The Duang Prateep Foundation
The foundation is committed to improving the educational standard and living conditions of the underprivileged
Origins of the Duang Prateep Foundation
The foundation’s founder, Prateep Unsongtham Hata was born in the slum and began working to help her family from an early age. Having been given only a small taste of the power of education as a child. Prateep worked hard to assist her family as well as save some money in order to train as a teacher at night school. She subsequently established a one baht a day school under her family home in Klong Toey. (Klong Toey is the largest slum in Bangkok.) As a result of her work with the students Prateep became involved with the broader issues facing slum families. In recognition of her work addressing both the educational and social problems suffered by slum residents, Prateep was awarded the prestigious Magsaysay Award in 1978 and The Duang Prateep Foundation (DPF) – meaning a beacon of hope – was established.
Activities of the DPF
The DPF has projects covering a broad spectrum of community and social development work. Children are at the heart of the foundation’s programme but children can not thrive if they develop surrounded by social and environmental problems. The primary focus of the DPF is on the urban poor but the foundation has outreach activities in many rural areas and residential centres in two provinces.
The DPF has been involved in opening kindergartens providing safe and constructive places for the families to leave their children while they earn money for the families survival.
The DPF also provide special education for the hearing impaired . They have a carnival puppet show which tours slums and poor communities throughout Thailand. The performance enables the children to enjoy a live puppet show with an environmental, moral or health message.
The kitchens of the schools affiliated to the DPF provide nutritious and affordable lunch time meals for students. The teachers are able to inculcate good dietary habits and soy bean milk supplements are provided.
The AIDS Project is actively involved in both the prevention of the disease and the care of those afflicted.
The physical lay out and condition of slums are highly conducive to fires starting and spreading with alarming destruction to both people and property. The DPF has donated fire engines and instructed residents in their use.
The foundation runs a very popular social lunch club for senior citizens. Medical care and social assistance for the elderly and the disabled are sponsored or facilitated by the foundation.
Social workers attached to the foundation work in the community.
A credit union was established to empower the poor and inculcate habits of saving and self sufficiency. Members pay a nominal joining fee and have a minimum deposit of 100 baht every month.
At the foundation there is a children’s art project where children can come and express themselves artistically and develop their creative skills.
New Life Project for boys is run outside the city. It’s aim is to keep children away from the risk of drugs, physical abuse and delinquent behavior. It provides a safe haven for boys and young men to learn skills in order to live a more satisfying life.
In a different province New Life for Abused Children provides a similar refuge for teenage girls and young women. The centre is also a home for younger children who have no one to care for them or who have been victims of abuse. At both centres the residents attend school or vocational training courses as appropriate and assist with farm work.
As our organization grew it became clear that we needed local management so in 2011 we set up the Baan Than Namchai Foundation.