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Life in Thailand #2

October 5, 2009

One of our main goals in developing The SOLD Project: Prevention Program is to create a program that is completely Thai run and (at some point) self-sustaining. So, the first thing on our agenda was to hire Thai staff. Well, not only did we find someone to fill the role of Program Manager, but we found THE PERFECT person! Blah Chermui. Born and raised in Thailand, Blah is a mother of three and has been out of work for sometime to raise her family. She was looking for a job just like this when we approached her about the position… perfect timing! In one month, Blah has taken off full steam ahead. She has found 150 more children in need of scholarships in Chiang Rai, built relationships with 4 more schools in the area, and spent a lot of time in the villages with families of our scholarship kids to find out what their individual needs are. Check out the “Who We Are” section on our website for Blah’s profile! Next month we will have the new profiles ready of children in need of scholarships and will be looking for many new sponsors. $365 dollars a year is all it takes to help keep one child in school. Let me know if you are interested!!

On another note… we recently purchased “The SOLD Mobile,” an old pick-up truck that we will use for many different activities with the kids and with volunteers who come to Chiang Rai. When Nate and I leave the truck will continue to be used for SOLD work, so we are happy about the little investment. It’s fun to drive and definitely feels like I’m back home in Crawfordsville, IN driving around in an old pick-up on country roads… although these roads are lined with rice fields (not corn fields 🙂

The last update on SOLD is that we are beginning to raise funds to build an office/drop-in center. Our Program Director, TaWee Donchai, purchased land in the village where he grew up and where a large portion of our scholarship students live. He has decided he wants to give this land to SOLD to build a building that we can use for the following puposes: 1) As a drop-in center for students to visit after school for help with homework, English camps, and to hang out with SOLD staff and volunteers 2) SOLD Project Offices and 3) Long Term Volunteer housing. Essentially, This building will further our efforts of relationship building and mentorship for our scholarship students and will allow our staff to easily host events for students in the afternoons/weekends. Long term volunteer housing would provide accommodations for long term volunteer staff in Thailand – allowing them to experience village life and Thai culture. The estimated cost is $10,000 and could be done by January if the funds are raised quickly.

My personal thoughts on all things SOLD…
I continue to be amazed and encouraged by the continuous growth that is occurring and that the vision continues to be “caught” by so many different people in so many different places with such different backgrounds. I feel so grateful to be in Thailand with the opportunity to see the fruits of our labor.

Our staff continues to dream and to not let the size of our dreams get in the way! We have so much to accomplish and at times I feel the only thing getting in the way is finances. We are approaching the next stage and are in need of major funding in order to accomplish what needs to be accomplished here. If any of you have relationships to foundations or other sources of funding… we could definitely use your help!

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