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Poor face challenges as living costs rise

The rise of food and energy bills has had a profound impact on families from our poorest communities in Phuket, who live hand to mouth. Rising fuel costs mean many of the fishing boats cannot afford to leave the pier, and therefore the crew, often migrant workers, do not get paid and their families do not eat. Growing children, pregnant women and the elderly have been the most affected.

Community
By The Phuket News

Sunday 30 October 2022, 11:00AM


Since 2010, the Good Shepherd Phuket Town (GSPT) have been supporting these poor communities. Unable to access healthcare and mainstream education, migrant children fall prey to human traffickers and are vulnerable to labour and sexual exploitation. The Good Shepherd have always believed that giving these young people an opportunity to access an education can break this cycle of abject poverty.

The charity-run GSPT school has been open for 12 years and this year saw a sharp increase in the number of children enrolling. Student numbers have grown from 240 to 320, ranging in age from 5 to 18. Until recently, younger students were being taught in the playground as there was insufficient classroom space.

The school relies solely on donations from the Phuket community to sustain its commitment to provide for these vulnerable children. A simple school lunch might only cost a mere B30 per student but with rising food costs, this has increased to B40 which now amounts to a staggering B230,000 per month for lunch alone. This meal is often the only food a child eats that day.

Fundraising that brings Phuket together

During the COVID pandemic, GSPT lost many of its donors and therefore fundraising is at the core of the survival of the school.

In celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee last June, a Gala Ball was held in the beautiful ballroom at the prestigious Courtyard by Marriott in Phuket Town. Together with General Manager Pam Ong and her team, the event raised over B1 million. Proceeds were used to buy a haemodialysis machine for the public Vachira Phuket Hospital as well as going towards the running of the GSPT school.

Additionally, the school was grateful to receive a kind donation from Cecilia Warren and Wayne Scanlan through Steve Pearce at the Phuket Veterans Association. Not only are such events invaluable to bring Phuketians together and make connections, they are contributing to a cause which actually changes the lives of children in our wider island community.

Re-use, re-purpose, recycle!

GSPT run two Thrift Charity Stores on Phuket. The first “Pre-Loved Charity Store” opened in Cherng Talay at the Lifestyle Village and is kindly sponsored by Blue Tree Phuket. In the South, “Pre Loved Too” located in Rawai Art Village is sponsored by the beautiful Pettit family; Patrizia, Robert and Jordan.

The stores are an excellent opportunity to donate your pre-loved clothes, toys and household items. Even torn or damaged clothes can be re-used by the amazing Sam McCue and her team Seeds of Change to be transformed into beautiful elephants or bags. Pop in to have a forage around the stores, you are guaranteed to find something ‒ or a few things! Each store is run by a dedicated team of supporters, who ensure that every baht goes directly to the GSPT school. If you have a few hours spare a week, they are always looking for additional help.

Laguna Phuket

Get into the festive spirit

For the third Christmas in a row, Joel Adam’s ‘Theatrix’ theatre company and the Underwood Family’s ‘Junkyard Theatre’ are excited to host a Charity Pantomime! The show will be held on Dec 10 and 11.

Nothing will put you in the festive spirit more than the lively tradition of panto. This year, a traditional tale will be given a modern twist as ‘Jack and the Beanstalk meets Star Wars’. There will be plenty of opportunities to support, both on and off the stage, so contact below for more information and no experience is needed. As usual, there will be laughs galore and a fantastic opportunity to watch live theatre at the innovative and exciting venue, the Junkyard Theatre. 

No Christmas preparations would be complete without a stroll through a Christmas Market. On Saturday, Dec 10, Blue Tree Phuket will be hosting their annual Wansao Christmas Market. If you are a creative artisan and unique vendor, this is a wonderful opportunity to sell your wares and also for customers to get ahead with their Christmas shopping!

Give a Helping Hand

GSPT School Support Program is always looking for people to donate their time to support these underprivileged students. Now in its third year, its holistic and well-rounded approach focuses on learning and speaking English, living skills, computer literacy, arts and music.

Currently, the school is looking for a yoga instructor or someone to play games with the children once a week. If you are interested in applying for this rewarding opportunity, then please get in touch below. It is an exciting chance to build relationships with those less fortunate in our community and with these special children who have such a lot to give. 

By Lauren Baxter


For more information on any of these activities please contact phuketcharity@gmail.com or whatsapp +66898742942.

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