On 15 September 2018, The Givers Network was launched in Bangkok at Centara Grand. Co-founded by APC member Thippaporn under her DT Families Foundation, with APC, Khon Thai Foundation and Thai Young Philanthropist Network, the event and network aims to encourage everyone from all walks of life to give, in their own ways, as they can.
The morning session was truly inspirational – the featured speakers included APC’s very own Stanley Tan, who recounted his own childhood experience when he made the decision to give up taking the bus from school in order to save enough money to donate to an orphanage. Others like Suwannachat, gives in the ways that he can and knows how to. He is a taxi driver who has been through a lot of hardships in life, including getting tricked into bondage on a fishing boat, but has chosen to pass on kindness instead of wallowing in misery or resentment. Now he takes on jobs that entails him carrying disabled and mobility-impaired passengers and transporting them to their hospital appointments. It is a tough and physically demanding job but he has found that to be his mission in life.
Saving Lives through Building the Community – Smiling Gecko
The most unforgettable speech we heard that day came from Dr. Hannes Schmid, co-founder of Smiling Gecko Cambodia. In the four years since its inception, the organisation has gone from one providing aid to the slum communities in Phnom Penh, to a mammoth project in the city’s outskirts. It now contains a school, farming projects ranging from fishery to agricultural produce, carpentry training and a hospitality centre with a high-end resort. The outstanding work from the team has to be seen to be believed, it not only lifted the community from their former subsistence lifestyles, but enabled them to be able to forge meaningful and healthy lives compared to the past, which was riddled with child prostitution and other dangerous livelihoods.
APC believes that there can be a lot that we can learn from the organisation and the way that they are building the community and working through partnerships. Thus, we would like to organise a study trip to Smiling Gecko, which is located outside of Phnom Penh. The trip will also include visits to other projects, including water and sanitation project under Lien Aid. More details to follow soon!
Coming together for Thai Philanthropy
In the afternoon, the breakout sessions discussed more deeply on issues regarding philanthropy, cross-border learning, and how to encourage more effective giving in Thailand. Participants were keen to explore further and to create more materials to increase awareness on strategic philanthropy, establish better access between resource providers and people doing great work on the ground. At the end of the day, Khun Thippaporn’s words resonated with everyone – that we should all give according to our strengths.
Ping us if you want to find out more about The Givers Network at [email protected]