THAILAND LAPTOP COMPUTER PROJECT

Donation Goal For This Project is $8,000
50% Donated/$4,000 To Go
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Noko and I first visited northern Thailand on a Rotary friendship exchange (RFE).  We were enchanted by the kindness, culture, beauty, and low cost living (a one hour massage costs $5).  We made many friends throughout D3360 and many Rotary programs followed (4 RFEs, an ITHF tour, numerous youth exchanges, 10 sister club relationships, dozens of matching grants).
The principal of the Maechan welfare school invited us to teach English on that first RFE and we have been Rotary volunteers to Thailand every year for a dozen years.  A government “welfare” school is a boarding school for disadvantaged hill tribe children K1-12. Many of the children don’t even speak the Thai language when they enter.  The school becomes their family and the dedicated teachers are like their parents.  The students are expected to get jobs upon graduation, since most have no families to support them. They take low end jobs in tourism, cultural dancing, cooking, costume making, farming, blue collar work.
We thought these were smart and well mannered kids who could get good jobs if they had computer skills.  However, the welfare school could only afford to offer a few hours of computer lab time each week.  So with a $50,000 matching grant for camera and laptops, Rotary helped the English teacher start a photo class, where students would take photos, write essays in English and use laptop computers to prepare their photo exhibits.  It was a great success.  The students became skilled computer users in a joyful way.
That was some 10 years ago, and with their computer skills many of those students now work in banks, big companies and start their own businesses.  Their many letters of thanks are overwhelming.
Now we would like to start a laptop project at the ChiangKham Welfare Schoo near the Golden Triangle.  We picked this school because the internet is fast, the surroundings are comfortable, the English teacher and principal are excellent and, of course, the children are adorable.  The costs of computers are much less, so our goal is to raise $8,000.  The school has committed $1,000, so we ask that clubs who would like to become project partners donate $1,000 or more.
Best of all, the ChiangKham School invites all project partners to an opening celebration on 7 January 2016.  You will never forget Thai hospitality, hill tribe entertainment and the smiles of grateful kids.  We hope you will consider joining us.
Steve & Noko Yoshida
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