Thailand is a stunning vacation destination for so many from around the globe. Friendly people, resplendent culture, beautiful landscapes, tropical beaches and a real sense of community abound. While Thailand gives so much to smile about to so many, there is a way to give back, via the Kharma Foundation.
Although not prone to shout about their heartfelt endeavours, in giving back to the community, the Kharma Foundation strives to make a difference, for those who need it most in Thailand: children in poverty.
Established as a non-profit organization in 2007, a group of Thailand-loving volunteers came together, to make things happen. “Instead of just donating to an existing charity, we wanted to get hands-on. On our first trip to an orphanage, handing out presents to over 400 girls, we never dreamed this would lead to the construction of schools and dormitories, in other rural areas, and so on,” remembers Lucy Travers (email@example.com), one of the active volunteers.
With each passing year, they aim to do something different, and have been able to make larger strides in making a difference, with additional volunteers and generous donations from around the world.
Who & How They Help?
Not strictly a ‘foundation’ by law, theirs is purely a mission with heart, focused on future generations and defined by four criteria: nourishment, shelter, education and fun. “We help supply the means to ensure the kids are well fed and healthy. We work to improve living conditions, donate teaching and school supplies and equipment, as well as sports and entertainment goods,” Lucy explains.
One of the most impressive things about the Kharma Foundation is that every single penny donated is spent directly on improving the lives of the children they help. Every volunteer pays their own way, including the founders of the Kharma Foundation, who also donate to the cause. Travel expenses and any overheads are covered out of their own pockets. They have no official premises to maintain, no company cars and offer no extravagant, high-profile fundraising events.
The Kharma Foundation projects so far have touched the lives of children from the north to the south, in Ratchawithi, Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi, Mae Sariang, Narathiwat, Yala, Songkhla and Umphang. Remote and rural locations, every small kindness shown to the kids in these areas has a considerable and positive impact.
The Kharma Foundation is all about good people really being able to make a tangible difference. Their philosophy is perhaps best expressed by the famous quote from US President Franklin D. Roosevelt: “The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
The next project for the Kharma Foundation’s 11th year in action is a challenging one, which will require more volunteers and donations than ever before. The Jo Phra Key School sits in a tiny village in Mae Hong Son, in the remote mountains on the Thai side of the border with Myanmar, and currently educates around 150 children. The Kharma Foundation describes it as ‘probably the most desolate place’ they have been to.
Accessible from the Thai side only by a 6-hour boat ride upstream, or by costly helicopter, just getting there alone will be a major hurdle. Yet, they are fully committed, since aid to such places is a rare occurrence, and donations have started coming in.
Top of the list of requirements are separate dormitories for boys and girls, and washrooms with toilets. They also plan to provide a playground, school materials, sport equipment and toys, which the school is already incredibly excited about.
“The head teacher has already called to confirm with us ten times that we are definitely coming!” remarks Lucy.
How Can You Get Involved?
The simple answer to the question about how you can get involved is to donate! This can be time, money or both, as well as helping to spread word-of-mouth about the charitable works of the Kharma Foundation, by sharing this article.
Donations can be made to designated bank accounts in Thailand, the UK, Holland and Australia.
More information can be found on their website www.kharmafoundation.com.
*Images courtesy of kharmafoundation.com