For the past 45 years people from all over the country, not to mention from every corner of the world came to Pattaya to seek their fortune. Workers migrated to the fun city by the sea where they found employment as hotel staff, construction workers, cleaners, gardeners and housekeepers amongst the hundreds of other occupations available in this booming town.
Tourism and the economy boomed at a rapid pace, until the dreaded COVID-19 reared its ugly head two years ago and ruthlessly struck down everyone’s dreams and aspirations. The pandemic did not spare anyone. People on every rung of the economic ladder slipped and fell. Some were able to just barely cling on, while the majority of the low to middle level workers tumbled head first to the ground. Some survived with severe injuries, but too many didn’t.
In and around Pattaya, many of the low-income workers congregate in small communities of their own, renting small pieces of land where they erected shelters made from discarded tin sheets, cardboard boxes, plastic bags and any other scraps they can find.
When the pandemic hit most of these people lost their jobs and with that, they lost everything.
For the past 2 years benevolent organisations and people from all walks of life went around the poverty-stricken communities to alleviate their suffering by bring food and supplies to the destitute families. Rotary is one of these service organisations that has worked incessantly to bring relief to the down trodden.
On January 14, Vice President Jana Keightley and Philip Wall Morris of the Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya together with Apinyarat Chaisayan (Rose) travelled to a tiny community in Nong Plalai sub-district in Pattaya where 7 needy families lived in their shanty dwellings eking out a bare existence.
The Rotarians set up a table stacked with supplies and handed out rice, eggs, Instant noodles, canned fish, palm oil, fish sauce and sugar to each family.
One resident spoke emotionally about how these families had come from many parts of Thailand, leaving their children back home while they worked to earn some money to send back to their families. “We are so thankful to the Rotarians who have come to help us. We wish to thank the elders including the foreigners from the Rotary club, whether you are in Thailand or overseas for your extreme kindness. I don’t how we can ever repay you for your generosity. I am extremely moved and cannot find enough words to express my feelings to thank you for your benevolence. I call upon all that is sacred to bless and protect you and your families from any harm and that you are blessed with good health, happiness and a long life.”
VP Jana Keightley said, “Our Rotary club has been actively distributing food to the poor right from the start of the pandemic and will continue to do so for as long as it takes. In the coming months we will visit poor communities twice a month to bring them food and necessities until the crisis blows over.”
Jana said that, “We are also actively looking for employment for these people so that they can get back on their feet and earn a living for their families again.”