Looking toward the future in Thailand
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Looking toward the future in Thailand

Thanks to an overwhelming response from our travelers, we've focused our latest efforts in Thailand on Don Chum Primary School, providing the students with uniforms, daily lunch, and more.

Through our Invest in a Village project at Don Chum, Thailand, the Foundation has jumpstarted an agriculture cooperative—and seen it through several successful phases. Phase 1 provided the village with a chicken coop, catfish pond, and plots for local crops like string beans, morning glory, mushrooms, and corn. The villagers have been working together to raise the chicken and catfish and harvest the vegetables, which have been sold for a profit and reinvested in the cooperative.

Phase 2 of our investment focused on expansion: the catfish pond can now accommodate an additional 3000 fish, and the chicken coop can accommodate 50 egg-laying hens. The vegetable plantations have also been expanded. Overseeing the project is Southeast Asia Regional General Manager Rung Chatchaloemwut, whose dream for Don Chum is a simple one: "Our hope is to see the cooperative members have better lives, enough food, and enough income to support their families."

Since Rung's goal to improve the lives of the villagers extends even to Don Chum's youngest residents, the Foundations latest efforts focus on Don Chum Primary School. Through a January 2011 grant of $5,000, OAT travelers have paid the annual salary of an English teacher at the school. They've also provided all 45 Don Chum students with new uniforms and sneakers, as well as ten bicycles for students who live far from school to borrow while they commute back and forth. Finally, the grant supports three months of the Lunch Project, an initiative through which the students enjoy daily produce and eggs from the school's own vegetable garden and ducks.

"I thank the Foundation and OAT travelers very much," said Mr. Poolsak, Don Chum School Principal, of the recent improvements. "They will improve the quality of the students' lives. We wish you happiness, success, and prosperity."

In total, the Foundation has contributed $48,800 to Don Chum Primary School, and those funds have gone toward the following: Renovations of the school kitchen; purchase of musical instruments, sports equipment, and playground equipment; improvements to the school library, including new books, tables, and chairs; purchase of mosquito nets and mattresses for the kindergarteners' naps; and more.

Just by traveling with OAT, our travelers are helping to support the school in Don Chum—and the entire village. And OAT travelers on our Discover Thailand adventure get to take one step further when they experience a Day in the Life of Don Chum village, spending time at the primary school, local market, senior center, and the village's plantation and farm. During the school visit, many travelers are touched by the opportunity to witness first-hand the effect that their donations have had on the students lives—from touring the improved classrooms and library to watching students perform with new musical instruments. 5-time traveler Margaret Jaeckel of Council Bluffs, Iowa says, "As a former educator, I loved the school visit and interacting with the children in the classroom."

From the positive reviews of travelers like Margaret to the gratitude of the students and faculty, it's clear that the Foundation's partnership with Don Chum Village and Primary School is a rewarding one all around. With your help, we will continue to look toward the future in Thailand.

The foundation charges no administrative fee, so 100% of your tax-deductible donation will go straight to the people of Don Chum Village.

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