News 2009

News 2009

December, 2009: Absolute Birthday Party
One Saturday afternoon in December all of the children with a birthday in December and January piled into Absolute mini buses and excitedly watched the beautiful beaches of Kamala and Patong pass by through the windows. In no time we arrived at Patong Absolute Ville in Patong, where an amazing scene awaited them. Balloons created an archway into the swimming pool area - more balloons were hanging from the walls, others were filled with water and were floating in the huge pool. 
A great time was had splashing around, practicing swimming under water and bombing each other with water balloons. But there was more. There were clowns and magicians to entertain; the looks on some of the children's faces when the ball appeared from nowhere was great to see. There was also a huge birthday cake for the after swimming munchies. Happy Birthday to some very happy Coconut Club students and thank you so much to Absolute for a great afternoon out!

December, 2009: A4Art Exhibition
In August residential students produced some amazing art at the Coconut Club silk screen workshop. On Wednesday 9th December some of their best paintings were on show together with donated art from generous local and international artists. A huge thank you to the artists who donated their work; all of the money made from sales will be used to ensure the Foundation can continue to change the lives of children in Phuket. A big thank you also to Wine Connection, Royal Eastern Beverage Company and Absolute Vodka who sponsored the drinks on the night.

November, 2009: Birthday Party at Coconut Club

Residential children with a birthday in October or November had the best afternoon at Coconut Club on Saturday 21st November. The students invited two of their friends to join them for a fun filled afternoon. Yet again, many thanks to Banyan Tree for providing cake and party food, to Rockfish Restaurant and their staff for party food and games and to Bodega for the great face painting. Welcome, for the first time, and thank you to Laguna's Banyan Tree Management Academy Staff for the birthday treats, gifts and games.

November, 2009: Coconut Club Swimming Lessons

Phuket International Academy (PIA) hosted their first Coconut Club swimming lessons on Saturday 14th November. The lucky students were amazed when they arrived to see just how huge an Olympic pool is. Thank you for the amazing lessons PIA staff - one student, swimming for the first time, was able to swim the full length of the pool having just watched his brother to see how it was done.

November, 2009: Playing Conkers at Coconut Club

Volunteer Kathy brought conkers all the way from the UK and introduced Coconut Club students to this great game! The students drilled holes in their conkers and strung them on string. They then took it in turns to hit their opponent's conker until the winner's conker broke the other open and it fell off the string. The students, and some of their teachers not from the UK, were initially bemused by this game but soon got into the swing of it.

November, 2009: Making Flower Vases at Coconut Club

Volunteers Cristy and Sarah brought masses of purple orchids to Coconut Club this week. The students were given old water bottles which they covered in paper and decorated with great drawings and flowers to make their very own flower vases. The students were delighted to take these beautiful flower arrangements away with them to brighten their dormitories.

November, 2009: Duck Race

Phuket Community Foundation (PCF) invited Phuket Has Been Good To Us Foundation to set up a booth at their fundraising Duck Race at Laguna. Ten lucky students went to Laguna with us and had an amazing afternoon joining in the carnival like fair. Congratulations to PCF on their fun filled event and thanks for letting us be a part of it.

September, 2009: Surfing Coconut Club style!

Luke Remmer of Surf House, Surin Beach, took 14 lucky Coconut Club students surfing at Bang Tao beach. To start with some of the children were very nervous and didn't want to learn to surf. An hour later, with help from Luke, their teachers, volunteers and every child was standing up on their board! The students learnt such a valuable life lesson: they can achieve anything they want as long as they put the hard work in!

September, 2009: Skateboarding Tuesday at Coconut Club

Every Tuesday from 3.30pm to 4.30pm the residential students at Kamala School can be seen showing off their newly acquired skateboarding skills thanks to Luke Remmer of Surf House, Surin Beach, who brought Skateboard Tuesday to Coconut Club. The first week boys and girls alike pulled on their safety helmets and showed themselves naturals at the sport. Over the next few weeks Luke is going to teach the students how to do simple tricks.  

September, 2009: Saturday Swimming Class

On Saturday 26th September Coconut Club students had swimming class at Nakatani. Teachers and volunteers went through a skill set with all of the budding swimmers. Can you: put your head under water; collect a sunken object from the bottom; push yourself off the side?  By the end of the lesson even those who were nervous to begin with were competing in the races and jumping in off the side. 

September, 2009: Birthday Party at Coconut Club

Residential students with a birthday in August and September had a very special afternoon on Friday 25th September. Many thanks to Banyan Tree for providing cake and party food and to Rockfish Restaurant and their staff for party games complete with prizes and laughter. For a special treat Nick Anthony gave each child a copy of "Princess Sausage" a story about a happy Thai dog rescued on Surin Beach. Many many thanks to all of our supporters who have donated backpacks, stuffed toys, marbles, yoyos and kites for birthday presents. Please keep these donations coming!!!

September, 2009: Jewellery Making at Coconut Club

The weather has worked against our swimming classes this month. However, that has not stopped the fun for groups of children at Coconut Club. One rainy Saturday morning, Clara Chiang and six of her classmates from Singapore (who came to Phuket Has Been Good To Us Foundation for their Challenge Week) brought jewellery making kits for the students to work with.  The students designed and made some beautiful necklaces and bracelets.

September, 2009: Fun at Coconut Club

This month Coconut Club had a new dress up box and the students have been having fun with the clothes stretching their imagination to the max! Coconut Club is the after school programme for students who live at Kamala School seven days a week. Our teachers and volunteers run the fun sessions from 3.30 - 4.30 Monday to Thursday. The children are able to play games and sports, having fun whilst practicing their English.

September, 2009: An ABBATASTIC! Charity Fundraiser

On Saturday 12th September Les Anges held a fantastic fundraiser for the Foundation. Peter Webber from Les Anges provided spectacular entertainment and amazing food and 91.5FM great music for the 150 guests at the event. Superb auction and raffle prizes were on offer on the night including a one off ABBA plaque and a trip to London's West End to see 'Priscilla, Queen of the Desert'.

August, 2009: Art Workshop

On Sunday 29th August two of our teachers, Ashley and Lena, ran our second silk screen printing workshop for ten Coconut Club students. The children cut out shapes and silk screened over them to produce interesting paintings.  The students also cut pictures from magazines and made collages over their pictures. Some of the best pieces will be on sale at a Fundraising Art Exhibition in December at Hung Fat's Restaurant.

August, 2009: Charity Golf Day

On Tuesday 18th August the Phuket Junior Golf Foundation held its inaugural Charity Golf Day. Two lucky students from Coconut Club joined the players for the prize giving ceremony and Oliver Bates, Golf Pro at Phunaka Golf Club, took the students to the practice putting green and helped them with their stroke. Congratulations to Avnish Dhall, Winner of the Individual Event and Mat Partridge and Rory Byrne, Winners of the 2BBB Team Event.

August, 2009: Art Workshop

On Sunday 9th August Steve Tothill and Khun Whan ran a silk screen printing workshop for ten lucky Coconut Club students. The children learnt about mixing colours and how to use layering to produce interesting patterns.  They also cut out silhouettes to create shapes on their paintings.  Steve was really excited by some of the pieces the students produced.  Some of their best paintings will be on sale at a Fundraising Art Exhibition in November.

August, 2009: Saturday Swimming Class at British International School

On Saturday 8th August the British International School invited twenty Coconut Club students to practice their swimming skills in their Olympic swimming pool. The children were excited to be driven across the island in mini busses and were amazed when they saw the size of the pool. The students worked really hard at their swimming strokes and had a fun time with huge floats and volleyball afterwards. All of the students and volunteers had a great time - thank you BIS we'll be back next week with 20 of the students we had to leave back in Kamala this week!

August, 2009: A Special Birthday Party at Coconut Club

On Sunday 2nd August there was a very special birthday party at Coconut Club. Residential students' birthdays often come and go without a celebration and the teachers at Kamala school decided that that just wouldn't do. At Coconut Club we asked our students "when is your birthday" and we made a birthday list. A couple of the children didn't know when their birthdays were so we told them they could celebrate in July. Every child with a birthday in May, June and July wrote birthday invitations for two of their special friends to "come to my party". 

On Sunday morning, with children queuing up outside hours before the party was due to start the teachers set up Pin the Tail on the Elephant, Pass the Parcel and Balloon Game stations. The children had a fantastic time. We sang Happy Birthday to You and the birthday children received a small birthday present such as colouring crayons and books for the younger ones and shampoos and soaps or sports T-shirts for the older ones. Shafar and Adila donated some amazing birthday cakes which they had bought at The Hilton Hotel. Paul and Bill from The Children of Phuket brought along three bikes for all of the residential children to share.  Students can 'sign them out' any time after school or at the weekend to ride around the school grounds.

June, 2009: Phuket International Fashion Week Opening Party
On Tuesday 23rd June six Coconut Club students were invited to open Phuket International Fashion Week at the Celebrity Opening Party at White Box. The students were a little nervous but made great welcoming speeches telling the guests that we were looking for sponsors for them and their friends left back at the school for the night. They did a great job as three students were sponsored that night!

June, 2009: Laguna 5km walk

10 Coconut Club students, staff and Board Members of Phuket Has Been Good To Us Foundation were excited to join the Laguna Marathon day by entering the 5km walk. The students walked and ran the 5km with much enthusiasm.  They were delighted, when passing through the finish line, that they were presented with medals! The day was capped off with face painting and a cooling dip in the ocean.

June, 2009: Coral Seekers Team Building day

16 Coconut Club students and staff from Kamala School went on a trip to an island near Ao Yon, by speedboat. The two teams of students, Lions and Monkeys, engaged in fun games involving leadership, team work and problem solving skills. Thanks so much to Coral Seekers for providing the fantastic day out and to Jonathan Fowler for the excellent photographs!

June, 2009: Coconut Club Pen Pal Programme

In February, Coconut Club members at Kamala School wrote letters to students at Meridian Elementary on Grosse Ile Island in Michigan, US. On June 8th, students received much anticipated replies from their pen pals in the US. Some students even received two letters, as well as stickers, photos of Meridian Elementary, and photos of their new friends. The partnership was set up by Grosse Ile residents and PHBGTU volunteers, Rick and Ann Gartland, who were on hand to help students read the letters. Students are very eager to send off letters to their new American friends!

May, 2009: The Big Picture - The Foundation's Fundraiser at Hung Fat's.

On Thursday 28 May over 100 art lovers gathered at Hung Fat's restaurant in Kalim for 'The Big Picture', an inspirational photography exhibition with works on show by students and friends of the Phuket Has Been Good to Us Foundation. 

The evening was a tremendous success; 20 photographs by Coconut Club students and over 40 by professional photographers and friends of the Foundation were on sale. A huge thank you to the artists who donated their work; Paul Roubicek, Daniel Wolf, Cameron Hansen (who also printed our students' photographs), Wayne Maule, Michael Weinstein, Tommy Karlsson, Pim Taecharachkij, Khun Nok, Khun Soong, Jason Lang, Marsha Lutz and Kareem.

Some amazing prizes were also for the taking at the evening's auction and raffle. Over 100,000 baht worth of prizes were donated by Sheraton Grande Laguna Phuket, Nine Bar and Lounge, The Chedi Phuket & The Chedi Chiang Mai, The Village Coconut Island, Les Anges, Angsana Spa, Laguna Phuket Golf Club and Twin Palms Phuket, Siam Supper Club, Lemongrass House and Catch Beach Club. Thank you to all our donors.

And the evening wouldn't have been complete without the wine donation from BB&B and the beverages kindly provided by Royal Eastern Beverage. Click here for media coverage of the event.

March, 2009: Foundation Launches Fan Page on Facebook
The Phuket Has Been Good to us Foundation now has a fan page on the popular Facebook website.  The page enables the Foundation to post photo albums of the children and their activities in the Kalim and Kamala schools and with The Coconut Club.  We plan to make other uses of the sites potential functions in the future as well. 

For now the fan page will serve to increase the Foundation's exposure both locally and worldwide.  The Foundation can also easily send out messages to all its fans via Facebook about upcoming events or other initiatives.  Become a fan today!

March, 2009: Coconut Club Hold Week-Long Photography Workshop
Earlier this year, the Foundation was approached by photographer Martha Lutz who was interested in working with the children to teach them about photography.  It was decided Marsha would lead a week long workshop with the children of the Coconut Club.  Aged 12-14, the children were given six cameras donated by Marsha's friends back in the US. The best of the photos taken by the children will be printed and offered for sale later this year.  See some of the rest of the photos at the Foundation's Facebook fan page.

February, 2009: Fundraising Dinner held at Hung Fat's Restaurant in Kalim

Recently, a group of approximately thirty supporters of the Phuket Has Been Good to Us Foundation attended a charity gala dinner organized by Board members Peter Hamilton and Michael Weinstein at Hung Fat's restaurant in Kalim. The restaurant is adjacent to the Kalim school, where the Foundation is completing its three year pilot programme.  The dinner paired the highly regarded French chef Jerome Nutile, with Joe's Downstairs' executive chef Aaron Hooper, recent winner of the King of the Kitchen, Thailand's award granted by HAPA (Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards).  Hung Fat's is the newest of the four restaurants of the Baan Rim Pa restaurant group, formerly owned by our founder, the late Tom McNamara. The event raised over 250,000 baht for the children served by the Foundation. Thanks to all who helped organize and conduct this dinner, your support is much appreciated.

January, 2009: TEFL Phuket:  Teach, Meditate, Volunteer
Earlier this semester, Stewart Keith of TEFL Phuket approached the staff of PHBGTU with a unique partnership idea: new volunteers every month in exchange for training hours at our schools.  TEFL Phuket, located in Kamala, issues Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) certification, for students who complete the classroom hours and spend twenty hours practice teaching or observing.  So far, ten TEFL candidates, all to wanting to experience working in a Thai government school, have created materials, worked in Coconut Club, and assisted in the classroom.  In addition, candidates have the choice of coming to the course early or staying after its completion to work with PHGBTU. TEFL Phuket is unique in that it is Thailand's only TEFL school that also offers meditation retreats through The Karuna Center.