Kharma Foundation: who are the Volunteers?
Over the 12 year running we have had many faces that have traveled far and wide to help. We thank them all from the bottoms of our heart and we think all donors would agree and we are sure the 3000+ children will agree!
The core team members of the last years are:
Janpen Kaewmontree aka Noodle
Ms. Noodle is the engine of the bunch, the chef, the communicator. It helps that she speaks Thai… 🙂
She helps find the schools, keeps the lines open and she is a bright face on the trips. Together with the kids and other volunteers she fills the hungry bellies for breakfast, lunch and dinner and almost always scores straight A’s in taste.
She loves every dog we have ever met on each trip with the same passion.
Noodle comes from Sisaket, Thailand and was raised in a big loving farmer’s family with 8 brothers and sisters. She has studied at the Sisaket University and lives in Pattaya. She is an ace visa consultant and an amateur chef kitchen princess.
Lucy Travers aka the Bape
Lucy is a driving force behind the KF and every year manages to touch enough people’s hearts with pleas to help us as she gets many donations. Her support makes our donations possible. She loves going on the trips as well, hands on, no couch supporter. We have driven through bush fires and over mountain ridges; nothing fazes this girl. Lucy has reached every village we set out to reach. She helps cooking, playing, laughing and connecting with the kids. As the only farang woman in the group she gets the looks from both the men and the women high up the mountains that maybe once or maybe never seen blonde hair and a great warm smile.
Lucy comes from Stoke, England and lives in Pattaya. She works for the biggest club disco in the coastal town and is amazing at her job.
She can out-drink most men but gets out of bed the next day to play netball or other sportive activities. A woman with many faces, all of them are good.
Scott Cowin aka Mr. Breakfast
Scott has traveled the most kilometers for the Kharma Foundation (maybe besides one other member), literally half way across the globe if you add them all up. Driver first class, breakfast creator extraordinaire; doesn’t matter with what crappy cooker or how deep in the jungle, a perfect English breakfast will be on your plate. Scott has helped build, construct, excavate for over a decade. Stairs, dormitories, mushroom houses, veggie gardens, you name it; he helped creating them. And to top it all off his Dad throws the Kharma Finished Celebration parties in his backyard if we are in Chiang Mai. A true family effort.
Scott was born in Basingstoke, England and is the oldest of 3. He moved to Thailand at an early adult age and has built up a nice future in restaurants and a bar. He is the proud dad of Toby, a wonderful young lad that will surely come along with the Kharma trips in years to come.
Mark and Charlie Jones aka Batman and Robin
Mark is the father of our youngest volunteer Charlie. A father and son team that is always ready for an adventure. Together they fish for donations and get clothing and toys from Charlie’s school friends. Mark and Charlie are the first ones on the field on sports day and are almost more fanatical than the kids. Both are good football players but are up for any sport.
Mark was born in Reading, England and also moved to Thailand at a young adult age. He is a shareholder in a good running company and is luckily able to join us every year. Charlie was born in Pattaya, Thailand the same year we did the first Kharma Foundation action.
Pi Sompong aka Papa Kharma
SP or Sompong is our caretaker in the true sense of the word. With his connections and experience he has arranged the right protection from higher hand as the areas we travel to are not always completely safe. He has friends in the right places and it is nice to know there are at least one or two armed people with us. In general all teachers bear arms too; the region is volatile at certain times. But we are in good hands and have never had any troubles. SP is known to be one of the loudest snorers in South East Asia so we are all happy if he sleeps some distance away from us 🙂
Sompong was born in Tak province, Thailand and this is the main province of many of our projects or at least close by. It helps when doors need to be opened. He lives in Pattaya and is a managing director of a company and takes care of Charlie and has a role as a Thai father figure.
And last but not least Martin Haasbroek aka Fat Santa
It started with a wish in a hospital bed in 2007… it became a reality and suddenly, a decade plus later it is dream come true. The Kharma Foundation: a cause, a challenge, a heavy object sometimes, a stress factor, a tear jerker; but above all a super cool week where friends come together and do something, anything for kids who can use our support.
Martin tries his hardest to manage the logistics, the plans, the finances; luckily with support of Ms. Noodle, Lucy and the others. He is pretty clumsy on site, but that is what you would expect from a whale in the jungle.
The villagers and teachers look in awe of his size, the kids fear that this is the white giant that is coming to eat them (a Thai folklore story). Luckily with many smiles and Mr. Bean kind of jokes he manages to break the ice and personally loves every minute of every trip.
Martin was born and raised in the Netherlands, and moved to Thailand in his mid twenties. He lives in Pattaya and is the managing director of a successful bar on the famous Walking Street.
One other person worth to mention is Nion Sunpawishu and her team now doing similar projects under the name KFAM or Karma Family. Nion was there from the first day of the Kharma Foundation and her current group of volunteers are amazing people that educate, play, teach and build in the troubled South of Thailand and other hard to reach areas. Thank everything that is holy that there are a lot of well willing people out there trying to help where it is really needed.