The People Behind

RiceBagz for Orphans

Pi Game - Director of Baan Tham Namchai
 
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“My name is Wantsna Sittirachot. My Nick Name is Game, all Thai people are given a nickname when they are born. Maybe because their names are so long!! I am the director of Baan Than Namchai foundation (BTN) which is supported by Hands Across the Water Australia. I just finished my master in civil law and I am a sub-lieutenant in the Thai Army. I am 28 years old and believe I have led a lucky life.

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But it wasn’t always like that: I never knew my mother and father or if I had any brothers and sisters and I was brought up by my auntie and her husband till 2004 when the Tsunami hit my home town of Khao Lak. Then I had to leave school, leave my home…..I talked to my teacher  who spoke to the director of the Baan Than Namchai (BTN) foundation, Khun Rotjana. This wonderful lady changed my life and gave me the opportunity to live at BTN foundation with 32 children that were in a similar position……Rotjana became the mother that I never had.

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I was lucky enough to finish both Primary and High School and I studied hard. Hands Across the Water gave me a scholarship so I could attend university where I graduated in Law. After graduating I was sent by Hands Across the Water to Australia and New Zealand to study English, this was gave me an insight into western way of life.

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I returned home to work for Hands Across the Water but to great sadness. The lady who had given me one of the biggest starts in my life was terminally ill -  I needed to support and care for her as she had for me, and with the care and compassion of Hands Across the Water, I was able to still carry out my job and care and give love to Khun Rotjana. Sadly, she is no longer with us and it has left a big gap in the life of me and the children in our homes.

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Rotjana wanted me to carry on her work caring for the children and the community she loved so much with the support of Hands Across The Water. I was appointed the Director of the home BTN, and as much as I loved the opportunity, I was faced with many challenges.  The student has become ‘the boss’ and many of the older generations that had seen me grow from an 11-year-old boy to be the director of the orphanage made it very difficult for me.   There were many times that I wanted to give up but I love the children and this was the work I want to do and carry on Rotjana’s unfinished work.

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I finished my Master's in law, my Major is Thai Business Management and I'm deciding what to study next: marketing or pedagogy. My wish is to give the children at Baan Tham Namchai the best start, love and care possible as I know first-hand what it is to live without a family.

Hands Across The Water have always supported me and I never felt alone in a home that had 32 children when I joined them at age 11, and now I’m the director of a home with 77 happy kids and I love my job!

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The RiceBagz for Orphans project gives the children of Baan Tham Nachai the feel of individually, one of my goals. I know how important it is to have something of your own: a Christmas present with your name - to have a toiletry bag with your own shampoo and shower gel - to choose an ice cream you desire. Maybe simple and everyday things for you and your family, but you can imagine that caring for 77 children is not that easy.

Thank you so much for your support. You make a big difference, the children love you!"

Meet the RiceBagz Creators
 
Pi Koong from the Craft shop at Baan Tham Namchai

Kwanta Srichan, nicknamed Koong, has been part of the team at the Craft Shop at Baan Tham Namchai Foundation for eight years.

Pi Koong lives close to the orphanage with her family.  She is the senior sewing machinist in the team and has a can-do attitude and a positive mindset, whatever project she is asked to work on. Now she is working full time on the RiceBagz project and is enjoying the experience and the new skills she is developing working on the different designs and new materials.

Nong Bim - master seamstress for RiceBagz for Orphans

Nong Bim is our master seamstress in Bang Niang, where she raises her two children together with her husband. Bim is always in a good mood and happy to work on RiceBagz for Orphans. Before the Covid period, she would have many orders from hotels and tourists, but times have changed. Thanks to your support in ordering RiceBagz, she can now support her family. 

Bim says: 'ขอบคุณมา , thank you so much!'

 
Pa Unn, mother of Bim

Meet Pa Unn, the mother for Bim. If you ever have been to Khao Lak and wanted trousers shortened or blouses made, you might know her because she is the go-to lady. Being a seamstress her whole life just half a word is enough and she makes everything to perfection. Thank you Pa Unn for your help!

Pi Ew, finishing your keyrings in the morning sun

Pi Ew owns a small shop where she sells fabrics, yarn and needles. She is specialised in making beautiful garments like wedding dresses. To work with rice sacks, she needed an industrial sewing machine. Thanks to generous donations from Soropitimst Club Vienna, she has one and is making your next RiceBagz Shopper!

Pi Thip, showing Finding Nemo and Pink Tiger

Pi Thip, sister of Pi Ew, is a seamstress by trade. She was very keen to follow her sister to work for RiceBagz for Orphans. Pi Thip has a small shop selling daily essentials like soap, shampoo, laundry detergent in Bang Niang. She has now a small setup with an industrial sewing machine in the back of her shop where she creates beautiful pouches and keyrings: all to perfection!  

Thank you, Pi Thip, for your work and always sunny mood!

Meet the Initiators

 

The three project initiators -sponsors- met in Khao Lak, Thailand, and keen upcyclers of unused and unwanted items.  They also share a passion for helping to improve the local environment and the communities in which they live, including cleaning up the beaches with Trash Heroes and supporting a local volunteer group that feeds and provides medical care for local street dogs and cats.

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Barbara van Os

Our gifted creative genius, Barbara, was originally from the Netherlands.  She has a background in sales but her passion lies in creating beautiful objects and getting involved in the local community.  She is never bored and only wishes there were 36 hours in every day to act on all her ideas!   She is now a volunteer and lives in Khao Lak with her husband and 2 dogs.

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Ulla Haider-Graziani

Originally from Austria, Ulla had an exciting career as an investigative journalist and documentary maker, interviewing convicted criminals and controversial political leaders.  Her work took her on location all over the world, and she is now retired in Thailand with her two adopted street cats.  She has been a member of Soroptimist International for seven years.

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Toni Weber

Toni was born in London, where she qualified as a Chartered Accountant.  She spent much of her career abroad, with the last 15 years living in China and South East Asia.  She is now retired in Thailand with her partner and her senior dog.  She loves cooking, fishing, painting unwanted furniture, and is a keen supporter of Tottenham Hotspur (Come on You Spurs!) 

Meet the Sponsers 
 

Hands Across The Water

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Hands Across the Water is dedicated to enriching the lives of disadvantaged children and communities in Thailand. Its’ mission is to create a life of choice for kids, rather than one of chance.

It is an Australian based charity that commenced its work in 2005 in the wake of the devastating Tsunami that hit South East Asia.   At that time the orphanage of Baan Than Namchai was set up and was the first community supported by Hands Across the Water.  Since then they have transformed the lives of more than 350 children in seven projects across Thailand.

For more details or to make a donation, please follow the link to their website: https://www.handsacrossthewater.org.au/#