The Village Fire

The emergency email

On March 11th, 2014, our partner charity SpinningTop received an emergency email from Peacefully, who runs a school and boarding house that SpinningTop support, on the Thai/Burma border. The email read:

“Now another thing as you see the picture. There are 35 students who stay in HTL dormitory (no school in the village) so they come to HTL dorm and school. On 7th of this month, when the adult went to farm and the forest fire came into the village and burned 28 houses. The 32 of our students houses were burned down. They left nothing except 3 of student’s house are not burned. There is no any NGO and organisation like in the refugee camp to come and help. I went there and talk to them, and they said they have no hope for any one to help, they see no one. When I went there they just came and surrounded me and shared about their hardship and cry.”

The Response

As you can imagine, they were pretty shocked at this news and luckily Peacefully was fast off the mark and as soon as they asked him what they could do to help, he planned an emergency response. The plan was to help rebuild the lives of the 28 families affected by the fire. This meant supplying what they had lost, so they could get straight back to life as normal and the kids could return to their education.

Peacefully’s plan was: “My suggestion is, if we can buy 3 pots, 12 spoons, 10 plates, 5 bows (material in house), 1500 baht for each family to recover their house for buying material, and one or two bags of rice for each.”

All up, this came to less than $5,000 NZD, to help 28 families who live in the jungle and have no government or insurance to turn to. Donations through The Body Shop, One Percent Collective and other regular donors played a huge part in raising these funds and just a week after the fire, Peacefully drove to the village with the supplies and distributed them to the 28 families.

SpinningTop's Visit

In early April SpinningTop visited the village as part of their annual budget and project planning trip to the border. They were amazed to see that in less than a month, new houses had been built and the families were all in really good health. The small kids who suffered burns were healing and the other kids were happily playing in the burnt remains of their old houses.

The houses are pretty simple, yet it still amazes us that each family can build something like this for only $54 NZD. Incredible! Being able to help these families means so much to us, they had nowhere to turn to and it is thanks to your donations that they are back on their feet. The kids also have a new school in a nearby village, which was built with funds raised through one of SpinningTop’s comedy fundraisers in 2013. All in all, a happy ending to what was a very sad situation for people who have already been through so much in their lives. Thanks for your epic support!