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.


New photos up

We've posted two new galleries on our photos page.

Mae Sot and Maela Camp: Photos from Mae Sot, near the Thai-Burmese border. Projects include development of clean water and sanitation systems, building of new schools and hostels for children, and a life book project for children living in hostels. Click here to look.

Takua Pa Youth Centre: Photos from in and around the Imagine Thailand youth centre set up in the tsunami affected area of Takua Pa, Thailand. The centre is a place for kids to hang out, study, take music lessons, learn English and get tutoring. Click here to look.