Since 2019 our project structure has changed. Rather than having a dozen independent projects, such as Ecotours, Thai Citizenship, Thai Volunteer Teachers, etc, which were financially responsible for their own budgets, the projects now come under the umbrella of the foundation itself.
There are three main sections to our work: Disaster Management; Agriculture and Environment; Community Based Projects.
Disaster Management involves not only dealing with disasters when they happen, but also prevention and post-disaster work. The project runs risk assessment surveys for local communities, to determine what (if any) natural disasters could affect the villagers. These range from earthquakes and floods, to fires and landslides. By assessing the risks, escape plans can be created and tools donated so that villagers are able to take measures immediately rather than waiting for emergency services to arrive. In one case, an entire village was moved because the risk assessment showed that the village was likely to be destroyed in the event of flash flooding.
The foundation has worked with communities locally, as well as in Bangkok, Mae Hong Son, Nan, and a number of other provinces over the years.
Natural disasters that we have had to deal with include earthquakes, floods, hailstorms, landslides, and forest fires. Some of these are one-off events, but the floods and forest fires are annual occurrences for which we have created specific sub-projects to go into action when necessary.
Disaster management can only work effectively if the communities are in agreement, so delivering information about risks, and giving alternatives (including for current cultural practices when they are part of the problem), is one of the first measures to take in prevention work.
Agriculture and Environment
As is blatantly obvious to most people, the world is struggling with a climate crisis, affecting all walks of life. Our environment is no different, so the work we do is aimed at alleviating some of the problems: by becoming more self-sufficient for our food requirements; getting the information about the crisis and ways to reduce the problems out into local communities; developing a programme to plant thousands of banana trees in the surrounding forests; and reducing waste.
Once we have achieved our aims, we will use it as a model to approach local authorities, communities, and individuals, who wish to go in the same direction.
Community Based Projects
We have run a successful volunteer and tourism project for many years, which generates income for local communities as well as the foundation. Although Covid-19 has put this project on hold for the moment, we have used the time to improve our facilities and restructure our team.
From late 2020, through to at least 2022, we are building bathrooms for elderly, infirm, and disabled people in the local ethnic minority communities. The aim is to build five bathrooms per month, meaning 60 bathrooms each year for those without one. The costs are paid for through corporate donations, and also private donations, with our team doing the actual building work. Once we can receive volunteers again, the work will be able to accelerate significantly.