Tuesday, 11 August 2009

A birthday event—helping the orphans and socially disposed of Thailand

A birthday event—helping the orphans and socially disposed of Thailand

Here, residing in the 3rd world, we can forget how relatively wealthy we in the first world are. While it is true that the ‘western world’ does have many problems and social injustices which should be addressed, it is equally true that we should also turn our attention outwards to others, in other countries, and do what we can to help. Or at least that is what I believe, in accordance with my humanist beliefs.

Thus I decided, after consultation with the people concerned, to not simply give a gift to my family when each birthday rolled around, but to rather give a donation to a worthy cause in whatever region I found myself in at the time.

Being in Pattaya near the time of my brother Brett’s birthday I decided that a donation to a school for orphans and deaf students would be the way to go. So, along with my two friends from the Gothia bar, Noi and Yee, I visited the school on the 11th August (a week before Brett’s birthday on the 17th).

The school I made a donation to, on behalf of Brett, was named the Sotpattana School. The school has approximately 170 students, a mix of orphans and deaf students. It was established by the local Catholic diocese (Chanthaburi). The orphanage and the deaf school are separate legal entities but both share and use the same facilities. Due to a slight communication breakdown (not uncommon in Thailand) when we arrived the school’s students were enjoying their mandatory midday sleep, and would not awake for two more hours. Therefore we did not see any of the students!

I decided that an appropriate sum to donate would be 5,000 baht. This sum converts to au$176. In buying power, as a rule of thumb, I assume that the Australian dollar equivalent is half the Thai money. Thus 5000b translates into au$2500. My two Thai friends each donated 500b, bringing the total sum donated to 6000b. A worthwhile sum of money which will help many deserving students. A teacher in Bangkok earns ~8000b a month.

Myself and my two friends spent an hour or so at the school. It lies approximately 10mins and 4kms from my hotel, outside the ‘tourist’ area of Pattaya. We were shown around the school by the deputy director. It is a smallish school, with only a handful of buildings. The facilities also looked rather crowded as compared to what I am familiar with in Perth. However, the school was clean and well managed. The staff dedicated and knowledgeable. I wish the school all the best for the future. It was an enjoyable visit.

For those interested in the school here is their website:

For those interested in making a donation (additional info on website):
Bank Information:
Account Name : Pattaya Orphanage
Name of Bank : Bangkok Bank Ltd.
Branch : Banglamung
Savings A/C No. : 342-0-96666-9
Swift Code : BKKBTHBK

Till next time.

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