Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thailand Project NEWSLETTER: April 2011

Dear Thailand Project Supporters,

It has been far too long since our last update and much has happened since. To bring you up to speed, we’ll be sending out 3 newsletters over the next three months.

First up…How are Aor & Fongtip doing? We’ll start with Aor.

After two years of ESL and an incredibly arduous summer (Please click HERE to view SUMMER 2010 photo essay), Aor returned to the University of WI – Stevens Point (UWSP) to begin a very successful freshman academic year. She remains the only individual with no citizenship from any country (stateless) to ever be granted permission to study abroad by the Thai & U.S. Govt. Aor is currently one signature away from gaining a Thai birth certificate. She will return to Thailand this summer to complete the process (fingers crossed).

Fongtip, who was granted Thai citizenship 2 months after receiving her scholarship, stayed in WI to take summer classes. She then hit the ground running when fall arrived to tackle her first full-time academic semester. Fongtip’s grades were so good that she earned honors and an “A” in Freshman English. Over winter break, she then traveled back to Thailand to serve as the assistant to the professor for the 6th annual study abroad program: Arts for Humanity in Thailand. She also distributed donated digital cameras to stateless children along the Thai/Burma border to begin our latest mini-project: Photography Educational Exchange for Kids (PEEK!).

As though citizenship appeals and a full college study load were not enough, Aor & Fongtip have teamed up to develop a new student organization at UWSP called Sa-Wat-Dee Community & International Volunteers (SCIV). The goal of their program is to organize students and community members who are looking to volunteer with local and international non-profits in need of help. SCIV also hopes to arrange an annual speaking event covering a wide range of humanitarian issues including statelessness and human trafficking. Aor’s and Fongtip’s efforts resulted in an invitation to attend Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) conference in sunny San Diego, CA. (Special “Thank You!” to CGI U for covering the cost of their flights and hotel accommodations.)

Aor’s and Fongtip’s scholarships are fully funded through August 2012, but $65,000 is still needed to support their final two years of education. Their estimated date of graduation is Summer 2014. The Thailand Project is a registered non-profit with 501c3 status through our fiscal sponsor – The Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin. No matter the size, all gifts are tax deductible and greatly appreciated. (Make a donation to Aor and Fongtip's scholarship fund.)

Thank you always for your past & future support!


Joseph Quinnell & Susan Perri
Founders & Directors of The Thailand Project