In the mountains around Chiang Rai in northern Thailand, many families live in poverty and are ill-equipped for cold winter conditions. In these rural areas winter temperatures often reach below 10°C (50°F), placing many villagers at risk of getting sick due to lack of proper winter gear.
In 2015 Creating Balance Thailand (CBT) approached us to support an annual project to provide winter packages to needy families to prepare them for the season ahead.
Poverty is widespread in the mountainous villages surrounding Chiang Rai due to limited access to quality education and lack of job opportunities. As a result many villagers work in the agricultural sector and are paid low wages.
The housing in these villages is typically built at low cost using bamboo that provides little protection against the cold. As a result villagers – especially children and the elderly – are prone to illness during the cold season.
This problem is worsened by the village-wide lack of hot water and washing facilities in these areas. Blankets that villagers do own often become dirty from continued use and moldy from the humidity and the inability to properly clean them. Using unclean, moldy blankets form additional health risks.
Providing villagers with new blankets to protect them from the winter’s cold leads to fewer health problems, better school attendance and fewer people losing income due to illness.
Goals and Results
Creating Balance Thailand put together winter packages for the villages with funds from Philanthropy Connections’ sponsor, Swiss businessman Peter Brodtbeck. The packages included a large thick blanket, a fleece blanket, a jacket, socks, gloves and a beanie.
In November 2015 Philanthropy Connections, Creating Balance Thailand and Mr. Brodtbeck visited the villages to distribute 60 winter packages with a special focus on children and disabled villagers.