We hope that when this letter reaches you, you are in good health, happy as far as possible and hopefully the weather isn’t terrible just yet. We are experiencing the wet season at the moment, sliding in to our 3 week winter time of low 27’s and even 26 degrees.
De 11th edition of the Kharma Foundation is upon us. 11 years where we together try our best to give a positive signal to the world: together we try to help some kids in need. And we may say, 11 years of successful projects possible by your amazing support.
Sadly 2017 has been tainted by many natural disasters, the ongoing drama with the Rohingyas in Mayanmar and the terrorist attacks close to home in the UK and Europe. Luckily there is also good news from a slightly better economy but it sometimes seems that the negativity wins from the positivity in the world. Gladly we take you by the hand to a little tiny village far away in remote mountains, where a group of a 150 children can use a helping hand.
May in introduce you to the village called Jo Phra Key? It is small village literally on the border of Thailand and Myanmar. The school goes by the same name. The villagers are mostly farmers and their kids love learning. It is probably the most desolate place we have ever been to, which makes it exciting but also brings a lot of hurdles. You can only reach this place by boat, helicopter or via a road that leads through Myanmar. De boat takes about 6 hours upstream, back will be much faster. It will be a huge challenge to get it all there on location; but the bigger the challenge the more we like it. The more desolate, the less help actually arrives.
The school, once more run by the Border Patrol Police, receives little support outside the government help due to its location. The head teacher Pi-Pratinya has confirmed with us about 10 times if we are sure we are coming. That only makes our excitement grows as we have been to some remote places before, if we dare to come. To go to places where little or no help arrives, where white people seldom or never have been seen, to go where our limited support is mostly appreciated and needed.
The biggest needs or the biggest items on the wish list are toilets and a dormitory. If you see the pictures you quickly see why…
And the toilets:
As you see, there is a lot we can do to support the wishes to make these better.
The classrooms and the cantina/mess hall also need some tender love and care but we first have to see how we are looking financially in a few months.
There is also no playground, one of our favorite donations ever, but there are a lot of very young kids. So we hope this year we can also bring a lot of smiles to these smallest faces when they first get on a swing or the spinner. How to get it on location is a big part of our puzzle. But the head master has promised us all the support they can give. And fortunately we have a good contact with the general of the BPP, so probably some things will be brought via helicopter airlift.
Besides the big building projects we want to focus on our usual targets like better nutrition, sleeping comfort, school material, sporting equipment, clothing and toys.
As you all can see we have picked a proper challenging project this year to bring to a positive conclusion. I hope you all like this challenge and want to support. Tell your family and friends about our little ratpack of volunteers, about how every single quid or baht will actually arrive at the children, how we all donate ourselves. We have no flashy building, no lease cars, no meetings or lunches that get deducted. We are just a group of people that with your support, so we all joined together; try to be good for others.
I found this old Chinese proverb the other day that is pretty fitting with our cause: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”
We all have been fortunate enough by hard work to find true wellbeing and prosperity, of course by some luck and by support of family and friends. How beautiful it is that we are in a position to help others? We sincerely hope you are all willing to join once more, or to join for the first time.
Our thanks are huge, but not bigger than the smiles we will make appearing on the faces of these kids, when we finish this project in a positive way.
We wish you all a fantastic day and we hope that good fortune and happiness will smile upon you all.
The Kharma Volunteers
Pattaya, Thailand, 4-November- 2016.
Dear Kharma friends,
Here we are again. It’s an honor to write to you for the 10th consecutive year: 10 years of the Kharma Foundation!It is said all too often but how does the time fly by.
From visiting an orphanage for a day in 2007 to building dormitories, toilets and mess halls deep in the jungle; it has been a beautiful ride with amazing memories along the way.
The fantastic help of all the volunteers and the fantastic donations of all of you… together we have made the Kharma Foundation (KF) possible. And we hope that we can go on for many more years to try to change the lives of kids for the better.
The future plans for the next decade are to deliver more structured help based on the philosophy of the KF with a focus on 12 key areas. These areas have to be present if we want to create the most optimal learning and living environment for the children. For example: good buildings, quality study material, nutritious food, decent sleeping quarters and so on.
In ten years you learn some valuable lessons of what is wanted and needed. We will add the first draft of the KF philosophy as an attachment to this email.
“Kharma goes Valentine 2017: Por Bu La Kee School” This year we will, once again, go to a school close to the border of Myanmar, high in the mountains of North Thailand. Same as last year we will be working together with mister Maha who is in charge of all the Border Patrol Police schools in Tak province.
For us it is important to find a school that needs our help, but also that this school has a head teacher that appreciates the donations and will maintain them. Only then our donations find the right place and the kids will benefit the most from them.
Expressing our wish to mister Maha he has introduced us to mister Kittichai, the head teacher of the Por Bu La Kee School. The school is in a hard to reach area; when visiting for the research trip the 80 kilometers from the highway to the school took us about 6 hours.
The head teacher is a stocky man with a big broad smile that gave us a good vibe straight away. Everywhere kids but also the villagers along the way would come to the roadside to greet him and wave. It was obvious this man was truly loved by the locals. He is a very driven man, trying to find donations to sponsor small and big projects he does for ‘his kids’. Exactly what we are looking for: a motivated teacher with passion in creating a better life for his students.
We have agreed with him to help him with some big projects he really needs done. One is fixing the dormitories for the boys and girls as they look in a terrible state as you will see on the photos. Second is a good and safe playground. Third is a donation of some desktop computers with learning material for the children. And then we will support some small donations of paint, toys, sports equipment etc.
The next thing we are happy about is that mister Kittichai is really up for his school being an example of a properly run school for other schools in the area. He will help us find schools we can lift up to the level his school is. This will be based on the 12 areas described in the KF’s philosophy. He will help us find other schools with passionate head teachers for future projects.
Thirdly mister Maha will assist us with setting up a structured way to keep track of the schools we have supported and we will receive updates with pictures and some feedback from the kids. This is what we always wanted and with the right support we will get there.
Just helping once is good; building relationships with the school and teachers is much better.
Very soon we will be receiving the information of another school called Le Pho Dae, about one hour drive from Por Bu La Kee. We also want to support this school with this year’s project.
The roads are terrible during and just after the rainy season, so realistically by the time we are receiving donations and we can start transporting all the goods for the projects to the school its January and then the building and renovating can start. The event will be once more the “Kharma goes Valentine” as we will be visiting the schools in mid or end of February 2017.
We truly wish and hope we can count on your very much appreciated and often ongoing support. We will add some awesome pictures of the last years and pictures of the recent research trip.
As every year we will close the letter with the wise words of Franklin D. Roosevelt but not before we thank you for your support and the honor it is to do this bit of good work together. We hope the photos will bring some joy for you this day. It is something very beautiful what we managed to put together in a world that can be grim at times.
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
A very friendly greeting,
The fantastic volunteers of the KF