Canadian releases Christmas song to 
benefit people half a world away

Dan BurseyUpdate: Dan Bursey's "Hallelujah Carol Water Project" raised $2897.11. Thanks to all who gave! A school in Thailand will now have clean water! (Jan 19, 2010)

Dan Bursey is convinced that one song can make a difference this Christmas, and he wants you to help him prove it.

When Bursey, a singer/songwriter from Lewisporte, Newfoundland, finished producing a new Christmas song, “Hallelujah Carol,” he wanted to do something different to release it. He decided to sell it on his website and donate all the proceeds to fund a water filtration system for a school on the Thai-Burma border. His goal: $2,500.

“I wondered if there was something I could do with the song to make a very practical difference,” said Bursey. “I have a connection to people who work in the schools along the border and I’m aware of the tremendous need, so it made sense to raise money for a project there. It doesn’t take a lot of money to drastically improve the lives in an entire community.”

His connection is with Imagine Thailand, a non-profit organization with Canadian roots that works in Thailand to assist victims of terror, tsunami and cyclone survivors, and refugees fleeing oppressive governments. The organization supports children who have come to Thailand to flee the violence and economic hardship in neighbouring Burma.

Bursey describes his song as “a rootsy acoustic song that’s reminiscent of the traditional carols, but gives the listener a fresh take on the classic Christmas Story.” Bursey is confident he can reach the goal of 2,500 people purchasing the song on his website,, between now and December 24.

“We get excited when people like Dan come alongside us and these children,” said Cavelle Dove, also originally from Newfoundland, of Imagine Thailand. “We are all about encouraging people to make a difference in their world--whether it’s a widow in a refugee camp, a university student in Bangkok, or a musician in Lewisporte.”

Six ways to be involved:

  1. Go to Dan’s website,, and be one of 2,500 people to download the single “Hallelujah Carol” for $1.50.   All of the proceeds from the sale of the single go towards the purchase of a water purification system for school children in Thailand (PayPal's fees make up the difference in price).
  2. Check out to see first-hand how this organization is making a difference.
  3. Email 10-15 of your friends that you think would like the song, and tell them about how they can be a part of this too. 
  4. Add the following to your Twitter/Facebook/Myspace status:
    “Can one song provide clean drinking water for a whole community? I say yes! Go to to find out how.”
  5. Add Dan to your Twitter account (@danbursey) so you can be updated regularly on how close we are to our goal.
  6. Make the song a part of your Christmas playlist for years to come.

University students in Bangkok host "Caravan of Love" for children impacted by tsunami

Children impacted by the tsunami hold up the letters L-O-V-E during the craft activities portion of the camp.Imagine Thailand and Passport Cafe and Gallery hosted "Caravan of Love" in October, 2009 in Takua Pa, Thailand--a trip with about 25 students from Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok. The purpose of the trip was to put on a children's camp for one of the communities hardest hit by the tsunami nearly five years ago.

Held at a Thai Navy base that doubled as a sea turtle rehabilitation centre, the first day was team building—including three hours of millitary training by the Navy. On the second day, the children came for games, music, art and English. The third day was again spent with the children, this time doing sports and games on the beach. The next day, we put on an evening event for the children and their families in their own community. Finally, the students and volunteers had a few hours to relax on the ocean before the 12 hour bus ride back to Bangkok.

Caravan of Love Slideshow for Community Night from Imagine Thailand on Vimeo.

Trips like this are impact both the university students and the children that come. The students have a chance to see a different reality of life in Thailand and make a difference—if only for a short time—in the life of children. Our hope is that it inspires them to do more—and they have. Additionally, the children get to spend time playing games, swimming in the ocean (we heard from many children this is rare—their parents fear another tsunami) and just being, well…loved--as the name of the camp says. This isn’t a one-time event either: Imagine Thailand works with most of these children on an ongoing basis at our learning centre where children can get support with homework, English, computers and accessing the Internet.

Caravan of Love was the third trip with Chulalongkorn University students to the tsunami area in 2009. If you'd like to be part of a future trip as a student, leader or donor, please contact us.

Click here to visit the gallery.

The team of university students, Imagine Thailand staff and volunteers gather for a group photo on the last day of the trip.Click here to visit the gallery.Children impacted by the tsunami smile for the camera.


Students in B.C. help those in Thailand

UPDATE: Click here to read about this story in the Tri-Cities News, a newspaper in Coquitlam, B.C. (Nov. 20).

Crystal O'Doherty is a teacher at Glen Elementary in Coquitlam, B.C. and a friend of Imagine Thailand's Avin Houghland. After hearing about the needs of migrant children in Mae Sot and watching the Gift of Shoes video, she decided to explore partnering her school with one in Thailand.

Through an assembly where they asked each student to bring a "Toonie for Thailand" and a community movie night that drew more than 600 people, more than $3,500 was raised--far surpassing the original goal of $2,000. The money provided clean drinking water, a shower and running water to the bathrooms for Huay Ka Loke School. Additionally, her primary students wrote letters to students at the school in Thailand and they expect to receive responses in the coming weeks (it takes a little while for translation).

Crystal visited her friend and the school in August to see first hand the difference they had made. This is the video we sent back to the school to say thanks.

Thank You Glen Elementary on Vimeo.


Imagine Thailand featured in BC's The Province newspaper

This is just a quick note to point you over to an article about what two of Imagine Thailand's Canadian volunteers are doing in The Province newspaper. Ryan Detwiller did an interview with a reporter a few months ago and the article came out today online and in print.

Here’s a link: Making Time for Thailand


Imagine Thailand volunteers featured on local TV

Imagine Thailand will welcome two families from the Okanagan region of Canada this fall, and both were featured on local TV news there. Here's the story.

CHBC story on the Detwillers and Kochs from Ryan Detwiller on Vimeo.

To find out more, visit the Detwiller's website or the Koch's website.

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