Students promote Thailand's tourism with their paintbrushes - and give proceeds to charity

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Saturday, September 8, 2007

An innovative "Children helping Children" project has been launched by local volunteers and students of a school in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. Named the Chiang Mai Charity Calendar 2008 it serves the dual purpose of promoting their 700-year-old city, and supporting disadvantaged children.

Self-financed with no advertising, and produced by schoolchildren for a charitable cause, it is probably the first of its kind to surface in the travel industry, and something normally only in the domain of National Tourism Organizations.

The objectives are:

  1. Initially, to encourage well-off children to help poor kids in a 'create and donate' concept, using art pieces instead of money.
  2. To put Chiang Mai on the world map as a prime destination in its own right for leisure, conferences, medical tourism, high quality purchases, sports, education, studies, and not a stopover, as many perceive it to be.
  3. To raise funds for disadvantaged Thai children through sales of the calendar.
  4. To further motivate the kids who donated the paintings to continue doing worthwhile things - by letting them experience their own success, first hand.'

The students, all from Prem Tinsulononda International School, were invited to create original paintings depicting why "Chiang Mai is a Wonderful Place to Live". This resulted in 93 entries from all ages and nationalities, thirteen of which were selected for inclusion in the not-for-profit 40-page 14-month full colour desk calendar. The production contains around 2000 words of original text, highlighting the city's rich history, and relative inaccessibility for centuries, e.g.:

"The railway line did not reach the city until 1921, and the last stretch of paved road was not completed until 1972 ... extraordinary to think that in the previous year the Apollo 15 crew had already driven vehicles on the moon"

It points out that in 2005, Travel+Leisure readers voted Chiang Mai into fifth place in the list of world's best cities, acknowledges that the Asian economic building boom has had a negative impact, but adds:

"High buildings, highways and hypermarkets bow deferentially to antiquity, and in many cases their clumsy presence only serves to intensify the beauty of the city's historical monuments - ancient chedis or graceful spires gloriously upstaging trendy modern architecture"

This colourful and useful product will carry its promotional message into homes and offices all around the world, and has been welcomed by the Tourism Authority of Thailand Director Northern Office Region 1, Mr. Junnapong Saranak, who in his introductory message in the calendar, remarks that it is unique, and ‘may even become a collector’s item’

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Wikinews
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

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