, play and work together well"
"Children now live, play and work together well"
 

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Organization Information

Foundation for Life

Location: Bangkok, Thailand - Thailand
Website: http:/​/​www.forlife.or.th
Project Leader:
Vena Lung
Volunteer to the Foundation for Life
Bangkok, Thailand
2016 Year End Campaign
Time left to give
$3,975 raised of $30,000 goal
 
71 donations
$26,025 to go
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