The SET Foundation
The SET Foundation

Giving back…

Once upon a time there was a British guy who became a rare farang (non Asian) monk in Thailand.

His name was Peter Robinson, but he became known as Phra Farang.

After he left the order, Peter continued to give back to Thailand. And he did this by creating the SET Foundation (more about this later).

When I moved to Thailand, I too expected to do a lot of giving back. And I have.

But it was the SET Foundation that really caught my western fancy.

And as I mentioned on my Thai blog, Women Learn Thai (please don’t forget the ‘wink’), the SET Foundation has an amazing record:

Every Baht you give goes directly to help our students: SET has very low overheads and administration costs – no staff wages, no office rental costs, no staff vehicles and no fundraising expenses. In 2008, less than 3% of income was spent on administration.

500 Baht (US$15) will buy a pair of school shoes.

800 Baht (US$24) will buy spectacles – often badly needed by some students. 800 Baht will also pay a month’s rent in a shared student dormitory.

1,000 (US$30) Baht will pay for a school uniform or will cover the cost of books or tools for a year.

2,500 Baht (US$75) will pay for lunch at a school canteen for an entire semester.

2,500 Baht will also usually cover bus fares for a year (two semesters).

3,000 Baht (US$90) will support a student at high school for one semester or one semester for a college student studying for a Vocational Certificate.

5,000 Baht (US$150) is the typical value of a SET welfare grant for one semester for a college or university student. The grant will usually cover the cost of accommodation, food and bus fares.

If you are a Westerner – American, Brit, European, Canadian – then you might have noticed just how little it takes to contribute to an education.

And what is especially noticeable is how practically nothing is skimmed off the top. Yeah, there be a lot of skimming going on in the west…

Dunno about you, but I was impressed. Totally.

I’ve tossed in 5000 baht (US$150). And my buddy Talen of Thailand, Land of Smiles has tossed in 5000 baht too.

So, would anyone care to match our bahts, toss by toss?

But truthfully, even a half a toss, or a half of a half a toss, would do.


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