Underprivileged schools across Thailand are feeling the benefit from kind-hearted Harrow Bangkok students as they receive the ‘Extra Paws Experience’.
Gund, Peem and Uno created The Extra Paws Foundation with the mission of “putting some fun and happiness in children’s young lives,” as Gund explains. They do so by creating after-school experiences for children in underprivileged communities.
The first event they organised was a ‘play in a day’ at the K.M 42 School, a Burmese migrant school in Mae Sot. Peem says: “None but one of the kids spoke Thai so it was a challenge! I will never forget when one of the mothers cried tears of joy when she saw her child perform.”
The next time they visited the refugee camp, they took English teachers out of the camp – for some, this was the first time. Gund says: “They were preparing for an English exam, which involves them speaking about everyday things. But as they rarely get to leave the refugee camp, they don’t have the vocabulary for many parts of normal life. So we took them around town to show them some examples, and in the evening we cooked and had dinner with them, then played football.”
Another event, ‘Sports Day at Father Rays’, brought fun and games to Father Ray’s Children’s Village in Chonburi, where they donated 240 pieces of sports equipment. “Some teenagers from the village had just returned from competing in the Youth Special Olympics representing Thailand, and they were delighted to receive new footballs – they’d been training with a beaten-up ball for three years,” Peem comments. All of this was made possible because of funds raised by a basketball tournament the Foundation organised for international schools in the region.
The Foundation is very grateful to its 36 members, and the support from Harrow Bangkok, so it can continue to make a difference to children’s lives. As Gund sums up, “At our school, we have so many opportunities every day. We shouldn’t take them for granted, because there are thousands of less fortunate kids out there who get these opportunities once in a lifetime.”