Pitch­ing In

The spouses of Bangkok-based diplo­mats have ar­ranged a char­ity din­ner in which the ben­e­fi­cia­ries will per­form

Thailand Tatler - - CONCIERGE -

he spouses of heads of mis­sions (SHOM) is or­gan­is­ing a char­ity mu­sic din­ner with a dif­fer­ence—the per­form­ers, the Im­manuel Mu­sic School or­ches­tra, which is made up of chil­dren from Klong Toey slum, are the ones set to ben­e­fit from it. The con­cert, which is set to take place at the Ger­man am­bas­sador’s res­i­dence, will be­gin at 6pm on Satur­day Fe­bru­ary 4. A ticket will set you back 4,000 baht per per­son or 36,000 baht for a ta­ble of 10. Juri Dro­fenik, wife of the Aus­trian am­bas­sador to Thai­land and the for­mer pres­i­dent turned adviser to SHOM, tells us more.

What is the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind this event?

I think one of our tasks is to try to bet­ter un­der­stand Thai­land— its cul­ture, his­tory and shared val­ues. Dur­ing my time here, I’ve learned that Thai peo­ple are very giv­ing and have a very gen­er­ous mind­set. As am­bas­sadors’ wives, we are here as guests and we have been warmly wel­comed and treated very well. I thought that we as a group have to give back to so­ci­ety. The mu­sic school and these chil­dren re­ally need sup­port. They need schol­ar­ship money and a full-time teacher. We re­ally wanted to con­trib­ute to a brighter fu­ture for these chil­dren. But in­stead of sim­ply rais­ing funds and giv­ing them money, we thought, why not in­vite them in a par­tic­i­pa­tory man­ner. We aim to raise about one mil­lion baht and we want to give as many schol­ar­ships as pos­si­ble through these funds. More­over, through char­ity events, we can iden­tify so­ci­ety’s needs first­hand.

What can we ex­pect?

There will be a sym­phony or­ches­tra per­for­mance. The 20-30 chil­dren par­tic­i­pat­ing are aged between three-20 years old, all chil­dren from the Klong Toey slum. As it is a din­ner event, there will also be food and drinks. The unique­ness of this event is that all the SHOM mem­bers are go­ing to con­trib­ute. While the food comes from out­side cater­ing, all the wine and dessert will be do­nated from the dif­fer­ent em­bassies here. So there will be plenty from each coun­try.

What were the chal­lenges in plan­ning it?

We are not event or­gan­is­ers so this re­quired a lot of work. It took about one year to plan ev­ery­thing. We also needed to find a lot of spon­sor­ship but we have al­ready suc­cess­fully raised cash con­tri­bu­tions from the pri­vate sec­tor, both in­ter­na­tional and Thai. But the unique­ness of SHOM is that none of the mem­bers are only housewives. Each mem­ber has a pro­fes­sional back­ground, be it in jour­nal­ism, ed­u­ca­tion or hos­pi­tal­ity. We have all con­trib­uted our com­pe­ten­cies into mak­ing the project work.

Are any other projects planned?

We are cur­rently work­ing on a chil­dren’s book project aimed for the sum­mer. We asked all the SHOM mem­bers to con­trib­ute their coun­tries’ old folk tales. Now with 25 sto­ries in English, we are in the phase of get­ting them trans­lated into Thai. The book will contain these 25 sto­ries in both English and Thai and the idea is we want Thai chil­dren to lis­ten to them and then draw pictures, which we will then in­sert into the book. Even­tu­ally, through part­ner­ship with the owner of Wa­ter Li­brary, Pote Lee, these books will be pub­lished. Though not yet con­firmed we hope that, through part­ner­ship with the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, we can then tar­get schools in need and do­nate these books to them.

mu­sic to our ears The wives of am­bas­sadors to Thai­land are hop­ing to en­sure a brighter fu­ture for the mu­si­cally gifted chil­dren of Klong Toey slum

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