Living Waters Phuket Foundation – Building Brighter Futures
“Individually we are one drop; but together we are an ocean.” — Ryunosoke Satoro
We have finally moved on from the seemingly relentless sourcing, packing, and distribution of emergency life bags. At Living Waters Phuket Foundation (LWPF) we are now able to focus on developing brighter futures for those struggling in Phuket and beyond.
Education and employment are key, and education for employment should be the main focus. The Pandemic demonstrated that a reliance on one sector (i.e. tourism) can be disastrous. Further, for many, particularly migrant workers, employment opportunities are severely limited. Including construction, fishery, agriculture, factory, and domestic work. In short, the so-called ‘3D jobs’, stands for ‘dangerous’, dirty, and ‘[in] demand’.
Young uneducated women from poor or migrant families are especially vulnerable. Social, and family pressures, and a lack of education and resources further limit any choice of employment. LWPF seeks sustainable solutions and like-minded partners. Progress is being made, ripples are starting to slowly spread out from the first stones cast into the water. Successful collaborations and partnerships are emerging. Of particular note are iCare Thailand, The Good Shepherd, in conjunction with the Grumpy Old Men’s Society, and Seeds Of Change.
A grant was made recently to iCare Thailand Foundation (iCTF). Like LWPF, iCTF is committed to achieving access to education and employment for the underprivileged. We have joined forces to build a dormitory in the north of Thailand. Children there often have long and arduous walks to school. This will be the 9th dormitory iCTF has built. School attendance greatly improves when children have somewhere near to stay.
This month we joined iCare for a day at a school in Phang Nga, where 3 schools attended. The host school’s adjacent village had been identified as having a significant drug problem. The local children were dropping out of a school with good facilities and a very dedicated head teacher. The aspirational day was designed to show them what they could achieve. Employees from the Renaissance Hotel, many of whom had come from the village, took part in fun activities with the children and spoke about their experiences of working in the hotel. Surprisingly the children were cheerful and fully engaged throughout the day, although the small prizes of sweets and biscuits may have helped! Donated sports equipment and second-hand bicycles were divided between the schools.
Afterward, we went with the head teacher into the village, to distribute food parcels to the homes with children in school; A humbling experience.
An early LWPF project saw us partnering with the Grumpy Old Men’s Society (GOMS) to successfully install solar panels on the Good Shepherd Learning Centre roof in Phuket town. Recently, again in partnership with GOMS, Good Shepherd students were able to return to classes thanks to the provision of required Covid test kits. In addition, uniforms and books were jointly provided. Visits to the Centre with GOMS enabled us to see first-hand how the children had directly benefited.
Children of Burmese migrants have an especially difficult time. Despite their often dire circumstances, they are some of the happiest, most engaged students we have seen and an absolute delight to be around. Due to the ongoing political situation in Myanmar, these children have been unable to move between countries. When the Centre opened its doors for registration this year, they found demand had doubled. Following their policy of never turning a child away, they are now bursting at the seams. As well to receiving an education they would otherwise not have, the children are given 2 hot meals a day. Taught in Burmese, Thai, and English, the level of proficiency in English, even of the younger children, is impressive.
Usually, mostly for economic but sometimes social reasons, children leave education at a very early age; sometimes as young as six. It is therefore heartening to meet the Good Shepherd youth group. This confident group of teenagers has a very clear idea of what they want to do in the future. Recently 4 students traveled to Nong Khai, to join an 11-month course in hospitality, at the Pimali Foundation.
Closer to home Good Shepherd students are given the opportunity to go on to learn soap making and cooking, and thanks to Seeds of Change (SOC), sewing skills. SOC put in a modest grant application for two sewing machines and some materials. With these, they have gone from strength to strength. They are now running certificated training courses, have a shop in a hotel run by an ex-student, make products for local hotels, businesses, and more. We heard of one particularly talented student whose family insisted she should go into a fish processing factory. SOC explained to the family how she could achieve more. They remained skeptical until she brought home her first money. Still unsure, it was a visit by a family friend who saw what she was making and praised her efforts that finally convinced them. She is now training other SOC students.
Giving a grant is not the end of our involvement. LWPF not only gives money but also their experience, expertise, and shared contacts. We follow the progress of our projects closely and are available to assist and advise when requested.
SOC’s first hugely successful sales outlet, came about with an introduction through LWPF, to a local elephant sanctuary, and with our input, The Good Shepherd has greatly improved their social media stream. Just two examples where closer relationships are having a beneficial impact. Oceans are not created in a day but drop by drop they form and sustain. LWPF is seeking and forming deeper relationships with like-minded individuals and organizations. Together we will in time make an ocean of difference.
Networking in the Community:
Our Foundation continued to meet and connect with contacts for information gathering, project assessment and needs assessments
Approved Funded Projects
- iCare Thailand
Work is due to commence on building and equipping a new school dormitory to give children facing a 6 – 7 KM trek a safe place to stay while they study. It will serve Huai Poo Kaeng, a marginalized long-necked Karen Hilltribe community located in Mae Hong Son.
- Baan Na Yai School
A grant has been approved and work is nearing completion to convert existing structures into an IT lab and library.
Children returned to school in May, after a grant was awarded to help fund English teaching for around 220 students at the Phuket Has Been Good To Us Kamala School, for the school year 2022 to 2023. The funded IT lab is now also fully operational.
- The Red Cross Phuket
This project saw funding to assist those with mobility issues for 1,800 wheelchairs for use in hospitals, clinics and vaccination centers. A further 815 wheelchairs were received in June, making the total to date 1,015. Distribution by the Red Cross has commenced.
- PIWC Scholarships
Five x 20,000 THB scholarships for higher education grants have been approved by LWPF.
For more information:
Living Waters Phuket
+66 99 341 6799 | [email protected]