Our team in Thailand revisits old friends for a day of community service
Since 2004, Grand Circle Foundation has been partnering with the village of Don Chum in Thailand's Phrae province—first as part of our Day in the Life program, and, most recently, as the site of an agricultural cooperative through our Invest in a Village initiative. So when Rung Chatchaloemwut, our Regional General Manager in Thailand, decided to plan a community service event for the staff of our Bangkok office, Don Chum was a natural choice. On July 15, 2010, a team of 34 Thai associates and Trip Leaders joined more than 100 villagers for a day of good works, good friends, and good fun.
The day began with the planting of 1,500 teak trees on five acres of public land—a measure encouraged nationwide by the Thai government due to devastating deforestation of this once-abundant native hardwood. Then, the team divided into two groups to focus on projects to benefit two different generations. The first group visited the Senior Center at Don Chum Temple, which is home to our new Invest in a Village agricultural cooperative. They painted the exterior of the center, and installed signage at the chicken hut, mushroom cottage, and catfish ponds. The second group visited the Baan Boonyapark Daycare Center, which is also supported by Grand Circle Foundation. They planted 100 banana trees on the grounds and installed a thatched roof over the playground area to protect the children from the sun.
The team paused for lunch with the villagers at Don Chum School, and continued their efforts well into the afternoon. Then, with the hard work complete, it was time to celebrate. The group organized several different sporting events at the school, including a sack race, tug-of-war, and soccer. "Many villagers and students were there cheering and shouting," says Rung. "There was lots of music, laughter, and fun to strengthen our friendship and partnership."
At the end of the day, that "friendship and partnership" is really what it's all about for Rung and her team, who all cherish the strong relationship they've built with the Don Chum community over the years. Mr. Udom Naksang, the village chief, agrees. "Grand Circle Foundation has supported our village for many years, working to improve the quality of life for our villagers," he says. "We're looking forward to ensuring sustainability of the agricultural cooperative, which will create jobs and more income for the people of the community."
Thanks to our Thailand team for their generosity—and for showing the village of Don Chum that we're invested in their future.