December, 2008: Sneakers for Students
The second semester of school, Kamala and Kalim students participated in an exciting competition orchestrated by the PHGBTU staff. Students, who earned three Star English tickets, won a pair of brand new Adidas, Nikes, or Asics. The sneakers were donated by Shaun Boulter, organizer of the Triballistics Triathlon events in Phuket. Laura Gray, head teacher, explains, Students were awarded tickets for working hard, good behaviour, and independent thinking. Some of them have never owned sneakers before, so it was real motivation for them to strive for new shoes. Teachers gave out thirty pairs of sneakers, as well as t-shirts, bags, medals, and trophies. We are hoping to continue our incentive programme, if you have any clothing, sports equipment, toys, etc, that can be used, please contact us.
November, 2008: In Memoriam: Thomas Joseph McNamara, 1946-2008
We are sad to report the passing of Thomas Joseph McNamara in Bangkok on Sunday, November 24 after a long battle with prostate cancer. Tom is survived by his wife Khun Pensri, daughter Fleur and sons Casey and Pure. A public cremation ceremony will be held at Wat Chalong on Phuket, Saturday 28 November from 11:30-12:30.
Tom is known to most people on Phuket Island as a highly successful restaurateur and owner of the Baan Rim Pa group. His bold personality and delightful presence in the restaurants will be sorely missed. He was an inspiring and visionary man to all who knew him.
Having lived and prospered on Phuket Island for 20 years, Tom started the Phuket Has Been Good to Us Foundation in 2005 following the Tsunami, as an effort to give something back to the community he loved so much. He believed that education was the best gift he could provide towards a better future for the community. His tireless efforts over the course of the first three years of the Foundation's history will now be carried on by his daughter, Fleur Birch-Atkinson, and the members of the Foundation's Board of Directors and Board of Managers.
The Foundation is now making an appeal to all for help in carrying on his legacy. At the request of the family, rather than sending flowers to the funeral we ask that you consider making a donation. Thank you for your support.
September, 2008: Thai Language Version of Foundation Website Launched
The Phuket Has Been Good to Us Foundation's website is now available in Thai language. We hope this will prove to be a convenience for the families of the children we serve, our neighbours, government officials and all other Thai citizens that seek to learn about our organization. At first only the homepage was posted in Thai, but eventually the entire site will be translated and posted online. The initial work was done by a volunteer from Bangkok, Ratirose Supaporn. The Foundation seeks ongoing volunteer assistance to keep the Thai version accurate and up-to-date.
August, 2008: Scuba Diving Day Trip for Kamala Students
Usually at 7 am, the residential students of the Rachaprachanukroh school in Kamala find themselves about to start another day in life limited to living and attending classes within the confines of the walls of their institution. But on this particular day, 33 extremely grateful children were about to embark on a day of fun under the sea, compliments of Phuket's Scandinavian Scuuba Doo. The day trip was arranged through our Foundation. Senior teacher and English programme coordinator Laura Gray, had arranged for Scuuba Doo director Hakan (Hogge) Larsson to provide the all expenses-paid trip, including transportation for two groups to and from the school in Kamala to the Chalong pier, from where the children were transported on boat to Coral Island. Scuuba Doo provided four dive masters led by Khun Tad, who spoke to the children about water safety and environmental issues as they enjoyed fruit on the way to their snorkelling adventure.
While our mission is primarily to provide English language education, we also work to give students a sense of hope, self-esteem and to connect them with their community, noted Ms. Gray, who was joined by another of the Foundation's teachers, Jonathan Higgins. Two Thai teachers from the Kamala school also were on hand. Following their approximately 90- minute swim and a free lunch, the students were treated to a boat ride displaying the beautiful views of the waters around Phuket and were given free Scuuba Doo t-shirts before heading back home.
Some very happy children would soon thereafter make beautiful cards for the Scuuba Doo staff expressing their gratitude for their special day. The Foundation will engage in further such collaborations with local business in order to improve the lives of Phuket's children.
July, 2008: We've Moved! Our New Office In Kamala
Since its inception in 2005, the Phuket Has Been Good to Us Foundation was housed in the Kalim offices of the Baan Rim Pa restaurant Group. The generosity of the staff of the Baan Rim Pa group cannot be overstated. But as we have grown over time, it has become necessary for us to stake out on our own and establish an independent office. Since at this time we operate in schools in Kamala and Kalim, it made sense to try to locate a suitable building close to our former offices.
In July 2008, we were lucky enough to have been offered a space in Kamala, just around the corner from the Kamala school where we have placed four teachers. We have moved in and are in the process of getting fully set up. We of course welcome any donations of computers, office furniture, equipment and supplies. See our in-kind donation page for more information. Our new address and phone are: 80/4 Moo 3, Kamala, Kathu, Phuket 83150. Tel: +66 (076) 278 146 Fax: +66 (0)76-342-460. Once we're all set up and established in the neighbourhood, we plan to have a special event to celebrate our new home.
June, 2008: Marion Family Donation - Children Helping Children
This donation to our Foundation was highlighted in the 16 June 2008 edition of the Phuket Post: "For anyone to raise US$700 for a school halfway around the world is an achievement. When the fundraiser is a 13-year-old child who raised the money in his own school, it becomes a tremendous achievement. Alex Marion, from Maryland in the US, raised the money- around 23,000 baht - to help the children of Kamala, and his family friends, the Shaws, matched his achievement, bringing the total to 45,980 baht. Both the Marion and Shaw families were in Phuket recently to hand over the giant-sized cheque to the Phuket Has Been Good to Us Foundation, to improve the English skills of the children at Rachaprachanukroh School. Around 150 children in the school are orphans. The money will go towards building a play kitchen and shop, books and awards for the children. Well done, Alex. Your efforts are an inspiration."
May, 2008: Programme in King’s Foundation School Enters Second Year
We have entered our second year of operating an English Programme in the new Rachaprachanakroh 36 school in Kamala. The school is the 36th in Thailand to be built under the auspices of H.M. the King’s Rachaprachanakroh Foundation, which can be translated as ‘the King and the people helping each other.’ Our Foundation’s program, formerly provided for grade levels 1-3, has been expanded to levels 1-6, for a total of approximately 500 students. The English sections of the school now include classrooms, a library and an office for the growing staff. The expansion of services has transformed the process of assessment into a major undertaking.
The Foundation’s first oral tests, at Kalim School, little more than two years ago, were conducted with 120 students. In contrast, 1500 oral tests will be carried out with 609 different students in the current school year. In addition, the Foundation carries out two written tests with each child every school year. A small army of volunteer testers donate their time, in May, September and March of each year and the Foundation is always on the look-out for more native English-speaking adults who can help out. If you can spare a few hours, please get in touch with us!