Kick-off the month of love with a philanthropy award acceptance. Recently, Mr Weerachai Mukhagung, Cluster Manager (responsible for development programmes in Sangkha and Kap Choeng of Surin province; and Lahan Sai and Non Din Daeng of Buriram province), representing World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT), along with representatives from Ban Chan Merit Maker Team and Ban Chan Sub-district Administrative Organisation, has accepted The Plaque and Certificate for National Gold Merit Maker Team, awarded by Prime Ministry Prayut Chan-o-cha at Don Muang Ballroom, Amari Don Muang Airport Bangkok. (A merit maker team refers to a multidisciplinary team of which members work in coordination to prevent drowning, especially in children.) The award acceptance ceremony has also been honoured by Dr Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai, Department of Disease Control Director-General, Dr Asadang Ruayajin, Department of Disease Control Deputy Director-General, and Dr Sasithorn Tangsawad, Director Office of Diseases Prevention Control, who have joined the event to extend their congratulations.
Further, WVFT, through Sangkha Area Development Programme, received a plaque awarded to organisations which have supported drowning prevention and collaborated in the “Field Trip: Merit Maker”, at the 13th World Conference on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion (Safety 2018) last November. The event was attended by 21 international administrators and experts in the area of drowning prevention from 12 countries, including the World Health Organization (WHO).
World Vision Foundation of Thailand, through the development programme in Sangkha district of Surin province, has collaborated with Surin Provincial Public Health Office, Ban Chan Sub-district Health Promotion Hospital, Education Management Network 10 and 11, Ban Chan Sub-district Administrative Organisation, and Ban Chan Merit Maker Team to conduct child drowning prevention activity, titled “Child Drowning Prevention Project (Water Safety): floating and swimming lesson.” The activity has enhanced the essential skills for children in grade 3-6, the age range with the highest mortality risk due to drowning accidents. This initiative is part of the Child Protection work and to support the government’s campaign to reduce the number of child mortality due to drowning, which is the 1st cause of the deaths of children under 15. Each year around 700-1,000 children die from drowning accidents. Through these years, Surin has been in the top 5 provinces of Thailand with the highest rate of child deaths from drowning.
Because of the continued implementation of the Child Drowning Prevention Project by Sangkha Area Development Programme since 2015, more than 1,300 children who did not know how to swim, including children in WVFT’s Child Sponsorship Programme and other students going to schools located in the development areas, have joined the skill-enhancement activity and now know how to float in the water and swim. In addition, they have learnt basic skills to save themselves should a water accident happens, or how to save other kids or other people in a drowning incident. The ‘Yelling, Throwing, and Reaching’ principle has been taught to promptly applied in a drowning accident in order to reduce mortality rate.
Sangkha Area Development Programme has also joined hands with the Ban Chan Merit Maker Team to conduct training for 65 persons, including swimming teachers and community volunteers, on how to save victims in drowning accidents, to engage all members of the community in child safeguard to avoid loss from drowning.
Thanks to WVFT’s intervention, carried out by Sangkha Area Development Programme staff, who are members of Ban Chan Merit Maker Team, as well as other merit maker teams in Surin province, the child drowning mortality rate in the province reduced from 14.2% (39 children) in 2014 to 10.7% (27 children) in 2017.
In order to take part in the Child Drowning Prevention Project to cut down child drowning deaths to zero and to make swimming lessons available for children in all areas, despite an obstacle of limited access to swimming facilities, Mr Vira Aroonvatanaporn, Vice-Chairperson of WVFT’s Board of Directors, and Mr Apisakdi Kongkangwanchoke, Member of WVFT’s Board of Directors, after their field visit to monitor the implementation of Sangkha Area Development Programme, have made a contribution to purchase a portable swimming pool worth over 120,000 baht, which would be used to give swimming lessons to children living in remote areas with no access to swimming facilities. The portable swimming pool has already been handed over to and benefiting the local children.
WVFT has carried out development work in 2 districts of Surin: Sangkha and Kap Choeng, with more than 1,800 children through the Child Sponsorship Programme. Aside from children’s age-appropriate development work, WVFT has also conducted other child-related holistic development and promotion, such as education enhancement, parents’ occupation and income support to promote self-reliance, solving children’s health and sanitation problems, and child protection. The focus is to ensure that all children receive proper care, live happily in safe environment, are cared for and protected by their family members, school and community, and are equipped with essential skills which enable their self-protection.