October 2004: Chiangmai, Thailand
FERC's First Give and Live Benefit
for Children's Garden!
We had the dream, the date and the
desire. We needed a destination for all this splendid energy and
eventual funds. It didn't take us long to see the needs at Children's
Garden peering out of the remarkable place they're already established
about 20 km from Chiangmai near Doi Saket. There's a man named Stanley, part Thai, part British, part Lahu, part
Burmese, but mostly heart. A tour and wilderness guide for 20 years, he
covered northern Thailand, took folks back to remote hill tribes, met
the village chiefs and elders and found many orphans in various states
of misfortune: parents lost to AIDS or other diseases, forced
relocation, economic disability. He started taking kids into his home,
but with a heart that big, he needed a bigger home. (Read more
the Lahu Helping Hand article.)
The garden is growing.
Now he's got land, a few buildings, gardens,
ponds, orchards and 26 kids. He needs help with what he has and funds to
make room for more. We decided to lump all that was needed into a per
year, per day figure for all 26 kids. For 500 baht = $12.50 USD per day,
you can feed, clothe, house, provide medical care, school supplies and
expenses for 26 kids. Our goal was to raise enough for one year.
“After visiting the Children’s Garden and experiencing what they’ve
already done for 26 Lahu, Akha and Karen orphans who have lost their
families to AIDS and other misfortunes,” said Marc Dumur, Chairman of
FERC, “we are committed to help them meet their present needs and expand
so they may take in more children. Not only do the kids learn languages
and the basics, they work together preparing meals, doing laundry,
growing mushrooms, fruits and vegetables, and raising fish, pigs, snails
and frogs for food. I’d like to enroll in the mushroom course myself!”
On your marks. Get set. Go!
I set off writing the
online forever at Chiangmai Mail Newspaper, designing posters,
flyers, ads, and T-shirts, scavenging raffle prizes from local friends
and businesses, planning the concert, gathering and practicing with
musicians in Chiangmai (the crew from
The Hug Restaurant -- Thai
Aey, English Warren, Dave and Graham, and USA Jones -- reasonably
international) and traveling back to Children's Garden to rehearse with the kids. I wanted them in the show
singing a couple songs with me -- "Ain't It Grand in Northern
Thailand" and "I Want to Learn Your Language" -- as well as a
few of their own traditional songs with dance. The rest of the board set
off in their own directions. FERC meant more than Foundation for the Education of Rural Children. It also meant Feast,
Entertainment, Raffle, Charity. There was much to do and only five weeks
before the benefit on 30 October.
Somehow it all came together. It was an intimate
venue and though we'd sold out 90, we had to let in a few more people at
the door. $1000 baht = $25 USD per ticket. And just to show where their
hearts are, every FERC board member bought their ticket as well. Only
six comps for the press. They came. All were enthralled. (Newspaper
article and photos online here.) The kids were well-mannered but festive. They
brought an array of purses, bags and baskets they had made, packaged
mushrooms they had cultivated, bouquets of flowers grown from their
garden and were ready to take home as much money as possible!
26 children. One year.
All living expenses paid. Once we sorted it all out, including donations
from abroad, some of us went back out to the Garden to present a check
for 130,000 baht = $3250 USD which fulfilled our goal of all living expenses
paid for 26 children for one year. The money can go as they choose so in
reality it will help buy necessary items and cover cost for expansion to
make room for more children. Still more money has come in and we'll
deliver new mattresses next week. My apologies to Stanley's wife Malee
whose face is covered by the check in the lower right photo!
6th Annual FERC Benefit Gala on 19/2/05!
outside at the Wongmalee home/mansion featuring
Grammy award winning singer/songwriter Barbara Bailey Hutchison, amazing
tenor Antoine Garth, the renowned magician Dr. Penguin, and the band
Music Man for
your dancing pleasure after a succulent buffet from the Amari Rincome,
raffle prizes, a silent auction, a frenzied bidding war for the top
items and songs, snappy chatter and comedy slide show from yours truly,
MC Scott Jones. Proceeds will build new toilets and canteen facilities
at a Hmong village school on Doi Sutep near Chiangmai and provide supplies/scholarships
for a needy Thai school in Lamphun province.
Previous DAY TO
Two years ago I wasn't sure I'd live two more minutes.
27 July 2004: Sansai, Thailand
Day to Day has become month to month.
21 March 2004: Chiangmai, Thailand
& R and R & R for the R:
rest, relaxation, roots and rubber for the road.
20 December 2003: Chiangmai and Pai,
Later DAY TO
Thailand Charity Motorcycle Ride 2007!
January 2007, All Over Northern Thailand
220,000 baht, fireworks, badminton and love!
16 November 2005, Children's Garden, Doi Saket, Thailand
Srinehru Hmong School Gets New Facilities!
15 October 2005, Khun Chang Khian, Thailand
FERC Give and Live Benefits USA Concert Tour 2006
Raises One Million Baht for Thailand's Children
26 August - 6 October, 2005: All across America
FERC's 6th Annual Benefit Gala!
19 February 2005, Chiangmai, Thailand
There's more to give than money.
28 November 2004: Children's Garden, Doi Saket,