I’ve had the joy of being an expat for nearly ten years. I am a single mum to a very privileged little boy who goes to a great international school of a standard I could never afford back in Australia. My son has never had to worry about whether we could afford for him to do swimming and soccer, or whether he can have a new pair of football boots, and he thinks school ski trips to Japan are the norm.
Daily I am confronted with the disparity of life in Bangkok, the gap between the very rich and the very poor, and I have struggled with the guilt of having more than enough when many have so little. Recently I decided that I can’t help everyone but I could help someone, so I have become involved with the Duang Prateep Foundation, in the Klong Toey Slum Community who help the underprivileged children through education and family support.
In collaboration with my work colleagues we have started the Jaidee Project
https://www.facebook.com/jaideeproject/ which aims to raise funds to support the education of these children. Taking time to walk through the slum and speak with the residents of this community it is strikingly clear – the only way to break the cycle of poverty that these families live in is through education. For as little as 150USD you can sponsor a child’s education for one year and make a small difference to a disadvantaged family.
Following the devastating fire in the slum community in January 2017, the Jaidee Project has become further involved in raising funds to rebuild the homes for the 75 families who lost their homes and have been collecting clothes and household items to replace their possessions destroyed by the fire. I was humbled by the opportunity to visit with a family affected by the fire. Speedboat, 4 years, proudly pointed out where his room had been amongst the rubble. He was so excited to explain that the air con unit we could see had only been installed on the day of the fire. Heartbreakingly his dad’s motorcycle was also destroyed, his only source of income as a motorsai driver. As I spoke with Speedboat’s mum, I asked if she needed anything. Smiling and cheerful she brushed us off with assurances that she had all she needed. As I walked away I wondered what I could do to make a difference.
As a mother I knew that any money given to this lady would go immediately to feeding and clothing her child, and then her family, and then herself. She would not take a baht to spend on herself to buy a luxury such as perfume or a lipstick. As such the “Take Me Bag Home’’ campaign was born. By donating a no longer used handbag filled with ladies toiletries (deodorant, soap, shampoo, a lipstick or perfume) you can help bring a smile to these women who have so little.
If you would like to donate please contact me at [email protected], or via our Facebook page. Handbags can be dropped at Yesterday Once Again in Rama 4 Bangkok, for collection.