Dear Donors and Supporters,
In 2007 the idea of the Kharma Foundation (KF) was founded and 9 years later I am very happy to write to you after another successful journey: “Kharma Foundation goes Valentine 2016”. Nine is a lucky number in Thailand and I feel lucky to be a part of this great cause.
Today is the worldwide day of love and we have tried to spread some love with the support of many of you out there. I say ‘we’ as it was yet another group effort of donors and volunteers.
Over the years we have had some changes in the ranks, but the goals and the spirit remains the same.
9 years and the Kharma Foundation is still alive and kicking. Already 9 years of unselfish volunteers and donors that take the time to improve the lives of children that can use a helping hand.
This year the volunteers were: Scott, Lucy, Mark, Nat, Charlie, Phil, Bo, Sompong, Thanasat, Nirandon, Tharagon, Pornsak, myself and last but not least Janpen; a varied group from different nations and backgrounds but together in their love to do something positive.
We travelled to the district of Umphang in Tak province, the most desolate of regions in Thailand. Accessible only via the Death Highway and even when you reach the ‘capitol’ Umphang; not more than a village, it was still a long and uncomfortable travel to the two schools over dirt roads and small mountain paths. Nature’s beauty all around as far as your eyes can see but you soon realize that due to the remoteness of this part of Thailand not much help arrives to these schools and these children.
The two schools are named the Mae Chan Ta school in Mae Chan and the Le Tang Ku school near the Le Tang Ku waterfall. Both under control of the border police as they are close to Myanmar. The second school was literally 1 kilometer from the border; an imaginary line in a mountainous jungle.
Due to the great help of Lucy bringing greater awareness to the KF we have managed to outscore all expectations and gathered the highest amount of donations in the history of the KF.
We have managed to support 5 ‘building projects’ and the following donations of goods to both schools:
Building projects at the Mae Chan Ta school
– new toilet bowls and tiles to create a more hygienic toilet space
– brand new washing area to clean plates and clothes
– 6 new water tanks that hold 12000 liters of water
– a revamp of the dormitory for the children that sleep in the school
Building project at the Le Tang Ku school
– a brand new and bigger cantina annex activities hall
We donated a brand new playground to the Mae Chan Ta school, and this was HUGE success.
Goods donated to both schools:
– 1000 kilos of rice to both schools
– 100 kilos of glass noodles
– professional water filtering system with 2 years of filters
– 2 pairs of flip flops (slippers) for all children of both school, 625 in total
– for every child a big new towel
– a new toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and soap
– thick mattresses, new pillows and blankets for the children that sleep at school, about 70 in total
– mosquito nets for the kids and teachers
– over a 100 kilos in canned food like fish and vegetables for both schools each
– cooking equipment and cooking ingredients like oil, fish sauce, salt, etc.
– school learning equipment like books and paper
– school materials like pens, pencils, paint, glue, scissors, staplers, etc.
– board games for social interaction and play
– sports equipment like footballs, volleyballs, Takrow balls & badminton gear
– a cuddly brand new teddy for each of the 625 children
– a variation of other toys for the older children like etcha-sketcha’s
– a small gift to the permanent teachers in the philosophy “happy teacher, happy kids”
– a multitude of snacks as prizes for the sports day and general rewards in class
– and last but not least 200 new sport shirts for the Mae Chan Ta school for sports activities!
As you see, we have spent the donations wisely and we put the funds to good use. We try to find the right balance between the four goals we have: a better place to sleep, education, nutrition, sports & fun.
The visit to both schools was amazing and both head teachers were very grateful that a group of foreigners came to lend some support to ‘their’ children. Unselfish help, help with no strings attached.
They had only once seen a group similar to us years ago but they turned up and unloaded a lot of stuff, took pics with the kids and the boxes of goods and gifts… then loaded it all up again and drove off without leaving anything behind! No good glory hunters that misuse the children to make some profits.
For us to come and help, with no hidden intentions, no bible in hand like previous American churches did to seek more followers, not looking for any other reward then just seeing happy smiles on the kids’ faces… that was new to them. And happy faces we did see. The expression on the faces of the kids after they saw the playground and played non-stop till the sunset was priceless to see.
The children that sleep in the school were completely overfilled with joy with their first ever mattress. Just imagine how good they have slept that first night and every night since on a 4 inch thick mattress after laying on a bamboo woven mat… and a brand new pillow and blanket to make it complete.
The kids that got their first teddy could not stop hugging it and were even happier when we drove off and not asked it to be returned to us; of course they could keep it! The more than 200 four different color shirts for the schools’ sport day look perfect on the children as you will see in the photos.
One job was left unfinished and that was the plastering and painting of the inside walls of the dormitory in the Mae Chan Ta school. The technicians/police officers to do this job were called away to perform urgent police duties of stopping illegals crossing the border nearby after a new conflict within Myanmar.
But we have the promise that this task will be finished soon and we will keep you updated with the pictures when it is done. For now the new mattresses, pillows and blankets were a good first step.
All in all I can only conclude it was yet another successful mission! 1000’s of kilometers, 1000’s of kilos, 1000’s of smiles, 1000’s of good memories. The group of volunteers was simply great. Everybody supported each other and there was not one negative vibe the whole trip. Enjoying the trip is the reward we were looking for and all the new volunteers enjoyed every minute. The travelling was hard and it was like being in a different part of the world; a place where time has stood still.
The kids, oh the kids… their smiles, their faces, their energy! It was amazing. Shy the first day as usual but the second day the interaction was great. For most of them, the younger ones, it was the first time they saw actual white giants in real life… not on a T.V. screen, but in real, in their school! We have some great portrait pictures for you to enjoy.
I want to thank each donor for supporting our modest efforts to try to do something positive in the world. Each donation, big and small, is greatly appreciated and needed to make these charity trips to a success. I want to personally thank Club Insomnia Pattaya, Legends pool hall Pattaya, Braintrainer Plus Netherlands and Care for Kids Charity for their great support.
Then lastly my sincere gratitude goes out to the volunteers to take time out their busy lives and make the trip to a successful trip and a fun trip. Thanks to Sompong and his friends for the good guidance and care. Thanks to the general mister Amarit for his support and the opening of doors. And a special thank you to my girlfriend Janpen; without you and all your time and energy it would have not gone so well… You are Kharma’s super star for 2016!
I hope you enjoy the photos we have selected and of course I hope together we will keep the Kharma Foundation around for many years to come!
Martin and the volunteers
-The Kharma Foundation-