Many thanks are in order to all of our kind donors, volunteers, supporters, and the communities with whom we work.
We would like to extend a special thanks to Rotary Club of Koh Samui (ROCKS) who have stuck with us throughout our first year and into 2006 as we move away from tsunami relief and towards long term development. When ROCKS began their partnership with NATR, we did not imagine that Rotary's support, now totaling over 3 million Baht, would become the central catalyst in helping so many villages recover from the tsunami. The model of community assistance that we have developed is revolutionary, putting power back in the hands of people who were left powerless by the tsunami. Just over one year after the heartbreaking losses of December 26, hope has returned and a better future seems possible.
As we have heard so many times in the villages of the North Andaman:
ROCKS Completed Projects
To date, ROCKS has completed over 35 projects in the tsunami affected area of the North Andaman coast. ROCKS have chosen to focus on human needs and services, avoiding major infrastructural projects. Koh Samui Rotary's projects have fallen into four main categories: delivery of emergency supplies; income-generating projects livelihoods; children's needs; and community empowerment projects.
Delivery of emergency supplies
The focus of this project was to provide adequate nutrition for the villagers from Tung Dap who before the tsunami lived on the island of Koh Phratong. The families had been temporarily placed in the village of Tung La Ong on the mainland. The government initially supplied non-perishable food supplies, but based on extensive interviews and focus groups in the village, many villagers were not receiving adequate amounts of fresh vegetables, fruits, or meats. This was caused by lack of access to the markets, lack of cash, or both, since the tsunami. Food was purchased at local markets and delivered by the NATR team from Kuraburi and supported by ROCKS.
Due to the damage and destruction of fishing boats and nets, entire villages lost their means to generate income. In an area that relies almost entirely on the sea for daily living, this was disastrous. Immediately after the tsunami, ROCKS began wide-ranging job recovery programs in a number of villages. Koh Samui Rotary sponsored the repair of boats and salt-water damaged engines in Tung Dap, donated a long-tail speed boat to a family in Laem Naew, supported school teachers' salaries in Tung La Ong and is continuing to support the school teacher's salary in Tung Dap.
Children can be among the most vulnerable to natural disasters, particularly when education is disrupted. So, aside from seeing to their nutritional needs with fresh food delivery, ROCKS provided a wide range of services to tsunami-affected children including: emergency scholarships, new desks and chairs, repairs to dilapidated school buildings, a new library, paying the teachers' salary, student transportation, and school uniforms. Of course, being a child is about more than school, it's about having fun, so ROCKS has facilitated replacement of destroyed playgrounds, hosted a summer camp and sponsored children's day in Tung Dap, Tapa Yoi, Bak Jok, and Tung Nang Dam.
Community empowerment projects
ROCKS has sponsored mangrove restoration projects in which local villagers were hired to help clear mangroves which were badly damaged by the tsunami on Koh Phratong. The project was quite successful, with large amounts of inorganic debris removed from the mangroves. This project was an important one because mangroves provide much life on and around Koh Phratong, being breeding grounds for many types of fish thus enabling the livelihoods of many villagers on the North Andaman coast. The mangroves also provided protection for many villages from the tsunami, slowing the water considerably before it reached the houses. Without the mangroves, the devastation would have been far worse.
ROCKS ongoing projects
Throughout the months, ROCKS has been an incredible source of financial support for NATR in our tsunami relief projects as well as continuing to be our partner into the long term development phase of our work on the Andaman coast. Now that NATR is focusing more on longer-term development, ROCKS is sticking with us and sponsoring the following projects:
Kuraburi TREC (Training Resources & Education Centre)
Based in the centrally-located town of Kuraburi, the Centre serves nearby tsunami-affected communities, including Bak Jok, Tung Nang Dam, Pak Triam and Tapa Yoi, and the many tsunami survivors who have relocated to Kuraburi itself. ROCKS supports the setup and maintenance of TREC, including rent, utilities, furnishing, building the classroom, cleaning and maintenance, etc. ROCKS have also funded the repair and restoration of the two Kabang (Moken houseboats) sitting outside the centre. These Kabang are no longer sea-worthy but can be used as educational tools for villagers and tourists alike.
While the programs at TREC in Kuraburi will serve multiple communities, some villages are remote, and villagers are often unable to travel. As such, ROCKS has funded English and Computer Education in the villages. Community members are extremely keen to learn English and basic Computing Skills as they would like to be ready for the inevitable influx of tourists to the North Andaman coast.
Tung Dap Water Tower
|At the request of the people and chief of Tung Dap, ROCKS is supporting the building of a water tower for the village's main housing cluster, serving both Moken and Thai homes. This tower will serve over twenty homes, and return infrastructure lost in the tsunami.|
ROCKS Projects Quick Facts
|Tsunami survivors to which ROCKS distributed aid:||2,774|
|Villages in which ROCKS distributed village-wide aid:||7|
|People supported by ROCKS livelihood assistance:||820|
|Approximate weight of fresh food delivered, in kg:||38,519|
|Kilometers covered in driving between villages:||28,500|
|Square kilometers in ROCKS focus area:||3960|
|Value of payments, goods, and supplies given
directly to villagers:
|Amount of money spent at local businesses for
project supplies and implementation:
|Children covered by emergency scholarships:||169|
|Children now receiving long-term scholarships
|Villages in which ROCKS offers two-year scholarships:||4|
|Other scholarships available in these villages:||0|
|Children taken camping for their first time as part of summer camps:||39|