While the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club’s mission continues to be about improving Child Safety, Health, and Education, I’d like to begin this Presidential Message by posing a question. With both the club’s in-person meetings and service projects on hold, are there other areas in addition to our ongoing Food Initiative, where we as a club can safely and constructively unite to help the greater community at large?
In light of COVID-19, many Rotary clubs around the world are reassessing their immediate goals and stepping up to take action in areas like vaccine distribution, combating misinformation, developing ways to slow the spread throughout their neighborhoods, and promoting health education. Even though there are things we might not be able to assist with here in Thailand, it’s important to remember that we Rotarians aren’t just People of Action; we are neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who want to be fully engaged in helping those around us – moving freely, meeting openly, and offering helping hands when and where it’s possible and deemed safe to do so.
In that spirit, I challenge each and every one of you to spend some time this coming month thinking about ways where we might be able to temporarily expand our assistance with project partners, local government, hospitals, your neighbors and acquaintances during this present health crisis. Lest we forget, engagement around a shared passion for safeguarding and improving the world around us is what keeps us together as a club. Your ideas are wanted! Your contribution could be as simple as helping an elderly expat neighbor to register online and get to one of the vaccination clinics now in operation.
Over the past month, the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC) continued our fundraising efforts for the Mae Tao Clinic (MTC). MTC was our club’s first service project, and remains a cause we continue to support. Prior to the pandemic, this privately-funded organization provided essential healthcare services to thousands of Burmese migrants. When the Delta variant arrived they were required to convert to a field hospital for COVID-19 patients only. This mandatory re-designation by the Government of Thailand means they had to suspend their regular essential medical services, which they have just recently restarted on a very limited basis. And, it's created a funding crisis with the Thai government providing no financial support for the additional supplies needed to care for the COVID patients. As of today, we have raised and transferred just under 115,000 Baht to the Mae Tao Clinic during the past few months and plan to continue this initiative for at least another month. Please see details in a story in this bulletin and consider supporting this worthwhile need.
Unfortunately, as a parent of school-aged children, I sadly report that all on-site learning and swimming pools continue to remain closed until further notice by the local government. Naturally, this means our Children’s Water Safety & Drowning Prevention Program (CWSDPP) remains on hold. So far, the CWSDPP has taught survival swimming skills to 2,500+ children. Furthermore, we are also prevented from making regular visits to the Burma Children Medical Fund’s B.K. Kee Patient House. Albeit, Project Champion Bill Pierce and Secretary Nick Dale continue to deliver supplies to their location every other week and develop ways to help remotely.
CMIRC’s Board of Directors, Senior Leadership, and attorney continued to work on establishing our upcoming Chiang Mai International Rotary Club Foundation. Charter President Roger Lindley (in suit and tie, or his version thereof) proved to be a tremendous help this past month in interacting with our local government and taking steps to get the foundation finalized. Without the Lindleys, the foundation would not be possible.
Charter President Roger Lindley, President-Elect Viki Thomason, Treasurer Nancy Lindley, and I attended the D3360 Virtual District Training Assembly (DTA) 2021 the weekend of August 21st and on August 28th. CP Roger Lindley was a designated speaker at the DTA, and he educated attendees about the roles and responsibilities of Club Officers and Committee Chairs. He was followed by Assistant Governor Dr. Saran Chantalay who spoke about setting up club goals.
In closing, I would like to report that 11.2% of Thailand's population has been classified as fully vaccinated. Please note, it's possible that future participation in service projects will require volunteers to be fully vaccinated. Our friends at the US Consulate are urging non-Thais over the age of 40 to register for the Pfizer Vaccine at http://expatvac.consular.go.th and via the Wall of Chiang Mai (which worked for me).