After regular visits to four of the camps in the area around the village of Ban Nam Khem, which was wiped out, we soon learnt that there was a gap in the villagers requirements which were not
being immediately taken care off. As they were being moved into the temporary homes they had electricity, however that was all – no electric fans to cool them in the 37 degree heat – the sand
being unavoidably raised into the air was a constant problem for breathing as we quickly learnt to our own cost.
Most families didn't’t have any thing to cook on, no rice cookers, water boilers, coolers or means of storage. After all, not only had they lost their homes and jobs but also, for the vast majority,
all of their possessions had gone too.
Because these items were not necessarily life threatening items to live without no body was apparently going to supply them and the villagers themselves did not feel able to ask, after all they
did have food and water!
By this time we had also got to know the head men of each of these camps. The Thai system for this type of management structure is well established throughout Thailand and operates in all of
the villages and it works well in the main.
Through them and after talking to the families directly we were able to see the best way forward. We needed to move from our phase 1 operation of supplying baby food, nappies and such
supplies to phase 2, which would incorporate some of the non essential but still ‘necessary comforts’ such as the electrical items mentioned above. We also had in mind a Phase 3 plan which
would involve helping with getting the families back into work and so regain their confidence and self respect.
Importantly by this time we had also received confirmation of substantial funds being made available from a certain Italian Publishers of collectibles. With this scale of financial backing our car
loads could now be transformed into lorry loads.
As the families were being moved from tents to wood or tin houses, their needs changed - but how would
these needs be met
The first two lorry loads went into four camps in the Takua Pa area over the 23rd and 25th January. We had targeted this
area as it was the worst hit, regrettably we did not have the resources to service more camps and so decided to concentrate
our efforts in this one area.
Our shopping lists were written after careful consultation at the camps and included the items which were most needed.
We managed to maintain telephone contact with the head men right up to the time of purchase ensuring all the time that
we knew their latest requirements.
Now that we were spending other than our own cash it was even more important that we were sure that what we were
buying what was directly in line with requirements.
The head man had head men in charge of every row of tents or houses; looking after about 20 - 30 families each. They
knew, and had written down, every single item possessed by each family and so given this level of detail nothing was likely
to be duplicated.
Sourcing supplies in the quantities we required proved to be a difficult stage of the operation and could only be done in
Phuket. Getting 600 or more rice cookers for example was a substantial number.
Getting in touch with some of the manufacturers was proving helpful in both consolidating some supplies from various
retailers into one location, also from the point of view of securing the best prices. Shopping of this kind in the quantities
required meant that we were getting approx’ 3 times more for our ‘Baht’ than we ever would in Europe.
Fortunate also was that our main supplier was sympathetic to our aid work and staff worked with us until midnight the day
prior to each delivery to get our orders ready. Extra staff were put on the Lorries and making the various camp drops was
no problem for them. Even in the case of the camp which was situated at the top of a hillside (the children there, many
orphaned, were too scared of the sea to live anywhere but on a mountain top).
The delivery became a challenge which was enthusiastically accepted – everyone wanted to help but for many they just
didn't’t know how or have the resources to do so.
As our own first lorry went in to the Baan
Nam Khem camp we were told of a
‘Christian group’ who had bought them some
electric fans. Unfortunately they were
also explaining that the Tsunami was the
result of them worshipping Buddha – a
shocking insult to all concerned. They left
before the Police were called!
Picture left - manager Thoy at Super Cheap warehouse - Phukets
favourite place for bargains. Nothing was too much trouble in making
sure our orders were treated with care and urgency. Thoy along with
her friends even volunteered to work when they should have been off
The aid on the first lorry was certainly what we thought to be essential, even in terms
of health in some instances. We met parents who were concerned enough about their
children to take them off to the hospital as they were too hot and over heating in their
temporary homes. Amongst other items we delivered were several hundred electric
fans to help keep them cool and more comfortable.
At one camp a head man asked, rather tentatively, if it might be possible to get them
some radios. He explained they had no idea what was happening in the rest of the
country and what the world was saying about the Tsunami.
After mentioning this to other camps they immediately said to us that it would be
wonderful to have a radio available between groups of families – we decided to by a few
hundred to share around the camps.
One camp had a communal TV set where groups of villages would gather around to
watch the news so we decided to buy three more so that the other camps could also do
These slightly more ‘luxurious’ items were added to our second load of rice cookers,
plastic containers, water heaters, coolers, and more fans.
Some camps also asked for clothes irons as many of the children were now getting back
to school and needed their uniforms smart and pressed and so we bought as many as we
could find in the shops.
As the supplies were delivered into the camps and sorted the head men
responsible for each row of ‘housing’ were called up to claim their supplies
for the families they were responsible for.
Occasionally a family member would approach us directly and explain why
they needed some thing more than the head men had allocated to them.
Not always, but invariably we would refer them back to the head men as
they had everything under fair control.
|3 x car loads of;
Baby Powder and Skin Creams
Baby Milk Bottles
Children's 'Goody Bags' - Toys and Sweets
could be felt when
we transformed the
temporary camp site
into something that
finally resembled a
'fishing village' -
the sight of nets and
tackle was like a
In April Waree met with representatives from Baan
Nam Khem in Bangkok where she was able to purchase
this 4 x 4 Toyota Tiger Pick-Up truck for them.
The pick-up will belong to the community for
transporting boats and tackle between the camps,
village and the sea.
It will also be used for Hospital visits in the evening
and at night.
Work on the new nets and tackle started as soon as it was delivered.
The more nets available the more fisherman can get back to the sea and to work.
Even without boats many of the men are back at work with just the nets. As the boats become available they go
into service and increase the catch considerably but the attitude of the villagers - is why wait
For those able to relax and catch up with the
news we have now installed enough televisions
at the Bang Maung camp for every row of
temporary houses to have sight of one
Waree is revisiting the area presently to evaluate the ongoing requirements of the villagers.
Our latest pictures are below ................
CHILDREN'S ART AND MUSIC PROJECT
It is essential that the children have a means to engage in creative activities to help in the grieving
process of what they have endured - what could be a better release and method of expression
than art and music!
Picture to the left is the music shop in Bangkok where we purchased a selection of musical
instruments for the children of Baan Nam Khem and the surrounding areas.
The instruments will be owned by the community.
Trained staff are to be appointed in permanent centres and later a mobile unit will tour out lining
areas and the other provinces.
2nd week of April is an important time for all Thai people as it features the Songkran Festival when every one celebrates the New Year
This year bought mixed feelings for those who were still overcoming their grief and struggling to get their lives together. Time to reflect on lost loved ones and perhaps consider how proud they
would have been over how much work and progress their families had made since the Tsunami.
Waree along her brothers and sisters travelled down to Khao Lak from Chiang Mai to see what could be provided to the villagers during their holiday week.
Joined by our friends from Phuket, John and Jead Darroch, they gathered other friends qualified in hairdressing so as to provide a 'Hairdressing Salon' over a few days of the holiday. Hairdressers
and villagers alike had a great time. The men came for haircuts and shaves and the children and ladies for restyles and vitalisation. At least this gave a new twist to the age old Thai custom of
throwing water over other people to wash away the old year.
In fact we found that cutting hair on New Years day its self was not acceptable and considered most unlucky and so the salon was closed for one of the days.
The visit to the camps also gave Waree ample opportunity to see how the aid already delivered was being utilised and to assess our next steps. In fact she was delighted with the progress being
made and the positive attitudes of the villagers. The sewing machines were being well used to make items that could be sold and even some the men were taking turns on some shifts on the
Many of the villagers were now able to make some money from fishing and boat building is still a high priority with the boat yards being incredibly busy. All the equipment we had managed to
purchase had been assembled and made up ready for use either in the boats made or repaired. Where their were not sufficient boats the men were still using the nets for fishing anyway.
One Thai cement company had just sanctioned the building of a large fishing vessel which was underway - 30 to 40 men will be employed on her once finished, Waree is now busy organising more
fishing nets and tackle so that when ready the boat can be commissioned straight away.
More fishing nets and tackle is required and some pickup trucks would be very useful for both the community in general and for the schools to use and so the work of fund raising goes on. Waree
also noted that the village was short of some of the basics again such as baby formula and milks.
For more information see the pictures below, taken during the week of 13 April, and the report written by my friend from Phuket John Darroch
who visited along with his wife Jead and their children Jarb and Sprite.
BAAN NAM KEM as at 13th April 2005 - Jead and John Darroch - Phuket
It is just over three months since my wife and I did our trip to Khao Lak, to be precise on the 8th January 2005. Today we drove up again, in the company of Waree Warsop and her family, who
were down to Phuket from Lampoon near Chiang Mai for the Songkran holiday.
Today we visited the main Baan Nam Kem Camp.
On our visit on 8th January 2005, Baan Nam Kem village was “Tent City” with some 4,500 inhabitants.
Our visit today showed an amazing transformation; from one of despair and shock from the tsunami experience, to one of “we are helping ourselves” and things are slowly improving.
This very large camp has now been subdivided into five camps; the one we visited today had just over 1000 inhabitants. Gone were the tents, in their place were plywood houses with corrugated
We met and talked with the “headman” of the village, who showed us around. The main source of work for the men, was the boat yard. Under construction were large longtail boats to replace the
many lost in the disaster, these craft are specifically for fishing. Several boats have already been completed and are currently in use by the fisherman at the nearby village proper of Baan Nam
Kem. With the few tools available one could not but admire their skill and craftsmanship, as can seen in the pics below.
The villagers appear to be in a much better state of mind; using work as their therapy, they are happy and smiling once again. A Child Day care center has been constructed, a Boat Workshop, a
sewing workshop and small “village” stores for supplies. Every family now lives in a recently constructed plywood temporary house. We are told by the “headman” that permanent housing is
being constructed by the Thai authorities at their original village of Baan Nam Kem a mile away.
The most impressive accomplishment is that the villagers have done and organized all this by themselves using donated materials. The “headman” and his “council” have organized people into work
groups so that each villager plays a part in getting their own life back to something like normal, while at the same time helping themselves and the village as a whole.
Most of the donations have come by way of materials and goods, delivered directly to the Camp and funded entirely by private donations. Electric sewing machines for making garments to sell,
timber to build the longtail boats, donated cots for the child care center, TV sets so that groups can have some entertainment in the evenings. Donated electric fans to keep families cool in the
dry hot season, it was 37 C degrees today, donated fishing nets are already being used and earning cash for their catches.
The “village” has an electricity supply that has been provided by the local government.
A few weeks after the tsunami devastated their little town of Baan Nam Kem (Saltwater Village) they did receive a small amount of cash from the Thai Government although this still leaves them
with much to find.
Apparently the villagers, under the guidance of the headman and their council, pooled this money and used it to supplement the urgently needed supplies that would quicken the time to get their
lives back on track.
All the villagers are very proud of the fact that they have done all these things by themselves, very little help has come from the Central Government, a lot of help has come from private firms (Thai
and foreign) Originally 72 firms and organizations assisted, today just 7 remain.
I cannot pass without mentioning my good friend Peter Warsop and his wife Waree who reside in the UK.
They have personally organized five large truck loads of supplies ranging from: fisherman’s nets, sewing machines, rice cookers, electric fans, babies cribs, TV sets, radios and the little essentials
that go to making a very difficult life just that little more pleasant and bearable.
Peter’s Italian Company, (I do not feel it right to mention their name) has been most generous in this regard and have provided most of the funds for the above. I only wish that they could see first
hand the changes that they have caused to happen, purely because of their generosity. They would feel very proud to see the results, they should be highly commended for a really splendid job.
By any Western standards, these proud people have shown initiative, tenacity and great courage in the face of adversity. I believe that their community, once rebuilt, will be all the more stronger.
They have stuck together in the face of extreme hardship, have shown that given encouragement they can get through this ordeal and get their lives back together again.
For those that have lost love ones or family members this will be that much more difficult, but given what we have seen today I am sure that they will come through.
April 18 2005
Waree and Alesha are now back in Lamphun
in the North of Thailand.
They received requests for further assistance
by way of additional Fishing Nets and Tackle
to meet the needs of the boats now coming
on line. The community and the schools
would also like to have pick-up trucks to help
them in their work. We have asked them to
write with uses and justifications and will see
if we can implement a sharing scheme so that
both the community and the schools can
Before returning to the UK Waree will visit
the south again to complete this aspect of
April 20th 2005
This is worthy of your consideration if you want
to help the Children of Baan Nam Khem.
Read the appeal below;
Whilst in the south Waree came across a Thai charity which has been involved over the last 25 years in helping under privileged children from some of the slums in
Bangkok. They are now working in the Baan Nam Khem are and setting up a Art and Music centre for children in a wonderful and positive attempt to get them over their
grief and terrible memories. Please read the following description as provided by the charity which is called the Duang Prateep Foundation.
We were very impressed with the objectives and have pledged sufficient financial means to pay for all of their musical instruments - perhaps some of our readers could
help with other items on their list?
|TSUNAMI CHILDREN’S ART & MUSIC PROJECT
DUANG PRATEEP FOUNDATION
Description of Project:
To provide both a mobile and stationary art/music centre in southern Thailand for the families affected by the Tsunami.
As a result of the December 26 Tsunami which struck Southern Thailand, the children’s Art Project from the Duang Prateep Foundation in Bangkok, is responding accordingly by proposing to offer
art and music to the many affected by the disaster. The damage done to the village of Ban Nam Khem was catastrophic. Most houses were destroyed and hundreds of people lost their lives.
Currently, the homeless villagers are living in temporary shelters while their homes are in the process of being rebuilt.
Purpose of the Project:
It is essential that the children have a means to engage in creative activities to help in the grieving process of what they have endured. The level of hardship the children have experienced is
unimaginable, and needs to be comforted by stimulating activities which help to express themselves.
Art and music therapy offers a way for children to create beautiful pictures, images and sounds while so much of what they have known has been destroyed, which is empowering. It allows them
the opportunity to express their feelings as an outlet in a way that words cannot convey. It provides a healthy diversion from the traumatic memories and feelings they have stored inside.
Studies have shown that when children have the opportunity to engage in art and music they expand their capacity for learning and adopt a broader perspectives on life. Much of the help
received has been from foreign volunteers who do not share the same culture or language, so there is a natural barrier which art and music can transcend, as it is the universal language.
Because of our passion to this cause we are proposing to commit to a two year art/music program here in South Thailand, based out of the Ban Nam Khem community near Takupa in the Phang Nga
province. Our objective will be twofold;
To construct and run a permanent art/music centre in the Ban Nam Khem village as well as purchasing and operating a travelling mobile van. The art and music centre would be constructed using
natural materials which would allow people from the community to help with the construction of a creative sanctuary for children to use after school and on holidays. The long term objectives
would be to organise art exhibitions and perform concerts to generate income for the centre and building. The arts centre would allow the children from the village to use the space as a
The centre would be stocked with art materials and musical instruments to accommodate the children’s needs. The activities for the arts centre would follow the model of the existing Children’s
arts Project which is part of the Duang Prateep Foundation operated out of the Klong Toey slums in Bangkok, which has nearly 25 years of experience of working with disadvantage children. A
typical day would consist of children coming to the centre after school to have art activity together, painting, drawing or sculpting either individually or collectively. Once a year an art camp
would take place which would involve children from surrounding camps to join together at the arts centre for an all day art and music fair where food and entertainment would be provided. The
intention would be to create a fun and supportive atmosphere, encouraging the students to safely express what they naturally feel. The music program would provide an opportunity for children
to learn new songs, sing familiar songs and create instrumental music together.
The duration of the project led by the head of the Children’s arts project from the Duang Prateep Foundation would be for a minimum of two years. During this time a local person from the village
and foreign volunteers would be found to replace the art teacher, to sustain the program for years to come. A schedule would be made allowing art to be run from the centre one or two days a
week and on weekends and the van would visit surrounding schools and other days of the week. Extended trips to surrounding provinces would eventually occur, once the program began to
The arts project would be based out of Ban Nam Khem village and the art van would serve the 9 camps in the Phang Nha province, after school and at weekends. Once the program was securely
established it would travel to the other 5 surrounding provinces also affected by the Tsunami.
Budget for the Children’s Art and Music Project:
Since the art teacher intends to remain employed by the Duang Prateep Foundation, she would continue earning her monthly salary through the Foundation. The only salaries requested would be
for the two assistants needed for the art program and the salary for the music teacher.
For one year, on weekends and after school, enough material to serve 9 temporary shelter camps and the permanent art program and keep the art van stocked with materials. This includes paints,
paper, canvas, crayons, brushes, clay, various other art materials which will occur and the musical instruments;
|WORK ON HOUSING
BAAN NAM KHEN.
PROGRESS CAN BE
SEEN FROM THE
THERE w/c 18
THIS IS A NEW
OUTPUT IS BEING
SOLD IN NEARBY
After a few visits to the camps we were getting the picture – the situation was turning into something more political. The Thai general
election was due on February 6th and the government had evidently decided that it needed to demonstrate that things were under their
own control and that every element was being taken care off. With all due credit to them, significant progress was being made given the
scale of the disaster.
People were being fed, the government had pledged financial assistance to all the families and the lost businesses. The PM and his team
were very evident in the disaster area regularly and the armed forces and police were actively involved in clearing and rebuilding work.
In the camps, now consolidated down to around 18 from 27, the charities were taking down their signs and banners. Aid workers remained
but in fewer numbers and somewhat less conspicuously.
The families were concerned that things were talking too long and that they would have no control over their destiny – meanwhile their lives
were only just bearable and for those that had lost family members (regrettably, the majority) they desperately needed to see a future
worthy of their efforts.
Most of the advice from the charitable organisations, aid workers and volunteers was that things would have to wait until after the election
as achieving anything more in the short term would be unlikely. The vast amounts of money either promised by the government or
collected by charities was not evident in the camps – at least from the families point of view.
Understandably the charities needed to make sure the money pledged to them was put into tangible projects that would be beneficial for
the long term – therefore ensuring that the subscribers would have a clear vision of how their money had been utilised.
For a great idea
on how to help
the children go
to the bottom of
|On our lorry's;
520 x Electric Rice Cookers
420 x Electric Water Boilers
160 x Electric Fans
500 x Electric Clothes Irons
78 x Plastic Clothes Containers w/lids
20 x Blankets
250 x Radios with torches
23 x Televisions
150 x Ice Baskets
Fishing Nets and all Tackle for 10 long tail boats. (FEB)
Fishing Nets and Tackle for a 2nd 10 long tail boats. (MAR)
Fishing Nets and Tackle for a 3rd 10 long tail boats. (APR)
Fishing Nets and Tackle for a 4th 10 long tail boats. (MAY)
TOTAL NOW ; 40 BOATS
12 x Sewing Machines
1 x Computer and Printer
1 x 4 x4 Toyota Tiger Pick-up Truck
|MOST RECENT NEWS AT THE
BOTTOM OF THE PAGE
|Materials 2500 Baht x 12 months x 9 camps 270,000 Baht
Art camp at the centre once a year
200 children 2 days 150,000 Baht
A one week Art exhibition centre in Bangkok
Promotional catalogue, invitations and
Transportation to and from the exhibition 300,000 Baht
4 x acoustic guitars
1 x electric guitars
1 x electric bass
1 x drum set
5 x conga drums
20 x percussion instruments
1 x electric keyboard
3 x xylophones
20 x flutes
15 x recorders
1 x karoke player 163,990 Baht
Used van for the art mobile 500,000 Baht
Gas for one year 50,000 Baht
Salary for 2 assistants
6000 Baht x 2 x 12 144,000 Baht
Salary for Music teacher
7000 baht x 12 84,000 Baht
TOTAL REQUIRED 1,661,990 Baht
We have pledged enough cash to
cover the cost of all the musical
Could you help with any thing else
on the list?
|SELECTION OF MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS
WE PURCHASED FOR THE CHILDRENS
ART AND MUSIC PROJECT
(See full details below)
4 x Acoustic guitars
2 x Electric guitars
2 x Electric bass
5 x Practice Guitars
1 x Drum set
5 x Conga drums
1 x Electric keyboard
1 x Karoke player
1 x Record Power Music Mixer
2 x Sets of Speakers
12 x Microphones
1 x Tambourine
2 x Violins
1 x Tuner
Various Cables, Jacks, Adaptors, Stands
and protective instrument Bags
We have added 12 Sewing
Machines that have been
installed and are being worked
in shifts to provide work and
income for many of the people
who have been retrained.
Should you be able to help, contact us
by email or through our guest book.
We can either assist you or put you in
direct touch with this Charitable
Another great idea would be to help
us through Lauren's Fund
Go to the page labelled Lauren's Fund
to see how you can help.