The Baan Than Namchai Foundation was set up after the 2004 tsunami hit Khao Lak, under the leadership of its founder Khun Rotjana and supported by an Australian charity, Hands Across the Water. A home was built for 32 children discovered living in a tent in a temple and the orphanage was founded.
The orphanage currently supports 77 children from the age of two and a half up to 18 years old, including 11 children supported at continued study at university. While Baan Than Namchai Foundation was originally set up to support orphans following the 2004 tsunami, today it supports both orphans and children from disadvantaged backgrounds, that may come from broken or violent homes or otherwise have to live in extreme poverty. The emphasis is to ensure the children are healthy and well educated to give them the best start possible for their future lives. They have a fish pond and grow many of their own vegetables, they also grow mushrooms and have a small rubber plantation. This provides an opportunity for the children to learn about nature and also helps the orphanage be partly self sustainable.
However they still need more support for basics and to help with the children’s education. To put their needs into perspective, the kitchen cooks 300 meals a day and gets through 10kgs of uncooked rice and 10kgs of meat every day.
The profits from the sale of the RiceBagz will be used initially for essentials such as food, toiletries and sanitary products, but the main goal is to provide for a playground and educational items to help the children grow, develop and have a brighter future. We will provide regular updates on how the orphanage has used the funds from this project.
For more details on the orphanage or to make a direct donation, follow this link:
The Craft Shop
Attached to the orphanage is a Craft Shop that was set up with the help of Hands Across the Water. The shop employs six local women and they have been making clothes and small gifts for sale, and recently have also been making personal protective equipment for Phang Nga hospital. However, the Craft Shop has also been struggling recently due to the absence of tourists in the area, and this project provides a much-needed wage for women that would otherwise have no other source of income.
Three of the ladies have now been trained to make the bags and accessories for our project and a fourth is being trained to cut the patterns. They will be paid for each batch of 100 sets they produce. They started production in the middle of July, and we expect to get 20 sets of bags on a weekly basis. The Craft Shop can employ more local women if they need to scale up to produce more bags.
Kwanta Srichan, nicknamed Koong, has been part of the team at the Craft Shop for eight years. 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.