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‘One Phuket’ launched to counter COVID poverty, failing food security

‘One Phuket’ launched to counter COVID poverty, failing food security

PHUKET: A small group of local residents have banded together to coalesce efforts to help those in dire need of assistance as the COVID economic crisis continues to batter Phuket.

COVID-19Coronaviruseconomicshealth
By The Phuket News

Friday 12 February 2021, 09:00AM


The group, numbering just over a handful, held their inaugural meeting on Tuesday (Feb 9) and now launched their ‘One Phuket’ initiative in the hope of gaining support, and momentum, from more members joining.

“With no definitive date for an end to this global pandemic, which is having a major impact on economies around the globe, our beautiful Island of Phuket continues to see many people struggling to survive,” explained Andrea Edwards, an active member of the group.

“We have witnessed our community rising to meet the challenge and we have many heroes and heroines doing so much to help those in need. But as the months turn into a year, funds are running dry, communities are left without help, people do not have enough food to eat, jobs are not coming back, and those on the ground, doing the work to help those most impacted, are getting exhausted,” she added.

“A small group of people gathered today to discuss the on-going crisis and its impact on people all over Phuket. This group consisted of charities and businesses who have not stopped working to help those in need get through this pandemic and its disastrous economic impact on our local economy,” reported Andrea.

“But the question we were seeking to answer is: are we doing enough? Are we reaching everyone? Can we make it through to the end of this crisis as we are? It became apparent that no, we cannot. It also became very apparent that those working hardest to help are running out of funds and/or getting exhausted,” she added.

“We will share more information on our plans soon, but our first job is making sure everyone who needs to be fed is being fed. We hope to share the number of people in need – on Phuket and the surrounding islands – by next week. 

“We will also be looking at other opportunities that result in job creation and hopefully, a more sustainable future for our beautiful corner of the world. There is already so much going on, and our goal is to bring us all together so we can be more successful,” Andrea added

Phuket expat Gary Crause of Legend Music Recording Studio in Koh Kaew noted, “The meeting on Tuesday went well as a starting meeting. It was attended by representatives of Class Act Media (Donna Toon), Prince of Songkla University, the Good Shepherd, Phuket Has Been Good To Us, Lean On Me and 5 Star Marine. It was chaired by a former UWCT board member.

“The discussion revolved around quite a few of the current challenging situations facing the island, the largest being the unemployment problem leading to poverty and starvation,” Gary explained.

Other topics covered briefly were the litter problems, mental health issues, sexual abuse of Burmese children in the worker camps and feeding the animals, namely soi dogs and elephants, he added.

“The group has been broken into a few subgroups to focus on specific areas, with an urgency to put a map together to see if all areas are being covered and to ensure relief organisations are not feeding the same areas. A Facebook group [‘One Phuket’] has been set up for people to join to offer volunteer services and to stay up to date with what is happening,” Gary said.

CALL TO HELP

Andrea urged people of all walks of life to contact the group so the work to help those in need can continue.

“For me personally, the commitment and dedication of people on this island is incredible. Truly incredible and I won’t name them here, because they are not doing it for glory, they are doing it to help. Heroes and heroines all. Thank you.

“To succeed and make One Phuket a meaningful community that makes a difference, we must work across multiple communities in Phuket, and our team will be working to bring everyone together.,” she explained

“For now we ask you to join our community and together, we’ll work out how to get through this crisis and make sure no one is left behind. Share your knowledge and insights too? Everyone is in a different part of the island and knows what is going on locally. Let’s get the whole picture together. 

HeadStart International School Phuket

“We can do this, but we can’t do it without you. Join One Phuket, and let’s get to work to bring our beautiful Island home through this crisis, and out the other side, better than ever,” Andrea added.

For more information or to join the group, visit the One Phuket Facebook page. (Click here.)

COME TOGETHER

Meanwhile, Gary Crause is spearheading another relief effort through music with a local release of the Phil Collins’ classic ‘Another Day In Paradise’.

Gary was one of the driving forces behind Phuket artists coming together in June last year to produce their own version of ‘Lean on Me’ to boost food security efforts driven by the Help Phuket Today campaign, also created to help people in Phuket suffering without any form of income during the ongoing crisis.

A follow-up relief project by the ‘Lean on Me’ artists saw a recording of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ performed by students and teachers from the Phuket Academy of Performing Arts, with more than 70 people involved in the effort, released late last year. (See video on Facebook and on YouTube.)

“On Sunday the 21st of February at 10am at Blue Tree Phuket, we will be filming and recording part of a music video for a remake of the Phil Collins hit ‘Another Day In Paradise’,” Gary told The Phuket News.

“We would like to get as many people together as possible to be part of the filming. The song and video will be used to drive awareness and fundraising for the continued food-donation programs on the island.

“Please show support by coming along on the day and singing along to the choruses of ‘Another Day In Paradise’,” Gary urged.

“Also, if you could share and invite and bring people along, that would be so awesome!” he added.

“We are recording and filming Another Day In Paradise to maintain our focus on the poverty situation in Phuket. We have invited as many people as we know from all areas of Phuket, to come along and be part of the filming. The more people that turn up, the wider the net is cast in highlighting the problem and the possible support/donation base should expand vastly,” Gary explained

“The song will actually be recorded this Saturday (Feb 13) by a team of musicians and music students to have a track ready for use for the masses to sing along to,” he added.

Gary is also in discussion with Blue Tree about hosting the ‘Lean On Me Live Fest’, to be held at the Blue Tree Arena on March 20, from 3pm.

“Lean On Me Live Fest will feature between 10 and 14 local bands. The concert is free and we will rely on donations from the patrons to raise money for the food charity drives,” Gary explained.

“A Facebook Event has been set up for this, but we will only start focusing on promoting the event after the Another Day In Paradise project has been filmed,” he added.

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