Here they were, Mon,Christin sitting with Khun Preeda, one of the most inspiring people I’ve met in recent years. Mon connected us to Khun Preeda in our sprint to gather information on flood related projects and Khun Preeda would more than satisfy our appetite for it.
Khun Preeda is one of the people running the database website:
He receives proposals by schools in need for support. There’s still a need for donations and manpower, about 74 schools from Ayutthaya, Pathumthani, Samut Sakhon, Nonthaburi and Nakhon Pathom are registered and have requested help through his website. Khun Preeda runs a volunteer group called Dusit Asar that helped packing tens of thousands of flood relief bags and he tries to allocate fund and volunteers to these schools but resources are of course limited.
As if that’s not enough, he also belongs to a group called ‘OpenCARE’ which is basically a group of business people who came together to set up a registered NGO solely for the purpose of managing donations and providing clarity and transparency for smaller volunteer groups who have funds but lack the financial management skills to provide transparency. Open Care’s service is for free and none of the money will go into admin costs.
Khun Preeda’s current focus is called Selfreliefpackage. Since he’s a skilled artist he creates postcards to raise money. The money goes into projects strengthening flood affected communities and the postcards can be sent to flood victims as well with messages of encouragement. If you want to support Khun Preeda visit his page and spread the word!
He works with a number of agricultural institutions and mobilizes volunteers to educate flood affected farming communities in organic farming thereby significantly reducing their costs. He’s successfully running farming projects in Chai Nat and Lopburi. Unfortunately limitations in his budget limit his outreach, restricting his operations to two communities. The cost to support one community of farmers with farmland sizes of approximately 20 Rai costs about 30,000 – 45,000 Baht.
1. Engagement from our side could be in the field of agriculture:
- We could deliver the budget to expand to more communities.
- Join in as volunteers to support the farmers in harvesting and planting.
2. Engagement in the field of education. His website provides useful information of school in need of support.
- We can get in touch and survey those school and see how to support them. It could be focused on one school that gets a package of things, e.g.: renovation (painting), repairing libraries, sanitary repairs, medical supplies, children’s day (sport/art), we could get elements of the idea cube project in and get artist involved get the school the final touch of artistic presentation of simple ideas that create positive impact. Ideas selected by the children themselves.
Alternatively instead of focusing on one school, we could focus on one or two areas of improvement e.g. sanitary and medical supplies and do sanitary and medical supplies only but supporting a larger number of schools.
3. Engagement in flood prevention. Khun Preeda works with ‘Flat Shore’ a group of IT experts and engineers who build solar powered flood-warning devices at the fraction of the costs what conventional devices cost. These devices have been tested and they work. However here as well budgeting has limited the production and implementation of these devices to thirty.
- We cover the budget of a number of flood warning devices implemented in the communities where we engage with other projects as well, hence agricultural communities, schools, etc. Cost per device: Approx. 10,000 THB. Website link will follow soon.
Besides that Khun Preeda works with the Institute of Technology Lad Krabang to teach people how to protect their houses during the flood. Every single house in the entire neighborhood was flooded except for Khun Preeda’s house, see videos in the following link:
If he doesn’t educate people on organice farming or how to make their houses waterproof then he’s on a mission to improve Thai people’s English skills for that he’s got his website up and running.
We talked about the importance of the English language and we felt there’s a lot we could do to work on. His advocacy of education goes so far that he even initiated a project with one of the country’s leading telecommunication companies AIS to develop and launch an application where you can download Khun Preeda’s art-work as wallpaper at a price of only 10 Baht per click with an aim of gaining 1 million clicks (you do the math). After AIS takes their cut, half of the money goes into his education fund that supports children with learning difficulties and the other half goes into enabling handicapped people to become a productive part of the workforce and live a life in dignity. If the downloads aren’t enough then he’s got a back-up. He’s developing a machine called CSR in collaboraton with the institute of Technology not Lad Krabang but Phra Nakorn Nuea this time. It’s a machine in which you throw your beer (or other) cans, these will be flattened and the aluminum is sold to a recycling company. The profits from that feed more funds supporting the disabled of which Thailand has approximately 1.3 million (registered) and over 4 million unregistered. What’s so noteworthy about it is that he himself is handicapped as well!! Well, it’s noteworthy anyhow but that just blew my mind. After a severe accident, he’s been tied to a wheelchair, with difficulties using his arms and hands, dependent on a caretaker but he’s is no need for a caretaker when it comes to pulling off all these projects. And you know what? He doesn’t even brag about it. He wouldn’t have told us if we hadn’t cut on the topics. While listening to him and seeing his website, the blogs and links realizing the scope and impact he has created I do not only start to ask myself what am I stressed out about with my body fully functioning but also about the potential in us? It’s not just about productivity, it’s about attitude, the silent but effective doer vs. the big-mouthed dreamer or wanna be achiever, raising beyond yourself when odds seem to be against you and believing to achieve greatness eventhough generally it is believed that a handicapped is restricted to an isolated, passive life. Others may had thrown the towel after such fateful accident, he decided to become an agent of change, affecting the lives of so many by focusing on what he is still capable of doing. He does it to an extend that should leave us wondering what potential is within us? So, what’s our focus? What do we do with our potential? Whatever we decide to do and especially when successful, staying down to earth, being humble is likewise important. So then, let me brag for him instead!! You may see a person in a wheelchair but after knowing him you can’t but call it a will-chair, the wheels disappear. It is what perfectly exemplifies Khun Preeda, what he stands for and what all of us can and should stand for. Khun Preeda has another little word play for it “Will share” it’s by tha way yet another of his life-changing projects, will you share it?