KHARMA GOES VALENTINE 2019: BAAN KO PRAE IN MAE SERIANG!

Pattaya, 1 November 2018

Dear family, friends, donors and supporters,

Does the name Baan Ko Prae ring a bell? No? That could be correct. For us it did neither.

If you look at the location of the village and school, its only 30 km south of the school we visited last year, Jo Phra Key, but with the mountains in between it is a world apart. And these mountains and inhospitable lands we know all too well from our dare devil trip last year.

    

The School is also named Ko Prae and has 122 kids studying there in the last count. 45 kids sleep in the school in 2 dormitories; girls and boys. We know the head teacher via the contacts we have built up in this area. He is a young, well willing, good spirited Border Patrol Police soldier named mr. Chaidean, and he has a good heart for his kids.

And we think: the wishes, the personality, the location: this is a Kharma job!

The first part of the trip will be familiar for us, Bangkok to Chiang Mai to Mae Seriang, off road pick ups through the Salawin national park… but then a new part starts. We have to do 3 hours in a boat an then the last leg of the journey we need to walk to reach the school. It will be fine for most of our team, one or two need to do a bit (a lot) or training. We have to walk through a dry river bedding, over a mountain and voila, we have arrived.

We are very familiar with the reality: the harder they are to reach, the help and support gets lesser and lesser and so they need our support more.

The teachers and the villagers are very happy we have chosen to support their plight in getting a better school for their kids. They have heard of our adventures last year and know that we are not afraid of a few challenges like forest fires, mountain paths and ravines.

The school is made up out of a few wooden buildings, vegetable gardens, a small play area and two dormitories. Its all very basic, there is almost no power as the old solar cells are not yielding enough power to support lights etc. At night time it is pitch black besides oil lamps and camp fires. We hope to change this. The whole village is without electricity. Also water is not in abundance like previous schools that were close to a river. Only during the rainy season a little stream a kilometer away, originally named Ko Prae as well, supplies water during that time.

    

Everything donated will have to make the same journey by boat and by foot, so everything has to be in small pieces. Only the playground will be a problem. Or let’s say a puzzle; a challenge. But with the positive will power of the villagers and parents we will manage.

The wish list of the school is:
1. A new solar cell installation with inverter and batteries
2. New toilets build of cement and wood, 7 pieces
3. Dormitory for the 25 girls
4. Beds, blankets, pillows, towels for 45 kids
5. School stuff like books, stationary, etc.
6. School uniforms
7. Sport equipment, canned food for emergency, flip flops
8. Toothbrushes, soap, washing detergent, etc.
9. A computer and a printer
10. Playground and toys

It is a big shopping list and it will be challenge to fulfill it all. We hope we can make them happy with all of it, but as always we will focus on the important things first and go from there.

    

As you all can see we have a nice challenge ahead of us. More details and pictures will follow in the next weeks. We have a good contact with the teacher, but only when he is down from the mountain. At the school there is no way for contact as the satellite connection is not working due to the lack of electricity.

The plan as it stands is that we visit the school in the last week of February or the first week of March, depending on the building projects being finished. Also depending on when the group of volunteers can get off from their respective jobs.

We would like to finish the newsletter as always with the famous words, and our mantra, well said by Franklin D. Roosevelt: “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.”

We hope you all want to support us again and we hope you can convince others to join us too. Anything and everything we do is made possible by your support. Let us thank you already.

The only thing bigger than our thanks will be the big smiles on the faces of the kids, the teachers and the parents when this project is completed successfully; Kharma Foundation going Valentine 2019!

Sincerely yours,

The Kharma Foundation volunteers

For donations in Thailand: Kasikorn Bank 503-2-33051-9 Jomtien Branch (Martin Haasbroek)

For the people in the UK: Natwest Bank account number 13557777 Sort code 54 10 27 (Lucy Travers)

 

 

RESULTS OF THE KHARMA GOES VALENTINE TRIP 2018

Dear Donors and Friends of the KF,

De muscle ache is gone, the calm has settled in; time to update you all on the results of the 11th Kharma Foundation project.

First some figures:

We have received over 1 million Baht this year, to be exact 1.088.000 Baht which is about 25.300 GBP. We have created 2 brand new dormitories, made from teak wood. This hard wood is native to the region and the buildings will last over 25 years with minimal upkeep. Even the tropic weather can’t hurt these beauties. We also have had built 10 toilet/washing rooms. They are made of bricks and hard wood and should last at least 15 years. So also for the next generations there are safe places to sleep and proper toilets. Together these 3 projects have cost just a little less than 15.000 GBP.

We have also donated mattresses, pillows, blankets and mosquito nets valued at about 1.900 GBP.
The factory had delivered the wrong size mattresses and instead of the 1 person mattresses we ordered, they delivered 2 person mattresses; so we doubled the sleeping space for free. We have donated 11 mattresses to the 11 huts that is the village Jo Phra Key; this so the kids and parents that live there will sleep more comfortable.

Then the playground… this is the most fun donation for the kids. 5 brand new items like seesaws, slides, swings, a helicopter and a spinner. From the minute they were placed there was a traffic jam of kids that were playing on them nonstop. 3 items were ready to use when we were there, 2 still have to arrive. They are too big to transport by pick-up and will be brought by the army helicopter in the next few days. The kids have something to look forward to. The value of the playground plus delivery is 2040 GBP.

Besides all this we have donated dried food, kitchen equipment, books, stationary and other school stuff; and as always sports equipment. Total value: just over 2700 GBP. And we bought a teddy bear for all the 150+ kids for about 300 GBP in total.

This year the logistics and the transport was not only a nightmare but also expensive. Over 10 pick-ups, motorbikes and people to carry the heavy items; in total we spend 2.650 GBP on transport.

We have about 26.000 Baht (600 GBP) left for our next year’s project.

For a small cause sponsored by just family, friends and friends of friends, we have grown to a decent size! From looking for a school till the actual visit it takes about 4 months. It comes with stress and pressure but when you see the glee in the eyes of kids zooming down the slider, when you see a 3 year old girl hugging her first teddy it was all worthwhile. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your ongoing support.

The Kharma Foundation is supported from many countries, from Australia to France, from England to Holland and small donations and big donations make it possible to that we create these projects to help kids that really need a bit of support to make their life a little better.

I can hear you think: But how was the trip…

Simply stated in 2 words the trip was heavy & fantastic. We knew it would not be easy. The teacher had warned us multiple times. But when we were driving on these old raggedy motorbikes on small mountain trails, we suddenly understood why the teacher found it hard to believe that we would actually come. I had requested pics of the road a few times, which he never provided. I guess he was scared that after seeing the ‘road’, we would change our minds.

The first few steps of our travel itinerary this time where like other years. Taxi to the airport, an airplane, the minibus to Mae Sariang (a small village closest to where we need to go) and from there in the 4 wheel drive pick-up trucks towards the school; this was all familiar. Even the 6 hours in the pick-up truck for us seasoned volunteers is almost normal. De road went from good to poor to bad to “ehhh where is the road?”. Trough river beddings, through mud and bushes; the ‘road’ became harder and harder. But then something new: the road ended and we needed to do another 25 kilometers to reach the school. In the middle of the jungle were 15 motorbikes with drivers waiting for us. Luckily we have some footage of the path that followed as you wouldn’t believe it if we told you. Sadly we couldn’t film everything as in many parts you needed both hands to hold on.

The 25 kilometers; which took about 2 hours through ditches, rivers, up the hill, down the hill, up the mountain and down the mountain; was on a trail not wider as my belly. In Myanmar and in Thailand around this time of the year they do a lot of slash and burn where fields get burned to put new crops. These fires spread through the forests and jungles, so for big parts we were driving through freshly burnt areas. This gave an extra dimension to the ravines, the bumpy trail and the tough going up and down steep hills with over 45 degree angles. It was extremely tense and the sight of the school and village was such a delight. In the middle of nowhere is an understatement…

Oh my God, or Buddha, or what other holy spirit: We made it! What a trip. The next three days it spooked in everyone’s head that we also still had to go back the same way; something to keep you up at night.

The kids where as usual scared and shy: white giants have arrived. Some villagers came to look at the new comers and I inquired who was the oldest. A one eyed lady of about 60 was asked if she had ever seen a white person before and she could only recall a missionary when she was young in some other village. We were the first white people to arrive to this school and village. This made the villagers a bit apprehensive and sometimes you could feel like an animal in a zoo. Luckily we are kind of used to it and with some big smiles and Mr. Bean style jokes you can break the ice a bit.

We were able to sleep in the classrooms, which saved us from setting up tents. Sleeping in a room with a roof makes for more comfort. The villagers, the kids and most of the teachers come from the Karen Hill tribe. It is an out casted group from Myanmar that is tolerated in Thailand as long as they stay far away in the mountains.

The first full day we spend with the kids and we had a drawing competition and some games. The second day was a ‘sports day’ with a proper football tournament, musical chairs, balloon games and more fun. The kids clearly enjoyed it and warmed up to us. As always pictures will speak a 1000 words and I do not want to write a book, so I will add a load of beautiful pics with this email.

The most emotional moment was before we handed out all the goods to the kids. In a speech the head teacher thanked us, more important, thanked you, for the unselfishness help we have given.
The teacher was visibly moved, something that moved us. Noodle translated his speech and broke down in tears herself. “Thank you that you did not forget us. Thank you to persevere and made it all the way here. We are humans too, no animals. Thank you for the donations, that did not come with any strings attached.” When the kids thanked us by singing two beautiful songs there were few dry eyes. It was amazingly beautiful. The kids must have thought we were proper weirdos with our tears. But after months of prepping, three days of travelling and reaching our goal, a load fell off our shoulders.
But for myself, I would only really be able to relax if everyone would come off the mountains save and sound. And luckily we did!

When all the volunteers where safe and sound in the pick-ups and we were on the way to civilization was the true moment of the load falling off the shoulders, for all of us. Back in the real world everything seems to be a little different. The way they live in the mountains, if you took away the bikes, it could have been a 100 years ago… or much more. Life is hard, but also life is simple. To experience that with our western mind state is something very special.

Now back at home we are so thankful to be part of this. We are so thankful to all of you that support us year in and year out. We hope more people will do projects like this and together we can make this a little bit of a better world.

Our shirt had the Chinese proverb:
“If you want happiness for one 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 life time, help others.”

Thank you that together we may reach this ultimate happiness.

A sincere and warm greeting from the teachers, the kids and the volunteers.

Chok dee! (Thai for “good luck to all!”)

 

 

Pattaya, 01-November-2017

Dear Kharma supporters, friends and family,

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…

The dormitory:

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.

Sincerely yours,

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
[email protected]

Pattaya, 01-November-2017

Dear Kharma supporters, friends and family,

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…

The dormitory:

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.

Sincerely yours,

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
[email protected]

Pattaya, 01-November-2017

Dear Kharma supporters, friends and family,

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…

The dormitory:

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.

Sincerely yours,

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
[email protected]