March 2021
Smokey Season is underway in Chiang Mai, just like normal, despite little else being "normal" in Thailand because of Covid-19. Gladly, what appeared to be a Second Wave due to New Years follies was quickly snuffed here in Chiang Mai province and life is back to the "normal" we've known for the past year.  Slowly, slowly expats are returning to Thailand, but many Chiang Mai resident expats are conducting their annual 2 - 3 month migration in climes with clearer skies -- this year within Thailand, having learned from their friends still trapped outside Thailand because of their international migrations last year.
Chiang Mai International Rotary Club's project activities follow a predicable annual path, with many projects completing before the heat and bad air arrive in late February.  Many schools have their annual holidays in March-May (although this Covid year may be different), so that also becomes a time when our club projects take a holiday.  As you'll see from this month's Bulletin, we haven't been as active this month and we'll be even less so in March and April.  But those months will be a time of planning, budgeting and organizing.  One big project will be the working on the establishment of the Foundation of the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club.  More on that in the months to come.  
Meanwhile, find a cool spot (or warm locale if you still have snow), pour a refreshing beverage and settle in to read our latest Bulletin, below.  As always, each story is easier to read if you click on the title of the story, where you'll be taken to a webpage with the story.
March 2021 Thoughts from the President

In February we celebrated both the birthday of Rotary International (116th) and of our club (7th). Our club continues doing good things for people in Northern Thailand. Having an engaged membership makes possible the projects and fundraisers that our club sponsors. (right, Charlotte demonstrates the Covid-correct way to extinguish a birthday candle -- off the cake)

Related to projects, a big thank you to our new members Rotarians Bill T. and Nicha for becoming involved in both the Children’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Project and in the Interact programs.

Rotarians Nick and Bill P. have been actively engaged at the Burma Children Medical Fund's B.K. Kee Patient House in providing fabric and art materials for developing the skills of the patients and family members who are presently in a long stay situation due to Covid-19 lockdown in Mae Sot.  Recently, Interactors from Chiang Mai International School became actively involved in activities at the House.

Our club provided 196,000 baht to the BEAM Education Foundation as part of the Bob Carrol Memorial BEAM Scholarship Fund. Rotarians John, Nick and I participated in the symbolic check presentation to BEAM. This will fund approximately eighteen BEAM students' GED exams later this year.

Club members participated in the Career Inspiration Day sponsored by the English Department at Wattanothaipayap School. Rotarians John, Sally, Nick, Colin and Roger, along with former member Clarence, shared their career experiences with approximately 480 students. This was an opportunity for students to hear English spoken with different accents and to understand the variety of careers they can experience in their future. Thank you to Rotarian Colin for organizing this event.

Our newest member, Jim Kittel, joined our club  from the U.S. at the February 9@9 Zoom meeting. Welcome to our newest member and congratulations to our Membership Chair Viki for bringing our active membership count to twenty-seven (27). Secretary Nick added Jim to our club roster using Clubrunner but found he was not a part of Rotary International's MyRotary member listing. Nick worked diligently at resolving the “joining problem” with MyRotary and successfully had Jim officially joined to our club in RI records. Nick's head is only slightly bruised from bashing it against the wall until he discovered the solution.

A reminder to all, please help out our Secretary Nick by reviewing your membership information (primarily address, telephone number, email address and existence of Final Will/next of kin) that can be found in the member section of Clubrunner. If any members find it difficult to do their update, please let Nick know what needs to be updated and he will make the changes for you.

Rotarians John, Roger and Nancy continue in the effort to create a foundation for the club that will help with the long-term financial support of club service projects here in Northern Thailand and provide a mechanism for members to remember the club.

In March, we will again have a fifth Tuesday in the month and will do a trial restart on our informal social get togethers. This will be at The Duke’s at Maya Mall on Tuesday, March 30, 7 pm with the club providing pizza and those attending purchasing their own beverages. Rotarian Nancy is coordinating this Fifth Tuesday event. Please invite friends who could be persuaded to join CMIRC and/or support our projects.

We need to do a trial restart of our last Friday of the month “Let’s Talk Rotary” informal lunch get together. We need a member to nominate a location for Friday, April 30th and to coordinate with the venue on headcount. If this is successful, we will need a member to volunteer on a rotating monthly basis to nominate a location and coordinate the reservations and attendance.

We are fortunate that it appears Covid-19 has been brought back to zero levels here in Chiang Mai. Unfortunately, our burning season air quality is deteriorating and appears that air purifiers and N95 masks will be required for the next several months to maintain our health, as is the norm this time of year.

We indeed do live in interesting times.

Bob Carroll's Legacy at BEAM Foundation
This is from the Facebook page of BEAM Education Foundation, posted February 25, 2021:
Our world became a LOT brighter this morning when members of the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club, presented a check of 196,000 Thai baht. The funds would cater for the registration and participation of about 18 BEAM students in the GED exams later this year! The success of our students in the GED exams opens up the opportunity for them to pursue higher education in universities.

A significant contribution, this support kick starts the Bob Carroll Memorial BEAM Scholarship Fund, in memory of the late Rotarian, Bob Carroll (top, left). Bob was a member of the BEAM family and volunteered with much joy to support the education of our migrant students. May his wonderful soul rest peacefully.

Chiang Mai International Rotary Club


And, CMIRC says THANK YOU to all the generous donors who contributed to the scholarship fund!

In the top photo, CMIRC President Roger (center), with CMIRC BEAM Project Champion Nick and Fundraising Champion John present a symbolic check to BEAM Assistant Director Ko Pkyo (left) and Director Jo Jo.  In the photo at bottom, Ko Phyo and Jo Jo present a Certificate of Appreciation to CMIRC. 

February Update at the BCMF B K Kee Patient House

February was quite an eventful month of activity for the Burma Children Medical Fund's B.K. Kee Patient House. Due to travel restrictions related to Covid-19 and the political situation in Myanmar there have been no new patients arriving for the past several months and patients who have completed their treatments are not permitted to return to Mae Sot. Our normal practice of social visits and bringing of supplies is gradually transforming into more of a skill-developing focus. The patients and caregivers will be remaining at the house for quite some time and BCMF’s director, Kanchana Thornton would like to see these folks develop some helpful skills that they can take back to their community when that time comes. The two areas of focus we have identified are English Language Instruction and Sewing. (Including how to cut out a pattern, making face coverings, pillows, blankets, etc.) We have identified a woman from BEAM Education Foundation who has a sewing curriculum and has agreed to act as our instructor. She will be visiting the house on March 1st to see the existing setup and figure out how to organize a teaching area where multiple patients can learn and practice simultaneously. Thank you kindly to those members of our club who have graciously donated fabric and unused clothing/material for this project. We may be calling on members for more contributions in the upcoming months.

February was also the month when we had the opportunity to welcome students from Chiang Mai International School's (CMIS) Interact Club, who were searching for a community service project. On February 7th, their club’s President and Vice President (left) joined us at the House. They had the opportunity to join us in preparing the remaining Teddy Trekker bears for a future journey to the Mae Tao Clinic in Mae Sot. Each patient and caregiver had painted one or two bags on a prior visit and we brought tissue paper and ribbon to complete wrapping the gift to give to a needy child at the clinic, at the first opportunity when travel to Mae Sot can resume.

Our English Language Learning program started on our previous visit on February 20th. We had five students from CMIS join us and they brought with them a matching (colors) game they made by hand. (One set of colors and one set of corresponding words with the word underlined with the color they had to match.) We split the patients and caregivers into two groups of four to allow multiple turns. After each participant made a match, the groups practiced naming the color so there were many opportunities for practice. After a few rounds we then switched so all of the color cards were face up and we went around and the patients and caregivers were asked to locate a specific color. The last activity was quite fun. A color was shouted out and then everyone had to find an object that corresponded to that particular color within the room. Overall, it was quite a wonderful experience. Everyone was having fun, engaged and most of all, learning!!

We also brought everyone a binder and a set of English Language learning worksheets to help supplement their understanding of the vocabulary we introduced. There was enough time for everyone to do a couple of pages and the remaining work they can do at their leisure throughout the week. Our next category will be animals and we also plan to introduce some simple conversational phrases in the coming weeks ahead. 

If any Rotarians are interested in joining us on our every other Sunday visits, please reach out to Bill Pierce - B.K. Kee Patient House Champion. Temperature screening is done when we arrive and we are required to wear face coverings during the entire visit. We leave Shell station on Huay Kaew Road at 11:00 and usually complete our visit around 12:45.

Back in the Water for Children's Water Safety & Drowning Prevention

Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC)-Kru Payu  Children’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Program (CWSDPP) 

We’re back in the water in Chiang Mai!! In February we taught almost fifty 4th-graders from the Wat Tassadoi Municipal School and we are now starting our 10-lesson (15 hours) program for four more municipal schools -- Wat Sri Suphan School, Wat Muen Ngern Kong School, Wat Dok Ngern School, and Wat Puak Chang School. Our team at Kru Payu Swim and Bronco Kids Sport Club is working very hard so that, in spite of all the Covid-19 closings, we will complete our program for all of our twelve schools during this school year.  

In Phrao, working with our Warm Heart Foundation partners, we are planning next year to add five schools to the seven we already teach there, bringing our total in Phrao for the next school year up to twelve schools. Much of this will depend on continued funding from the British Community in Thailand Foundation for the Needy. They have funded our Phrao programs for the past two years. They have received our proposal for next year and we hope they will, once again, work with us on children’s water safety and drowning prevention.

More good news from our partner in Phuket, the Rotary Club of Patong Beach -- this year they have already sponsored water safety and drowning prevention courses for 96 children and they have courses planned for 65 more children before this school year ends.

Finally, we welcome donations and new Rotary partners to help us continue into our 6th year and beyond of this life saving program.

We started this program in 2015 and we are still going strong and serving more children every year thanks to our wonderful sponsors and CMIRC volunteers! If you wish to help please contact Project Champion John Schorr at for more information.

The Thai Thaim Foundation

Results are in for the School Vision Screening Program

The results are coming in!!! On January 24, 2021, we sent a questionnaire to all twelve schools we served asking the health teacher to follow up with the children who received glasses. We have now received responses from ten of those twelve schools and here is what we have learned so far about the 147 children who received glasses last year in our program; please note that in almost every case, this is the first time the child has received and worn prescription glasses:

90% of the children who received glasses report that their vision is clearer now.

95% of the children who received glasses report that better vision has improved their everyday life.

96% of the children who received glasses report that overall their eyesight has improved.

But there are also some problems, too:

18% of the children who received glasses report they sometimes feel dizzy.

15% of the children who received glasses report that the glasses can be uncomfortable around their temples and ears.

39% of the children who received glasses report that the glasses sometimes move down their nose, i.e. the fit is not perfect and they have to push them back up.

26% of the children who received glasses report that the glasses have been damaged.

Our CMIRC School Vision Screen Program team will be back in the schools after the semester break in March-April and we will help the children who have identified problems with fit, damage and vision adjustment. In a very few cases where health teachers identified major problems, we will work with our optician to address those problems.

Moving Forward:

We are now in the midst of planning for next year; probably beginning our screenings of 3rd and 5th graders in May or June, at the start of the new school year. The screenings will include a follow-up examination with the children who received glasses in 2020 (most will be 4th and 6th-graders at the same schools) and then screening the new 3rd and 5th-graders at each of the twelve schools.

Importantly, we have not yet identified donors to help us sponsor our CMIRC School Vision Screening Project for the next school year beginning in May. So, while our plans are coming together nicely, we have not yet found funding to supplement our CMIRC and Rotary Club of Chiang Mai-Wattana contributions to the project. The program cost per prescription including the optician’s fees, frames, and lenses this past year was about 600 baht (US$20) and the glasses are provided for free to the children. The total program budget for next year is estimated at between $3,000 and $4,000 US dollars. 

If you wish to learn how you can help, please contact Project Champion John Schorr at or tel.: 66 (0)8 5030 2143

Our 2020 School Vision Screening Donor Team:


The Thai Thaim Foundation

Career Inspiration Day at Wattanothaipayap School

On Wednesday, 24 February six members of CMIRC visited Wattanothaipayap School, in Chiang Mai to give presentations to 480 students on how to choose and maintain a career.

Some specific careers covered included horticulture, airlines services, academia, and working for multinational organisations. In addition, time was taken to explain the importance of matching the character and personality of an organisation to the individual’s characteristics. Also, noticing and adapting to change, being prepared to change careers and following one’s own inclinations were also covered.

The presentations appeared to be well received and at the end of the event, each speaker was presented with a commemorative box and a kitchen wall unit.

Indications are that the event, with some modifications, will be repeated next year.

March 2021 is Water and Sanitation Month


The benefits of having access to an improved drinking water source can only be fully realized when there is also access to improved sanitation and adherence to good hygiene practices. Beyond the immediate, obvious advantages of people being hydrated and healthier, access to water, sanitation and hygiene – known collectively as WASH – has profound wider socio-economic impacts, particularly for women and girls.

The fact that WASH is the subject of dedicated targets within the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 6) is testament to its fundamental role in public health and therefore in the future of sustainable development. Indeed, access to safe water and sanitation are human rights, as recognized in 2010 by the United Nations General Assembly. For universal fulfilment of these rights to become reality, we will need the right systems: well-resourced, capable institutions delivering services and changing behavior in resilient and appropriate ways.

Today, 2.2 billion people lack access to safely managed drinking water services and 4.2 billion people lack safely managed sanitation services. Unsafe hygiene practices are widespread, compounding the effects on people’s health. The impact on child mortality rates is devastating with more than 297,000 children under five who die annually from diarrheal diseases due to poor sanitation, poor hygiene, or unsafe drinking water.

A person without access to improved drinking water – for example from a protected borehole well or municipal piped supply for instance – is forced to rely on sources such as surface water, unprotected and possibly contaminated wells, or vendors selling water of unverifiable provenance and quality.

For many communities, water sources are usually far from their homes, and it typically falls to women and girls to spend much of their time and energy fetching water, a task which often exposes them to attack from men and even wild animals.

Without improved sanitation – a facility that safely separates human waste from human contact – people have no choice but to use inadequate communal latrines or to practice open defecation. For women and girls, finding a place to go to the toilet outside, often having to wait until the cover of darkness, can leave them vulnerable to abuse and sexual assault. In the immediate environment, exposed faecal matter will be transferred back into people’s food and water resources, helping to spread serious diseases such as cholera. Beyond the community, the lack of effective waste disposal or sewerage systems can contaminate ecosystems and contribute to disease pandemics.

In some parts of the world there is little or no awareness of good hygiene practices and their role in reducing the spread of disease. However, it is often the case that even when people do have knowledge of good hygiene behavior, they lack the soap, safe water and washing facilities they need to make positive changes to protect themselves and their community.

What You May Have Missed in February
The regular every other Sunday morning visits by club members to the patients and their families at Burma Children Medical Fund B.K. Kee Patient House here in Chiang Mai where members socialize, play games, bring food and engage in craft projects with the patients and their families. A big thank you to CMIS Interactors for joining us in these activities.
The first and third Fridays of the month Chiang Mai Expats Club breakfasts, where we promote CMIRC and swap "Change for Children" owl banks, were cancelled due to low attendance during Smokey Season.
Tuesday, February 2, CMIRC Service Project Committee meeting at Royal Peninsula Hotel.
Tuesday, February 2, CMIRC's regular meeting at the Royal Peninsula Hotel with the evening dedicated to: New member induction, Rotary International's 116th Birthday; CMIRC's 7th year birthday with the club the history in a PowerPoint presentation and a review of service project history/objectives/status. (right, new members Julia, Nicha and Bill T are welcomed by club members with a traditional Thai wai instead of a handshake)
Monday, February 8, CMIRC's Childrens' Water Safety & Drowning Prevention Program committee meeting at Bronco Kids Sport Club with new committee members Rotarians Bill T. and Nicha joining the team.
Tuesday, February 9, our 9@9 ZOOM meeting with members who are outside of Chiang Mai. PP Jim joined the club from the U.S.
Tuesday, February 16, CMIRC's regular meeting at the Royal Peninsula Hotel with the program presented by Nancy Lindley on "Healthcare in Chiang Mai - Issues and Opportunities for the Expat Community “.
Tuesday, February 23, our club board meeting at Royal Peninsula Hotel.
Wednesday, February 24, some club members participated in the all-morning Career Inspiration Day sponsored by the English Department at Wattanothaipayap School.

Thursday, February 25, presentation of funds for one hundred ninety-six thousand baht from the Bob Carroll Memorial Scholarship Fund to BEAM Education Foundation to support GED testing costs.

Save the Dates, March and Beyond

The needed protection measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused the cancellation of many events. Others are being conducted online and others have been postponed. Below is a list of events and their status, as we currently understand them. Please remember the situation is extremely fluid and things change daily. Some of our scheduled speakers may be willing to participate in online meetings. The latest news for CMIRC events is at:

Here are just a few of the important dates for members of Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC). These are opportunities to meet some of us and to meet other Rotarians from around the world!

Every other Sunday visits by club members to Burma Children Medical Fund's  (BCMF) B. K. Kee Patient House to socialize, play games, do crafts with the patients and their families.  Interested? Contact Rotarian Bill Pierce.

2 March 2021 CMIRC Club Meeting Meeting, 7 pm. at Royal Peninsula Hotel.  A visit from representatives from our Interact clubs at Chiang Mai International School and Unity Concord International School. Always a fun night! Gather at 5:45 pm for an optional dinner; order off the menu of the hotel's restaurant. 

3 March 2021 Joe Evans' Birthday

6 - 7 March Rotary President-Elect Training Session, via Zoom for Thailand and surrounding countries.  Contact CP Roger

9 March 2021 CMIRC "9 at 9" 9 pm Thai time.  A ZOOM social meeting for members in and out of Thailand.  Contact IPP John.

16 March 2021 CMIRC Club Meeting, 7 pm. at Royal Peninsula Hotel. Speaker: TBA

23 March 2021 CMIRC Board Meeting at Royal Peninsula Hotel, 1:00 - 3:00 pm  Contact CP. Roger

30 March 2021 CMIRC Social Night, 7 pm at Duke's Restaurant, Maya Mall.  We'll provide the pizza; drinks up-to-you.  Bring your friends who are prospective Rotarians and Friends-of-Rotary.

15 - 16 May Rotary District Conference, Phitsanulok.  The date has changed so many times, I wouldn't recommend writing in ink if you still use a paper diary (like me).

12 – 16 June 2021 - Rotary International Convention, virtual convention. 

4 – 8 June 2022 - Rotary International Convention, Houston, Texas, USA

Thank You to Our Sponsors
 Rotary is not free; we give our hearts, we give our time and to some extent we give our money. Most of our heart, most of our time and most of our money goes to support our children’s projects. Yet we have operational expenses, for example, our website with its powerful tools such as this bulletin. We ask that you consider our sponsors for your needs.
The Lila Thai Massage Ex-Inmate Employment and Skill Development Center was established in 2014 by "Naowarat Thanasrisutharat" to help and support women being released from prison. The ladies receive a massage training course from certified massage instructors (ex-inmates who work for Lila Thai Massage); these programs are endorsed by and meet the requirements of the Chiang Mai Public Health Department. This project reduces the women conviction rates in Chiang Mai and helps to solve the societal problems that perpetuate the situation, bringing about our long-cherished dream for a better community. The quality of massage at Lila Thai Massage is consistently superb.
Royal Peninsula Hotel is an excellent international standard hotel located in the heart of Chiang Mai. They have 150 guest rooms with all amenities including free wi-fi. There is ample onsite, covered parking. The outdoor swimming pool and Jacuzzi are available to guests. There is both an indoor restaurant, featuring Thai cuisine and outdoor beer garden next to the swimming pool. The Royal Peninsula Hotel has two conference and banquet rooms, well decorated, with good acoustics. The staff at Royal Peninsula are very accommodating. The Chiang Mai International Rotary Club meets at the Royal Peninsula at 7:00 PM on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month, with many members and guests gathering about an hour before the meeting in the hotel's restaurant for fellowship and an optional meal, ordering from the restaurant's menu of reasonably-priced Thai food.
Our sponsors donate money that supports our operational expenses, freeing funds for the projects we love. Please give them your support. 
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