Just 8 months ago, 70 children on the Thai island of Koh Tao were receiving an international standard of education. An opportunity that was unimaginable for these families living in poverty. For 6 years, the Koh Tao International Primary School flourished with the support of hundreds of donors and child sponsors.
Over the last 2 years, all of that has changed.
The Thai Economy Was no Match For Covid-19
The COVID-19 pandemic slowly impacted the island’s economy, closing businesses, stopping boats, lowering wages, and of course, charitable donations went down with it. The Myanmar migrant community was hit hardest. Living so close to the poverty line, the suffering began almost immediately. The school managed to survive through lockdowns, online classes, back to school restrictions until finally, there was not enough funding to stay open by March 2021.
Myanmar Migrants Had to Face The Pandemic and a War
To make matters worse, a military coup was staged in neighbouring Myanmar. The border is so close to the island; the community could regularly go home to see family and send support money. The coup was followed by extreme violence, devastating the lives of families on the island and those trapped when the pandemic forced border closure.
The Right To Learn Foundation began food drops supplying weekly groceries for families in need in response to the pandemic. Finally, a weekly soup kitchen was the more sustainable option with lower funds.
Community Initiatives Are Thriving in Thailand
It seems when our communities are at their lowest, they band together. Community initiatives have been sprouting up all over Thailand, and Southern Thailand is no exception.
Sisters on Samui
The inspiring work of Thai foundation Sisters on Samui has got to get the first mention. This charity has been providing food, clothing and essential support to the much larger needs of the Thai and Myanmar community of neighbouring island Koh Samui. Their fundraising efforts, community projects and care for others has been a lifeline to their community.
Happy Food Koh Phagnan
The Happy Food Koh Phangan project was specifically set up to support Thai, Myanmar, and Western residents’ basic food needs during the worst of the pandemic. Famous for its full moon parties, the island of Koh Phagnan really came together. They did a miraculous job and proved the impact that communities and groups could achieve if they worked together.
Koh Tao Community Garden
Koh Tao has an amazing new initiative called the Koh Tao Community Garden focused on bringing the community together to work towards common goals like growing food. Locals from all backgrounds have been rolling their sleeves up and getting involved. The head project coordinators have long term plans to improve food stability and create a community centre of activities and spaces to bring the community together.
Right To Learn Foundation
The Right To Learn Foundation has been providing food and family crisis assistance since the pandemic began. Medical emergencies, a soup kitchen each week, food donation collection and distribution have all been the primary focus. We now intend to launch a new Food Pantry at a local gas station where anyone in need or living in poverty can help themselves to food products regularly.
Would You Like to Help a Community Living in Poverty?
If you want to be part of a small charity or initiative doing big things, you can let us know by donating or simply following our social pages and sharing our message. There are hundreds of charities and projects just like these all over the world. It is as easy as coming together and deciding to do something to improve the lives of others. Please join us in making a difference and becoming part of an international community of givers.