Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the original plan of delivering school supplies before the start of the Thai school year in May was understandably derailed. Still, Project Champions Dylan and Viki wanted to complete the distribution among the schools in greatest need as soon as possible. However, the club just had to wait until lock-down measures in Thailand were lifted.
Club members, including Inspiration Officer Areeya, right, sorted and boxed the school supplies before the club meeting on July 21 and, at last, on Thursday, July 23, 2020, members of the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC) delivered school supplies to the learning center of 150 students inside the Koung Jor Temporary Shelter Area, a.k.a. refugee camp in Piang Luang, in Chiang Mai Province’s Wiang Haeng District, on the Thai-Myanmar border.
On the following day, CMIRC Rotarians visited the Lak Thaeng School that serves as an extension of the primary school for 190 children living in the Koung Jor refugee camp and distributed the remaining supplies. The School Supplies Appeal had an annual budget of about 24,000 Bt for the 2019-2020 Rotary Year, which we decided to equally divide between only two schools to make a significant impact.
Before heading back home in Chiang Mai, club members visited the former border crossing, where many of the local Shan refugees had crossed into Thailand before it closed down in 2002. Barbwire fencing stands as a deterrent to prevent illegal crossing. Sadly, it also acts as a warning of the thousands of landmines in the area, planted by the Shan, Burmese, and Wa armies.