The October 28 meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC) was both informative and entertaining with two presentations. First up were two members of Rotary Club (RC) Eastern Seaboard, Carl Dyson and Jan Abbink, to give a presentation on two of their charity projects that have made a great deal of difference to families within Thailand. They were followed by 21 ukulele bearing students from the Bamboo School in Buriram.
The RC Eastern Seaboard primary purpose is to aid those less fortunate amongst the Thai people and their children. Through fundraising, they have initiated several projects to meet these aims. Carl and Jan talked about two of these projects.
The first project mentioned was drinking water. The importance of clean water, free from bacteria or chemicals for drinking and cooking cannot be underestimated. Many families may have to rely on rain water or rivers and streams and do not have connection to local authority water.
Carl and Jan demonstrated a simple water filter – pour water in the top, let it slowly drip through to the bottom; a clean pure source of water for drinking. A very low-tech solution for the families.
So, you might think – a low tech filter. Absolutely not, the filters employ nanotechnology, will remove all bacteria, 99.9% of the impurities, and colloidal silver to prevent microbial growth. A PCEC member tasted the water from a filter Carl and Jan had brought along and thought it was better than plastic bottled water. The filters in these containers last 5 to 6 years for a typical family.
RC Eastern Seaboard has now given 16,500 of these filters to families, especially in the North. Carl reported that a local clinic reported over a 90% decrease in gastrointestinal problems once the filters were given out. This simple system was developed by RC Eastern Seaboard to provide better health for Thais that don’t have access go good drinking water. They also mentioned that RC Eastern Seaboard has also installed many permanent water filtration systems in schools.
The second and most uplifting project is the RC Eastern Seaboard’s Christmas Bag Appeal. The members of PCEC were invited to look at the new printed Christmas bag being used for this year’s appeal. The idea is to fill the bag with a selection of toys, crayons, coloring books, a few sweets and basic things such as shampoo, a toothbrush, soap, etc.
This project relies totally on the fundraising efforts of members of RC Eastern Seaboard through various activities and members of audience were asked to contribute. They hope that 1,000 bags can be distributed this year. This project focuses on some of the most deprived communities, especially amongst migrant children. Many children have very little, so this project spreads a little Christmas cheer.
Following the RC Eastern Seaboard’s presentation was the entry of 21 children from the Bamboo School in Buriram. It was a moving experience for the PCEC audience watching the youngsters’ enthusiasm as they played on their ukuleles; not quite something you would associate with Thailand – but uniquely refreshing. The children introduced themselves and explained the ethos of their school- such as learning about the disabled by spending time in a wheelchair.
This school provides education, community development, training for the young people to set up their own businesses, and business loans – help for some of the most disadvantaged children. The school offers these life and occupational skills and encourages the students to be innovative and to think outside the box. They are involved in many of the management aspects of the school through a Student Cabinet and several Student Operating Committees.
The school was founded by Mechai Viravaidya who is the founder and chair of Population and Community Development Association. He previously gave a presentation about the school to the PCEC. A summary can be found in Pattaya Mail at http://www.pattayamail.com/ourcommunity/new-dawn-rural-thai-education-200223.
After the presentation, MC Ren Lexander brought everyone up to date on upcoming events and then called on member Ann Ensell to conduct the Open Forum portion of the meeting where questions are asked and answered and comments made about Expat living in Thailand, Pattaya in particular. For more information about the PCEC and their activities, visit www.pcec.club.