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.
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.