Baan Than Namchai Foundation
On December 27 2004, the day after the Indian Ocean tsunami, staff from the Duang Prateep Foundation were on the ground in Phang-nga Province, helping amidst the chaos in the aftermath of the disaster. Shortly afterwards, foundation staff set up play centres in tents, income generation
activities were started by the DPF and the orphans from the disaster, came into the full care of the
Duang Prateep Foundation.
It soon became clear that there was a need for a home for children who had no one else to
look after them. After a prolonged period working out of tents, an important step forward was made when the Duang Prateep Foundation was able to open the Baan Than Namchai home for child
victims of the tsunami, in July 2006.
It is now over six years since the disaster. Baan Than Namchai and the adjacent Hands
Across the Water building now provide a home for over seventy children. Not all of the children are
tsunami victims now and not all of them are orphans, but all of them have good reasons to benefit
from the care provided by orphanage director Ms. Rotjana Phraesrithong and her colleagues.
In addition to the residential centre in the village of Phru Teaw, there are further centres in the villages of Baan ITV and Baan Nam Khem. As well as helping children, there are community programmes, income generation activities and there is the Baan Than Namchai based Nithan Caravan puppet troupe, a sister troupe to the one based in Bangkok.
Early in May news was received that the Baan Than Namchai Foundation has been officially registered by the Thai authorities. As a result, all Duang Prateep Foundation work in Phang-nga
Province, and the puppet troupe based there, will leave the DPF at the end of the present calendar
and financial year. From January 1 2012 the Baan Than Namchai Foundation will be operating fully independently of the DPF.
The photo shows the headquarters of the new Baan Than Namchai Foundation. The single storey dining and kitchen building is on the left. The girls live in the Hands Across the Water building in the middle and the boys in the Baan Than Namchai building on the right.
Ms. Rotjana Phraesrithong, who has been in charge of tsunami relief work for the Duang Prateep Foundation since January 2005 will be in charge of the new foundation. Rotjana will be helped by Dr. Supphawut Manochantr who is leaving his work as assistant to the secretary general at the Duang Prateep Foundation to be manager at the Baan Than Namchai Foundation.
Dr. Supphawut relocated to Phang-nga at the beginning of June, where he is working with Rotjana to ensure that the new foundation is fully ready for independent management from the start of next year. Rotjana is also supported by a board of trustees, which includes Duang Prateep
Baan Than Namchai children in Australia and New Zealand
Last month children and staff from the Baan Than Namchai orphanage were able to visit both New Zealand and Australia, to present the orphanage to sponsors and to learn about the countries they were visiting.
Rewadee and Petrada were based in the capital city of Wellington but were also able to travel across much of the North island, including a trip to Rotorua. In Wellington highlights of the trip included watching a Wellington Hurricanes rugby match, and a visit to the Te Papa Museum of New Zealand.
Rewadee and Petrada then travelled on to Sydney, together with Andrew and Sue Blair, where they joined with Baan Tharn Namchai director Ms. Rotjana Phraesrithong and four children who had flown to Sydney from Phuket.
In the photo from the left, Sue Blair, Petrada Kawla-iad, Rewadee Thongson and Andrew Blair
During a week-long stay in Sydney the group had a fantastic time visiting several well-known Sydney sights, including Sydney Tower, the zoo, the aquarium and Luna Park. There were also important events with sponsors, where Rotjana spoke about the orphanage and the children entertained with Thai dance performances.
Highlights included a fund-raising dinner hosted by the National Associated Retail Traders of Australasia (NARTA) led by managing director Ms. Kay Spencer. Another highlight was a Night of Inspiration hosted by registered charity Hands Across the Water, led by Mr. Peter Baines. The event raised over 115,000 Australian dollars.
The children returned to the orphanage and the start of a new school year with fantastic memories from their travels. The contacts with donors in Australia, both old and new, was also an important aspect of the trip.
The photo shows Rotjana Phraesrithong on the left with the rest of the group from Thailand and some Australian friends
Orphanage staff and children busy before new school year
While some of the staff and children from Baan Than Namchai were in New Zealand and Australia last month, see story above, there was plenty of action back at the orphanage for those who stayed behind. On the May Day public holiday the Bang Naisi sub-district local administration office invited Baan Than Namchai staff to organise a day of family activities. Twenty local families took part in the programme which had the objective of strengthening family and community relationships.
Children and staff were busy with garden activities during May. Early in the month one staff member and two children travelled across to the Duang Prateep Foundation’s New Life Project in Chumphon Province and returned with 1,000 young mushroom plants which were put in plastic bags for growing in the mushroom house. The mushrooms grow quickly in the warm climate and will be ready for eating in June. Most of the mushrooms will be eaten at the project but any surplus to requirements are sold. The children collect, bag and weigh the mushrooms before going out on bikes to sell, or if there is a large crop it is loaded on to the motorbike for sale at the market. Later in the month, the older children were selecting orchids for sale locally.
Before the start of the new school year, the children all had a haircut with the older children cutting the hair of the younger children (photo left). On the Buddhist holy day of Visakha Puja, four staff and 65 children went to the local temple to listen to a dharma sermon and take part in the candlelight parade around the temple.
One day last month four instructors from the Camillian Social Centre in a Takua Pha visited the orphanage for a day of instruction on protection from HIV/Aids and other sexual diseases for 35 youngsters aged from 10 to 18. Other visitors in May including four representatives from the Bangkok office of the 4Life company, including the regional manager, who came to donate gift bags containing toiletries and snacks for the children. In return the visitors were entertained by dance performances.
The photo below shows the visitors from 4 life and the children with their gift bags.
A local rotary club organised a meeting and dinner in the adobe cultural centre at the orphanage, during which the children performed for the visitors. In addition staff at the local Sarojin and Palm Galleria hotels arranged for some of their guests to visit the orphanage. Also Tony Love-Linlay from Australia, who has taken part in fund-raising bike rides to the orphanage, visited and was welcomed with dance performances.