Jesters Care For Kids at Baan Kru Boonchoo for Special Children

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Jesters Care for Kids Charity Drive 2012, sponsored by Glencore International and Canadian Jackalope Open

On Saturday, August 18th, Lewis [Woody] Underwood and Bernie Tuppin, representing Jesters Care For Kids, joined a large group of dignitaries and well-wishers to celebrate the official opening of the Special Education Centre named in honor of Kru Boonchoo Muangmaitong in Sattahip.

Jesters Care for Kids has been assisting the development of this facility since 2005 when they supplied playground equipment for a small group of disabled children at Khao Baisri School. These special children, mainly autistic, afflicted with Down’s syndrome or cerebral palsy, were in the care of Boonchoo and she had only one small classroom. She explained how she had started with only five special children at first but this had soon grown and the demand was increasing to the point where she had to put some of them up in her own home.

In 2006, Jesters agreed to expand their facilities and fund the conversion of some pre-existing buildings into classrooms and build additional toilets. This ended up being a temporary fix as there were more children coming in as day visitors. Boonchoo’s intention then was to establish a larger centre on land she owned nearby.

When the Jesters were approached to aid in the construction of classrooms, it was explained to her that they could not commit to such a project on privately owned land. Boonchoo had a solution to this problem, which was to donate her land to the District 12 Education Department. Jesters were then able to assist in converting the salas into classrooms.

Kru. Boonchu poses with Bernie at Khao Baisri. Kru. Boonchu poses with Bernie at Khao Baisri.

Jesters, with the help of major sponsors such as The Herrod Foundation, agreed to fund the construction of a new building to include a kindergarten, therapy room, storage room and toilet block. With this project completed in 2009, student numbers have grown to more than 30 special children, about half living on site, and the teachers and therapists were supplied by District 12.

As student numbers continued to increase, costs escalated and the Jesters decided to donate B10,000 per month to assist with food supply, and recently agreed to fund dental treatment for all students.

It was at this time that a generous sponsor donated another rai of land adjoining to the existing buildings and planning begun for more classrooms and meeting rooms. Jesters Care for Kids were among many organizations, such as the Pattaya Sports Club, and other businesses that donated to this project, which took almost two years to complete. The facility now cares for 57 special needs children, 27 of whom live on site with dedicated and professional staff attending to them.

It has been quite a journey to this point and the Jesters Care For Kids with many others have been privileged to have been along for the ride. Saturday’s ceremony was a testimony to what one person with a dream can achieve, with determination, perseverance, confidence and self sacrifice.

Khun Boonchoo has made this all happen!