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Video Credit: Anthem WakePark

Amidst the small island of Phuket, there are numerous charitable organizations supported by generous patrons helping impoverished families, handicaps, women, orphans and stray animals providing them with shelters and financial assistance.

Striving to start a new charitable organization and garnering patrons to believe, support and donate continuously to any cause is an uphill task. Similarly, as an individual, trying to be charitable has not always been an easy task too since there are so many causes to aid.

I stopped making resolution a long time ago but somehow at the beginning of this year I told myself I wanted to live this year differently. Instead of making a resolution list centering me, I decided that I will create a list of things I wanted to do for other people instead of myself. I put the word out in February 2019 that I wanted to support a non-profit organization that speaks a different lingo not the usual accustomed providence of financial aid. Don’t get me wrong, all charity are good charities I just wanted to serve differently this time.

Believe me, when you put the word out to the universe, it hears you and sends you a reply. I was invited to attend an educational talk conducted by Oceans-For-All Foundation led by its founder David Martin and after listening to all his good initiatives to conserve the underwater marine life surrounding Phuket I was inspired to play my part.

Undeniably, every business on this island strives because of the beautiful landscape, beaches and underwater marine life and I believe we or I have benefitted in many ways but I personally have not given anything back unless my small beach cleaning effort is considered.

I volunteered my service that day and asked what I can do for them and looking through the list of initiatives I saw an assignment I knew I can totally support. This task was none other than getting sponsorship to acquire at least 15 sets of proper masks, fins and snorkeling equipment.

The foundation strongly believes that by taking the kids out snorkeling while enjoying the bountiful offers of underwater life form, it will be easier to educate the importance of protecting and preserving the diverse underwater eco system. The goal is obviously to raise a team of empowered local marine life guardians.

This got me thinking a little bit further remembering the past years when we first started our wakeboarding business and we invited all the Thai locals and hoteliers working at the reception and recreation department, giving them complimentary vouchers to try out wakeboarding but was met with less than promising response and we asked ourselves why. The simple truth is, most of them were not able to swim or they were afraid of the water.

Feeling inspired to contribute and motivated by the rationale that the success of this ongoing effort into the future requires the primary ability of swimming skills, I knew I had to raise more money to send underprivileged kids to get swimming lessons too. The local municipal authority was contacted and they acknowledged their support to allow free entry for Thai nationals to Cherntalay community pools but charges for swimming coaches cannot be waived. It costs THB 500 an hour to coach 8-10 students.

Fueled by these objectives, the fund raising campaign started to brew. Being an entrepreneur in Phuket, I understood the hardship of starting and sustaining a business so I invited local businesses providing them a free platform during the event to showcase their products and services.

Let’s Go M.A.D. Fun Fund Raising Event became the chosen theme encouraging public to donate by visiting Anthem Wakepark on Sunday 19 May 2019 to eat, attend workshop, wakeboard or rock climb, buy local products and bid for fantastic prizes sponsored by individuals and companies at heavily discounted rates.

Knowing why I should hate plastic bottles, I thought maybe I can shine some love instead by campaigning to the schools here to craft a homemade Stand-up Paddle (SUP) board I googled online using plastic bottles.

Most of the schools here were not able to entertain my ideas but fortunately David Mayes from Life Education International (LEI) Phuket took up the challenge and was able to conduct a workshop on our event day presenting Phuket’s very first SUP plastic bottles board built by teacher and students volunteer from school.

A standard SUP board costs anything between THB 20K to 50K and I was hoping that showcasing LEI’s craft will inspire the locals to build an affordable SUP board of their own to play and paddle whenever the sea permits.

After the event was concluded and accounted for, a total of THB 72,000 was raised of which THB 42,000 was donated to Oceans-For-All Foundation enabling them more than 15 sets of snorkeling equipment, THB 28,000 was allocated to pay for swimming lessons targeting to benefit 140 kids within the age group of 8 to 16. The first group of 20 kids from Barnhem Swedish Thai Orphanage has been scheduled to embark on their swimming course consisting of 4 sessions per kid starting 16 June.

This M.A.D. event raised enough money to fulfil what I set out to do and with the excess THB 2000, I have chosen to donate to The Good Shepherd where their charity supports the Burmese community working and living in Phuket.

My job is not done yet as I am now on a scouting mission to provide swimming lessons to the next 120 kids. I honestly hope that the small ripples we creating today can truly make big waves someday.

Rebecca is a Singaporean living in Phuket for the past 10 years and she is also the co-founder of Anthem Wakepark, a wakeboarding cable park located near Laguna area in Phuket. She can be contacted on Facebook, Instagram and email [email protected] or [email protected]

Comments

Rated
8
John
ELITE
155 comments
27 May 2019
Thank you Rebecca for this information. You are all doing such wonderful work over in Phuket. Each time I visit I get to meet more and more wonderful souls. People who actually care for the environment. It is such a pity our planet is so polluted, but one by one we can make a change for the better.

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