Ambassador Robilliard, accompanied by his wife Hannan and Australian Consul General in Phuket Craig Ferguson and his wife, were given a warm greeting by hundreds of students waving Thai and Australian flags as he arrived at the school this afternoon at 2:30pm.
The Australian Government grant worth B740,000, which was jointly lobbied for by prominent Phuket expat Dr Peter Harris, the Lions Club of Patong Beach and the Asia-Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), will go towards the “Clean Water, Clean Hands, Clean Klong” project which aims to upgrade the school’s toilets and drinking water facilities and promote hygiene among the students.
“It is a great pleasure for the Australian Embassy and the Australian Consulate General here in Phuket to partner with the APEN and the Lions Club in this project that we are celebrating today,” said Ambassador Robilliard.
“The most important thing we can provide for our children is provide a good education, a good education covers a lot of things, it covers the quality of the teachers, the quality of the material used to study and the quality of facilities at the school, and a big part of that is the ability to access to clean water and good [sanitation] facilities,” he added.
Dr Peter Harris, the driving force behind the “Clean Water, Clean Hands, Clean Klong” project, worked closely with Australian Embassy officials to obtain for the grant. The project is also aimed at raising the profile of the underfunded school and that he and the Lions Club were made aware of the school’s plight by Deputy Mayor of Rassada Municipality Pawat Supsuwan.
“This school has 1000 students, there is 300 children of Moken [Sea Gypsy] villagers and thirty children of Burmese migrant workers and many children from broken homes. The Deputy Mayor is trying to lift its profile and asked us to come and see what we can do to help. The toilets don’t function and unfiltered sewerage goes straight into the klong,” said Dr Harris.
Ambassador Robilliard will also be attending an event for Thai alumni of Australian universities at the The Westin Siray Bay Resort & Spa, Phuket this evening.