The Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya organized the first-ever Rotary Charity Music Festival on Sunday, Nov 15 at the Grande Centre Point Hotel to raise funds to help support underprivileged children under the care of four charitable homes.
The concert proved to be extremely successful with a sell-out crowd of more than 200 partygoers listening and dancing to the sounds of 30 volunteer expat musicians, who played hits of the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s for over 5 hours.
Proceeds from the charity event exceeded 100,000 baht.
As the holiday season was fast approaching, funds had to be disbursed to the beneficiaries as soon as possible, so President Peter Marsh organized Rotarians to gather together for this purpose.
The first presentation was made to the Baan Jing Jai Foundation on Dec 17, which coincided with the auspicious day the Norwegian residents in Pattaya kicked off their Christmas celebrations.
Peter and his fellow Rotarians assembled at the Norwegian Seamen’s Church, Pattaya, where he presented Director Piangta Chumnoi with a large check for 40,000 baht. After the presentation, the children performed beautiful Christmas carols which touched the hearts of the whole congregation.
Baan Jing Jai started in 1992 in a small rented house, which also became a “drop-in” home for street children. They sought out the many street children who hung around in Pattaya, those who tried to beg and/or were forced to sell themselves to tourists who had come to Pattaya to exploit these poor unfortunate orphans, or who had escaped from violent homes.
Piangta Chumnoi took it upon herself to motivate these children to go to school and take them away from the terrible environment.
Baan Jing Jai helps to support children who have completed regular school and who required further education, which costs more than regular school. Eventually, the home will focus on creating projects for these children, helping them choose the right way forward to not fall into the wrong “professions” here in Pattaya and Thailand.
Three other beneficiaries were presented with their cheques at a ceremony held at the regular Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya meeting at the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel on Dec 23.
President Peter Marsh and President-Elect Ray Whitley presented a cheque for 20,000 baht to Palisorn Noja, director of the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Abuse Center (ATCC).
Noja said, “The centre cares for about 40 children and three staff. Our minimum costs to look after the children and the home are 150,000 baht per month. During the COVID-19 pandemic, support has dwindled and we are struggling to look after our children.
“Our center provides a safe environment, opportunities to attend school, and assistance from counselors and social workers. Charity organizations provide ongoing scholarships for children taking refuge at the center.
“Besides that, the ATCC program has been fundamental in the tracking and arrest of dozens of child traffickers and pedophiles.”
Khru Ja said that most people charged in Thailand with child sexual abuse are foreign sex tourists who use agents active in human trafficking. Many appear outwardly to have good jobs and are wealthy, which helps to conceal their pedophilia.
He said many of the young victims are orphans or products of broken homes or were sold into the trade by poor families.
A presentation of 20,000 baht was also made to the MERCY Pattaya under the care of Liz Shepard, who thanked the Rotarians for their generosity. “MERCY is a small, but committed Christian organization staffed by missionaries and volunteers,” she said. “Since 2002, MERCY has been making inroads into the lives of the poor in Pattaya, but we need to partner with those, like yourselves, who also want to bring the hope of a new life and a real future for those less blessed in our society.
“We develop projects to help provide educational, moral, life skills and vocational training for poor children and the destitute. MERCY undertakes strategic projects among the poor to help bring about community transformation in Pattaya. We fulfill God’s commands to show mercy as stated in Matthew 25:35-40 and James 1:27: Provide food and water for the hungry & thirsty, clothe the naked, visit and care for widows and orphans, care for the stranger, visit the sick, and visit those in prison.”
The final presentation of the evening was to Radchada Chomjinda, Director of the Human Help Network Foundation (Thailand). The organization received 20,000 baht.
The HHN Foundation Thailand is an NGO registered under Thai law, promoting sustainable human, social and economic development. Founded in May 2008 in Pattaya, it focuses on issues related to children and adolescents. It operates the Child Protection and Development Center for street children and supports the Pattaya Orphanage, as well as the Sotpattana School for the Deaf and other projects. Together those projects provide help, a home, an education and a future for almost 300 ill, orphaned, or disabled children and street children in Thailand. Their outreach work in the streets of Pattaya touches hundreds more.
Together with partners, HHNFT focuses on raising general awareness concerning global questions of development based on human justice and respect for the environment. They also promote voluntary work as a global learning experience and expression of personal commitment for a better world.
President Peter Marsh said, “The donations are directed to those charities who could make the biggest impact in improving the lives of needy Thai people, especially children. The Rotary Club of Jomtien-Pattaya are staunch supporters of charity projects for children and will continue to raise funds for this purpose.
“We also wish to thank the many expat musicians who donated their time and talents to make the fundraiser a huge success.”
The 2nd Rotary Charity Music Festival is being planned, but the organizers have decided to wait until the threat of the coronavirus in Thailand subsides.