Aug 19, 2021

Women's Empowerment in Nepal

Wasn’t it fantastic to hear Gaurika Singh named as flag bearer for the Tokyo Olympics?   A young swimmer back in the Rio Olympics, she was rewarded with the honour of carrying the nation’s flag alongside her swimming counterpart Alexander Shah.

We can never underestimate good role models. Gaurika’s dedication to her sport sends a message to other girls in Nepal.  That message? There is the potential to achieve anything with a committed and determined attitude and with some support from friends, family and mentors.

When you see an athlete like Gaurika Singh there is no doubt that there are young girls looking from afar maybe dreaming that they too can achieve in the sporting world or perhaps another field of interest.  Role models help make a difference.

In Nepal women’s empowerment project we embrace the value of role models as well as the importance of learning new things and aspiring to achieve your goals.

Our programme supports women to learn English,  a valuable asset in a country that relies heavily on tourism.  The added value is young children seeing the mothers and other women in their lives, dedicating themselves to learning new skills.  Showing that even with the commitments of family and work, taking the time for self-improvement is important. The women in this group show that even if you left school at a young age there are opportunities for learning and these opportunities can be embraced.

The women’s empowerment programmes also bring awareness to potential.  In our school programmes, for example, we can explore career opportunities and draw attention to role models in the community as well as more well-known models such as Gaurika Singh.  We can also draw on local success stories. What comes to mind is the SASANE an organisation that trains women to achieve their goal of being a paralegal. Women who have survived extremely challenging situations have gone on to develop skills to support other women in their roles as paralegals.  

When we think back to the Olympics team we can also think about the connections one makes through sport. Our women’s groups have that element too!  Getting together to learn, share ideas and feeling comfortable with each other.  It is not unlike the sense of belonging you feel as part of a sports team. Your support in allowing these groups to happen means women are not only developing their skills but developing a sense of belonging with other women, building networks and support systems.  All valuable connections.

Your ongoing contributions allow programmes to reach a range of females,  Some young students perhaps aspiring to reach the level of a Gaurika Singh or maybe with their heart on learning new skills or following a new hobby or interest, The women benefit from workshops that develop new skills and interests.  Our programmes help build supportive networks in the community.

We thank you for your ongoing support.  The women and girls who benefit from your support can be inspirational role models for others.

Aug 19, 2021

Phang Nga - Quality Education & Public Health

This year has been extremely challenging for everyone, however its the children that have suffered the most with schools remaining closed in Thailand for nearly 18 months. They opened briefly at the start of the year, but had to be closed not long after due to the pandemic. In 2020 Thailand's COVID-19 were low. In 2021 they increased, gradually at first then after the Thai New Year in April the numbers started to grow steadily and have increased daily since. The roll out of vaccinations was a slow starter, daily number of vaccinations have increased and now record numbers of people are vaccinated daily. Thailand has an amazing network of community health volunteers, who are responsible for on average up to 10 households. They monitor the health and wellbeing of the community as well as who is there and where they have come from. So any visitors are known, with interprovincial travel restricted this has been key to ensuring the numbers have remained relatively low. Quick action taken by the authorities has also kept numbers low, anyone testing positive or known to have been in contact with a positive case have been quarantined for 14 days, restricting the transmission of the virus. 

This quick response and restricted travel has been great to keep numbers low, however this and the lack of tourists has led to an economic decline. Many families are struggling to feed themselves and are turning to others for support. This is leading to additional health problems as well as an increase of mental health issues. Being based in village hit hardest by the 2004 Tsunami, the community has had so much to deal with already. This additional stress and strain is not good for their overall health and wellbeing. Currently we are unable to work with the community due to local restrictions, but we are planning and preparing workshops ready for when we can. We have also been supporting the community with equipment and tools to help fight the pandemic, such as thermometers, masks, PPE and man power at the local checkpoints. 

Whilst we are unable to teach at the schools, we are able to teach online, we have a number of students, school age and adults who we have been teaching via Zoom. This is a great way to be able to keep in touch and engage with the community. It has also increased their mental wellbeing.With your donations we are able to support the community by supplying them with more ipads and computers so more of them are able to join the classes. We have also been working with the teachers to see what help and resources we are able to supply. We dont want our children to suffer any more than they have to during or post pandemic. We want them to have the same opportunities as others we want them to thrive even though the situation is hard. The community is resilient and will once the pandemic is over will thrive once more.

Thank you for your generous support which has allowed us to continue our work with the community. 

Aug 19, 2021

Marine and Coastal Conservation in Thailand

As 2021 continues, so does the pandemic. The positive side to this is that the world has had more time to heal. With less travel (both land and air) the number of pollutants released has reduced. The reduced number of tourists to Thailand has meant less people on the beaches, less people in the National Parks, less waste, less boat traffic. This has led to a number of different species thriving, again this year we have seen record numbers of turtles coming on the beaches to nest. This has been both Leatherback and Green Sea Turtles, nests have been monitored and we have seen a record number of hatchlings embarking on their life in the oceans. However with every positive there are also negatives. 2021 was supposed to see Thailand banning single use plastics. This has been delayed due to the pandemic and the importance of not sharing food. Yes it is important, but it has also meant that the use of single use plastic has increased not decreased. In addition to the normal use of plastics, people returning to Thailand have had to do mandatory hotel quarantine. All meals and drinks have been served in plastic containers. This is not reused and doubtful it has been recycled. It is more than likely dumped and will end up in the ocean to join the million tonnes of plastic already contaminatinating our waters. Waters that our fisherman fish, water that communities are dependent upon.  Regular beach cleans have shown that we are collecting increased numbers of food containers. Another addition to our list are disposable masks, whilst used previously in Asian countries, they are now almost compulsory the world over. If you cant use reusable masks and have to use disposable masks, please make sure that you cut the loops before throwing them. This prevents wildlife getting caught in the future. 

Mangroves are a vital part of coastal conservation, we have increased our activities and research. We have been monitoring the health of newly established forests and reporting the health of the trees to our partner DMCR (Department of Marine and Coastal Resources). We are also monitoring the number of species in established forests. Our findings are showing that whilst one species may have been planted it is now attracting up to 3 or 4 different species. This is critical to the ecosystems that live in them, we are finding new species of crab and the return of snakes and mammals to the area. Our aim is to camera trap areas to see what species are there that we cant see during surveys. We need additional cameras to be able to do this, your donations will help immensely. 

Overall even though the pandemic is still gripping the nation, our conservation work continues, we continue to work with our partners to ensure the protection of the Andaman coast. Thank you to all who have donated and thank you in advance to all of you who will. Without your support our impact is restricted, with your support our impact is maximised. We hope you all continue to be healthy and well during these times, and thank you for your generous support!

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