August 2020
Welcome to the "New Normal".  It's been over ten weeks since Thailand has experienced its last local transmission of Covid-19, yet the country remains vigilant. All returnees undergo a strict 14-day quarantine -- no "socializing" with the guards, as happened in Melbourne to kick off their recent virus upsurge. While Thai people stranded overseas are being permitted to return, the situation isn't so rosy for foreigners who call Thailand their home. The hurdles are high and those with "retirement visas" are low on the list.
Sadly, Chiang Mai International Rotary Club has some members who left Chiang Mai early in the year to escape the annual Smokey Season and are now trapped overseas with bleak prospects for return to Thailand. They enjoyed having our regular meetings conducted via Zoom, but now we've returned to in-person meetings in July, as have the other Rotary clubs in Thailand. We hope to keep in touch with our overseas members and friends via social media, this bulletin and our new monthly "9at9" social Zoom meeting at 9 pm Thai time on the 9th of the month. Soon we'll roll out a fresh, new website, curated by Rtn Viki, to keep us entertained and in-touch.
Pour your favorite beverage and relax to read what we've been up to, below. You can better view each story by clicking on the story's title where you'll be taken to the story on our website, displayed in a full-page, easy-to-view format.
August 2020 Message from the President

July is the first month of the new Rotary year, and my first month as CMIRC President. At left, I'm trying to encourage PP John Schorr to retain the position.

One can only feel overwhelmed in trying to match the contributions of Charter President Roger Lindley, PP Joe Evans, PP Shana Kongmun, PP Jerry Nelson, PP John Schorr and PP Colin Jarvis. At the same time, one is fortunate to have the solid foundation for CMIRC that they have built.

We begin the year with twenty-four active members and three honorary members; seven excellent service projects, a successful Food for the Needy initiative and participation in a global grant -- all focused on child safety, health and education.

Our record of charitable giving in the past twelve months reached 1,700,000 Baht (US$54,000).

Club members have been active participants in Rotary events, workshops, and meetings at the international, national, district, and local level. Enthusiasm and hard work is reflected in the projects and figures above and, being a small club, a number of members who have to take on multiple roles.

We need new blood to increase membership along with gender and nationality diversity amongst others and to decrease average age. Rotary is a huge and remarkable network; there are sixteen clubs here in Chiang Mai and over 330 clubs and 9,000 Rotarians in Thailand. This Rotary year it is imperative we increase our involvement with Thai Rotary at the club and district levels as well as with Rotary International.

CMIRC now offers Passport Active Membership for distant members and at 9 pm (Thai time) on the 9th of every month we encourage all members to participate in a Zoom meeting wherever they are.

Writer John Fowles remarks the English love to retreat behind masks and one of my favorite oracles Lao Tzu comments a leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.

And I am certain our accomplished Board, key personnel and members will do it themselves so I can step back and let them and our Project Champions speak for themselves.


Clarence Shettlesworth
Immediate Past PresidentJohn Schorr
President ElectDylan Thomason
SecretaryNick Dale
TreasurerNancy Lindley
Service Projects CommitteeDylan Thomason
MembershipViki Thomason
Public InformationRoger Lindley
FoundationsRoger Lindley
Sergeant at ArmsBill Pierce
Youth Advisor
Pending Child Protection & Welfare
Committee appointment

CMIRC Food Initiative at Koung Jor Refugee Camp Nursery School on the Border with Burma

As part of our efforts to respond to the critical basic survival needs created by the economic collapse associated with the Covid-19 Pandemic, CMIRC has sought partners to identify children in need and to provide those children with life’s basic needs. Working with Philanthropy Connections Foundation (PCF) and the Shan Women’s Action Network (SWAN), we identified a nursery school right outside a Shan refugee camp on the Burmese border in Chiang Mai Province. We then reached out to Rtn. Kim White and his Road To A Better Life Foundation and they contributed over 100,000 Baht, 50% of which was used to help feed the children in the nursery school. Our donations will provide school lunches for 120 nursery school children for 5 months!

Many of our members wanted to see this lunch program in action, so P Clarence, Rtn Aree, Rotary Inspiration Officer Areeya, PE Dylan, Rtn Viki, Khun Nalina, Charlotte, Max, Sec. Nick, Friend of Rotary Bob Burr, PP John and Volunteer-on-Call Phijitra traveled to the camp just outside Piang Luang on the 23rd and 24th of July.

We were very impressed with the work SWAN and PCF are doing there and with the wonderful programs they are able to provide the children in the camp with very limited budgets. Special thanks to Ying Charm Hom for helping us to organize this trip and for introducing us to village leaders and teachers.

CMIRC Delivers School Supplies to Children Near Thai-Myanmar Border
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the original plan of delivering school supplies before the start of the Thai school year in May was understandably derailed. Still, Project Champions Dylan and Viki wanted to complete the distribution among the schools in greatest need as soon as possible. However, the club just had to wait until lock-down measures in Thailand were lifted.
Club members, including Inspiration Officer Areeya, right, sorted and boxed the school supplies before the club meeting on July 21 and, at last, on Thursday, July 23, 2020, members of the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC) delivered school supplies to the learning center of 150 students inside the Koung Jor Temporary Shelter Area, a.k.a. refugee camp in Piang Luang, in Chiang Mai Province’s Wiang Haeng District, on the Thai-Myanmar border.

On the following day, CMIRC Rotarians visited the Lak Thaeng School that serves as an extension of the primary school for 190 children living in the Koung Jor refugee camp and distributed the remaining supplies. The School Supplies Appeal had an annual budget of about 24,000 Bt for the 2019-2020 Rotary Year, which we decided to equally divide between only two schools to make a significant impact.

Before heading back home in Chiang Mai, club members visited the former border crossing, where many of the local Shan refugees had crossed into Thailand before it closed down in 2002. Barbwire fencing stands as a deterrent to prevent illegal crossing. Sadly, it also acts as a warning of the thousands of landmines in the area, planted by the Shan, Burmese, and Wa armies.

To see more photos of the trip, please visit our YouTube channel:

CMIRC's Children's Vision Screening Project

Finally, some very good news to report about the restarting of our CMIRC Children’s Vision Screening Project for poor children in Chiang Mai. We plan to provide vision screening for all 3rd and 5th grade students at the eleven Tessaban (Municipal) Schools in Chiang Mai, where the poorest families send their children, beginning in the fall semester of 2020. We estimate that during the 2020-2021 school year our CMIRC team will screen close to 700 students and then our optician team Khun One (Wen One Optical Shops) and Khun Wut at St. Peter’s Eye Hospital will examine those identified to have problems, write prescriptions, and fit lenses to frames. For those students who are identified to have near or distance visual acuity problems, CMIRC will provide lenses, frames, and fittings at no charge to the students’ families.

This program is being made possible by the very generous donation from the Rotary Club of Spokane#21; their gift to the children of Chiang Mai will cover all costs with the exception of the children’s frames. One thousand, high quality New Balance children’s frames have been donated by Eyewear Designs Limited of Bethpage, NY, USA.

We are very excited to get started and those with experience in past Rotary vision screening programs will be training new members very soon. From past experience, we estimate that at least 70 students will receive glasses this year, and we know that better vision will enable recipients to greatly improve their school achievement.

The BCMF B.K.Kee Patient House in July

Due to the border closings the number of patients at the Burma Children Medical Fund's B.K. Kee Patient House has remained low, fewer than ten. During July, the restriction on outside visitors continued, but we continued to deliver care packages and learn of events at the House.  Despite the smaller number of residents, including family members, there have been some wonderful events in July.

Patients, family members and staff are making good use of the small portable whiteboards that the club purchased, along with markers and erasers. As you can see, they allows residents to practice their writing, work on vocabulary and are a great way to share their work with the other patients and the person leading the activity.

The residents continue to have the opportunity to engage in leisure activities such as BINGO for prizes. (Wrapped prizes are a part of the care packages we deliver.)

The grounds work, including tending the garden, continues at the direction of employee Klao. He has been busy overseeing the landscaping projects and is making sure that the garden beds are being well tended. It continues to be an enjoyable activity for the patients and their families as well, allowing them to be physically active and engaged.

One of the major success stories has been that of a young girl who has been at the house for many months waiting for an operation to remove a rather large tumor above her nose and the area directly above it. You can see the before and after photos. She is one happy girl and has also enjoyed making good use of the workbooks that CMIRC has supplied for all of the younger patients.

The final event to report on is that employees Klao and Mi Aye had an opportunity this past holiday weekend to travel to Mae Sot and provide an overview of the B.K. Kee Patient House to 13 staff and 2 interns at the head office of Burma Children Medical Foundation (BCMF). The presentation included informing staff about the various activities, referral process as well as how staff address problems at the house and the complexities of transporting patients to and from the hospitals in Chiang Mai.

Just as I was writing this story, I learned that we can resume our regular visits to the B.K. Kee House, every other Sunday morning, starting on August 9.  We meet at the Shell Petrol Station on Huey Kaew Road at 11 am.  Interested?  contact Bill Pierce

Getting Ready to Welcome the Kids Back to the Pools

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

The big news this month is that we have a plan for the “new Covid-19 normal” and everyone on our team is on board! We had a great meeting on July 31 with Kru Payu, Kru Boy, and Kru Joy from Kru Payu Swim, Khun Pomme from Bronco Kids Sport Club, Khun Tomm from the Chiang Mai Municipal Schools, and P Clarence, PP John, CP Roger, Rtn Aree, and future Rtn Sai from CMIRC. We agreed to start the swim courses for 4th-graders again on August 18 with classes split between the two pools at Bronco Kids to allow social distancing. We will also increase the size of our teaching staff to six to create smaller groups. Classes will meet on MW or TTH for 5 weeks. Even with the late start, we will combine some of the smaller schools, so that we can complete all 11 schools during the 2563-2564 (2020-2021) Thai school year. We will teach over 300 4th-graders survival swimming and water safety again this year!

More good news here in Chiang Mai; we have learned that the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai-Wattana wants to partner with our team to sponsor a Children’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention Program at the Wat Suan Dok School. Our team is ready to assist.

Finally, we are in the process of planning our programs in Phrao, Phetchabun, and at the BanYa Migrant Learning Centre. We also are ready to explore a new program at the Child Development Center Migrant Learning Center in Mae Sot.

So, we have a busy year ahead with possibly as many as 800 children benefiting from our programs!

We are also supported by the Thai Thaim Foundation of Park Rapids, Minnesota, USA and Rotarian Bob Ashley and of course all the generous donors to the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club.

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!

New term, New school, New life, the beginning of a New Journey for All 
So begins  the days of a new adventure, certainly ones we are familiar with from our days of education with new buzz words,  and practices, such as: social distancing, face masks, washing of hands, sanitizer gel. Normally a new term means preparation of curriculum, study documents, handouts and visual aids, but, oh no, now the school has to plan for smaller classes together with on-line schooling, with the latter needing special skills It's a whole new world for teachers, students; a social learning curve for all.
This intake of students will not include students living in Myanmar as the international borders are closed, with the added burden of 14-day quarantine requirement to enter Thailand.
Students will comprise of those already living in the Thailand in areas such as Mae Sot (which is a district in western Thailand that shares a border with Myanmar to the west. It is notable as a trade hub). Some students will come from Chiang Mai itself. The most likely number of students for this intake will be 12 – 15; on-line studying will boost the numbers.
From the Beatles' song “Hello, Good-bye” their famous saying was  “you say goodbye and I say hello”, so we bid farewell to the students of 2019 -2020. The results in passing their GED exams filled those students with joy, while others are still completing the final exams.  Here are some of their stories:
Saw Zaw Win Htoo: (nick name Win Htoo ). GED total sore was 607 and has been accepted to study Social Science, Chiang Mai University (Awarded IIE Scholarship, and had Child's Dream Scholarship Interview [on 19 June 2020])
Susanee Maneephonchai (left): (nick name: Su). GED total score was 631 and has applied for Mae Fah Luang University. 
Naw Eh Thamoht Min (right) (nickname Moht Moht). GED total sore was 630. Has been accepted to Rangsit University. (Awarded IIE Scholarship and Zomia loan)
Myo Hlang Htway (nick name: TJ, left). GED total score was 621. Got accepted at Mae Fah Luang University. Still looking for financial support.
"My name is NAW MEE KO PHAW from Karen State, Myanmar (right). My parents are illiterate farmers who grow rice in Karen State to support our basic sustenance. I finished my General Educational Development at BEAM Education Foundation in 2019-20. Right now, I am doing my internship at Shade Tree Foundation (Non-Governmental Organization) which is located in Mae Sot, Tak, Thailand while waiting for a scholarship to further my education at an international university.
"Moreover, I sit at the office only two days a week. There are three programs that I patriciate at my workplace. They are Family Engagement (FEN), Family Education (FED), Family Enterprise(FEP). I follow FEP’s team every Tuesday to learn how the team helps them to manage their income and expense. Besides I go with FEN’s team every Wednesday and leave the office around nine to distribute the nutrition foods to families who are in poverty. We traveled around in Mae Sot area to offer the energetic food at each house. Our team does not only provide foodstuffs but also encourages or empowers as comforting them or making them feel that someone is handing a helping hand when they are in trouble. Moreover, I joined the FED team on Friday to give training about how to have an effective relationship between parents and children. Also, I translate English into my native language (Karen language). Overall, these are all my daily routine to gain more experience at the foundation."
Seventeen students finished all the GED exams so far and more students are on their way. The GED testing centre in Mae Sot will be closed in July and August so many of our students need to wait until the testing centre is open in September. Five students from last year's cohort are planning to go to university and three students are still looking for the financial opportunity to further their studies.
The photos of Su and TJ are so typical of them, their smiles were a ray of light in the class room.
The student chart below is a work in progress which will be complete in the coming days as the final results are recorded.

Cultivating a Peace Culture in Peace Culture in School

In many educational institutions, there is a need to cultivate a culture of peace, where people treat one another with respect, kindness and are ready to help one another rather than take advantage.

CMIRC is the local coordinator and key institutions involved are the Peace and Culture Foundation led by Rotary Peace Fellow Dr. Sombat Tapanya, the Rotary Club of Bangkok and Rotary Clubs in Taiwan.

The three year project will target Ban San Pakwan primary school in Hang Dong, Chiang Mai, with 180 ethnic Shan children, whose parents are migrants and where children have a high percentage of unruly behavior, lack discipline, and have little inclination to study.

Children will be taught how to respect others, teachers to respect the rights of students, and change their approach towards discipline, and parents will be taught that there are other ways to get children to obey than by shouting at them, hitting them or through corporal punishment. Year 1 will concentrate on eliminating violence in school, year 2 in cultivating peace culture, and year 3 in training future leaders

Aikido is a non-violent marital art and will be the main vehicle to give the children self confidence and inner discipline, so that finally they will pay attention to study. The program will follow full Rotary procedures for evaluation.

Photo (left), Dr Sombat of the Peace Culture Foundation, School Director, Past President John Schorr and Past President of RC Bangkok Santi Chatterjee.  Photo (right), Dr Sombat’s wife Khun Narumol and Rtn Aree Suksiri.

Youth Programs

Recent lockdowns have more or less brought youth programs to a halt with schools and universities postponing classes, resuming them in July, but without extra-circular activities. CMIRC members are working hard to begin to plan our upcoming youth programs in a number of areas.

Given our focus on children, a Child Protection and Welfare Committee (CPWC) has been established with Rtn Chili Humphrey (pictured above left) as Chair.

The role of the committee is still under discussion but the vital mission is to improve the quality of life and address safety issues where children are at risk.

Initial objectives include to:

  1. Respond to the existence of children at risk through the development of service projects and interface with appropriate organizations, for example the Mae Tao Clinic Child Protection Center and Child Development Center as they serve children and are the source of 50 percent of the GED students at BEAM Education Foundation.
  2. Extend existing and planned CMIRC projects where appropriate to approved organizations such as the Children's Water Safety and Drowning Prevention project.
  3. Establish an effective CMIRC contact database of relevant individuals, organizations and projects.
  4. Establish an online CPW library.

Rtn Chili has also taken on the role of Project Liason for the Rotaract Club of Payap University.

The Club has been involved in supporting a number of CMIRC projects. In June 2019, they hosted the visit of twenty-three students from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Rotaract Club (right). Activities involved helping to paint several patient rooms and the kitchen of the B.K. Kee patient house and visits to Care for Dogs and the Warm Heart Foundation.

The Chiang Mai International School (CMIS) Interact Club was very active last year and is looking forward to setting up again with new Advisor Past President John Schorr. Below, some Interact members are helping with our project to deliver warm clothes and schools supplies to poor rural schools in Chiang Mai Province.

The Unity Concord International School (UCIS) has had a very active Interact Club and President Clarence Shettlesworth will be acting as Advisor in the interim. In one project, Interactors headed to Mae Suai, Chiang Rai province, on their first ever community service trip to bring donations and to visit the children at their partner charity, Baan Pak Dek Phraporn Orphanage. In addition to the donations of food, clothes, toys, etc., the school also raised approximately 32,000 baht as a donation.

Rotary International believes in developing the next generation of leaders. Our programs help younger leaders build leadership skills, expand education, and learn the value of service. CMIRC looks forward to participating in these programs.

Change for Children Owls to Take Flight Again
Remember the "Change for Children" owl banks?  Sadly, they were grounded during the Covid-19 lockdown.  
A little history.  Our inspiration for the owl banks came from PDG Surasak. During his year as District Governor (2015-2016), he gave each Rotarian in the district a ceramic owl bank (left), with the Rotary emblem for the year "Be a Gift to the World" when he visited he clubs. He asked us to fill our banks with spare change and donate to Polio Plus. The cute owls are made at the Indra Ceramics factory in Lampang, owned by PDG Anurak.
After that year, CP Roger and I were inspired to create a CMIRC initiative, "Change for Children", using the same basic owl bank of PDG Surasak, but with our Club logo and the now-familiar slogan "Change for Children" and our club's website (right). The idea is that an owl can be "adopted" for 200 baht and when full of spare change, returned to a CMIRC member where it will be exchanged for a re-conditioned owl bank.  We discovered early that it took a special talent to purge the full owls, thus the offer to trade in the owls, rather than asking purging of the adopted parents. Roger has the special talent for purging owls, with the able assistance of our cats. Don't try this at home. Often the rubber plugs fail during the process and PDG Anurak has been kindly kept Roger supplied with replacement plugs at no cost.
A stuffed owl holds about 900-1000 baht if the parent is feeding a diet of satangs and one baht coins. More generous parents can create owls holding up to 3000 baht. In normal times, two or three owls a month return home, but the past five months haven't been "normal" and none have returned.  Most of the owl parents are members of the Chiang Mai Expats Club and that group hasn't been meeting, so their owls haven't been returned.  Our "Change for Children" fund is very, very low. Some of the owls may be alone in unoccupied homes and condos in Chiang Mai as their parents are trapped outside the country, unable to return.
The "Change for Children" funds are used for unbudgeted and unanticipated needs that involve children, sometimes appeals that come from other Rotary clubs or shortfalls in our quarterly raffle income. For example, we've forwarded donations to the Rotary Club of Mae Chan to help with an orphanage project and the relocation of an Akha school.  Each year, we support a student at Warm Heart Foundation -- a commitment of 25,000 baht for the year, with the proceeds from a quarter's raffle income. But, we usually fall short, so the difference comes from the Change for Children fund.  Our most recent donation from the fund was to Jo Jo's Sanctuary, again to make up for a shortfall in previous quarter's raffle income for a commitment to fund a portion of their "Building Family Dreams" program. 
It's nice to have an emergency fund that we can tap immediately as when one of the schools where we deliver winter clothing called because their roof had been damaged in a storm. While the Thai government replaced the roof, it wasn't able to replace their damaged school supplies. The owls came to the rescue. Right now the "Change for Children" fund is very small and we have a fleet of owls waiting to be adopted. Do you have a place for one in your home?
The Road Ahead for RAGAS
As I reported in my first Thailand Rotary Action Group Against Slavery (RAGAS) article, the fight against human trafficking and modern slavery is basically grouped in three categories: prosecution, protection; and, prevention. Worldwide, RAGAS is involved in all aspects of the war against the human disgrace that is modern slavery/human trafficking. Here in Thailand, the RAGAS team has chosen to focus on prevention, especially with children.
July was a month of 90% preparation and 10% presentation as we prepare to create projects that will teach children, their teachers, and their parents about human trafficking and what they can do to protect themselves.
RAGAS presentations are designed to get Rotary Clubs and other organizations involved. On July 27th I had the distinct pleasure to speak to the Rotary Club of Mae Chan. Representatives of other Northern Clubs were present, including the Rotary Club of Mae Sai. There was great participation and challenging questions. I look forward to working with these wonderful Rotarians as we develop projects in the North.  
We will make a similar presentation at CMIRC on Tuesday 18 August. We are looking forward to the opportunity and are confident there will be interest.
Projects on the horizon include:
  • We will present to a small Christian Church on Sunday 16 August. We are confident that this will lead to training of their children and hopeful that the effort will spread to other Christian communities.
  • The Thammarat School Wat Phrasing in Chiang Mai, where we will integrate awareness training into their 7th and 8th grade (Mattayom 1 & 2) English classes.  Native English speakers in Chiang Mai are needed for this project.
  • We are planning an awareness/fundraising event in Chiang Mai. Details and exact dates may be available soon.  
  • We are planning an awareness /fundraising event in Chiang Rai. Exact dates and details may be available soon.
  • Freedom Ride! We are organizing a bicycle ride to raise awareness of the fight against human trafficking. The time frame is May of 2021. Hopefully we will ride across Thailand North to South and East to West!
Specific Help Wanted (Contact me if you are interested):
  1. We will need vetted Native English speakers in Chiang Mai to help with the project at Thammarat School, Wat Phrasing.
  2. Rotarians and Rotary Clubs will be given an opportunity to participate in all of the events we are creating. Without your help, we cannot help the endangered children.  
  3. We are meeting with Rotary Clubs in preparation of choosing partners for larger projects, including Global Grants. 
Knowledge is our best weapon against slavery.  To that end I offer you three links, none of which are “puff pieces”; all of which are very educational:   
End Human Trafficking Now  Play the extremely powerful video.  Discusses what Rotary can do and will do!!
Preventing Human Trafficking in Rotary District 5180   This excellent video explains a Rotary Global Grant that we can use as a model here in Thailand and throughout the region.
In case you missed it, last month I recommended learning from Matt Friedman of the Hong Kong-based Mekong Club. He has made very powerful speeches that are available on Youtube. He also has a new book called “Be The Hero: Be The Change” which is available on Kindle. I highly recommend them all!
Feedback on this article will be appreciated. Who is interested in ending human trafficking/modern slavery?  What can you do to help? How can we help you? I cannot defeat slavery. That is a fact. However, together we can! 
Editor's note:  Jerry Nelson is the RAGAS Coordinator for Thailand, Charter Member of the Rotary Club of Ending Trafficking and an Honorary Member of Chiang Mai International Rotary Club. Contact him at
To & From Mae Tao Clinic with Love!
The Mae Tao Clinic is doing well despite serious challenges from loss of donors and the on-going COVID -19 situation. I, myself, have not been on the campus since the March trip where we were the last visitors allowed before the shutdown, but I stay in frequent contact by phone and email. Things are NOT back to normal, but we continue to work and to plan.
Next Awareness Tour:   We have scheduled our next awareness tour for 17 – 18 September. We must let you know that we will only be able to take three (3) people, a restriction necessitated by COVID – 19.  First ones to confirm with me will be allowed to go on the tour.  The preliminary agenda is:
16 September
Travel to Mae Sot
Dinner together 
Location to be decided by group.
17 September
Tour Mae Tao Clinic
Time to be decided by MTC Staff
Dinner – Several possibilities  
To be decided by tour group
18 September
Tour Supporting Organizations
Organizations TBA
   6:30 p.m.
Dinner together – Recommend Passport
To be decided by tour group
19 September
Depart Mae Sot for home base.
Some things to know:  Although travel from outside of Thailand is prohibited and tour size is restricted we will have an exciting tour with lots to learn, do and see.  Concept is:
  1. This tour size is restricted to 4 people.
  2. Transportation to and from Mae Sot will be the responsibility of the individuals going on tour.
  3. Lodging will be arranged at a reduced rate at the Centara or PP Residence.
  4. Each person going on tour will be asked to sign an agreement regarding conduct and dress code.
  5. Cost: Each tour member will be responsible for his/her own expenses and will be asked to donate a minimum of 1,000 THB the MTC. Unless they specify differently, the money will be earmarked for the Child Protection Department/Child Development Center.
  6. Only 4 seats available sign up today!
Going Forward: We anticipate the next tour will be in November or December 2020. We anticipate future tours will happen three to six times a year.
Rotarian Dr. Cassim Akhoon!    
The last three tours of the Mae Tao Clinic campus were led by Dr. Cassim Akhoon. He brought the mission to life, inspired everyone who had a chance to accompany him through the campus, and is a most excellent diplomat. His wisdom and kindness are missed at Mae Tao Clinic. That said a quick story which I hope you enjoy. 
Dr Cassim absolutely loved taking the tour groups in hand and gave us in-depth knowledge of the clinic’s operations. Two things I remember best: 1) He was enormously proud of the Clinic’s decision to provide temporary housing for family members.  We all realize that the families travel hundreds of kilometers to seek treatment and that they have little or no money.  And,  2)  Dr Cassim told me that he was impressed with Rotary and the Rotarians who support the clinic. So much so that he would like to join Rotary when he returned home to England. Rotarian Dr. Cassim is now a member of the Rotary Club Ending Human Trafficking and I have the distinct honor of being his Rotary Sponsor!
Mae Tao Clinic – Potential Opportunities to Help
When entering the Mae Tao Clinic website, the first thing I notice are the words “Without Your Help, We Can’t Help”.  So how can you help?   
  • COVID-19 causes us all a lot of inconvenience: Tours may be postponed, volunteers may not be able to enter Thailand, money is scarcer than ever before!  Still we continue our mission to help the migrants, especially the children!  We need your help!
  • Magic happens on the MTC Tours.  Come along and be a part of it!  See it for yourself and perhaps you will the magic as you pick a way to help! If you cannot make the 17-18 September tour, contact me.   We have been known to set tour dates to accommodate groups.
  • Mae Tao Clinic is looking for volunteers. Know someone who would enjoy the adventure of his/her life?   Refer them to Mae Tao Clinic.
  • There are ongoing conversations about a project to prevent children from being victims of human trafficking.  This will be part of the discussion for the September tour.  Please contact me for further information.
  • There are ongoing conversations about setting up a scholarship fund for children who are graduates of the Mae Tao Clinic Child Development Center.  Please contact me.
  • Donations are always welcome and can be tax-deductible.
Editor's note:  Jerry Nelson is the RAGAS Coordinator for Thailand, Charter Member of the Rotary Club of Ending Trafficking and an Honorary Member of Chiang Mai International Rotary Club.  Contact him at
August 2020 Membership and New Club Development Month

In the USA we see an ageing population (also in Thailand), declining membership in all service club organizations and younger generations with different priorities in life from this source:

“It’s hard for a millennial to join that group and feel like he or she is contributing and getting something back,” Johnsen said. “There’s such an age gap.”

Johnsen said he’s more interested in building community than rubbing elbows, and said it’s critical to give new members specific tasks that make them feel that they belong and are needed.

Service club leaders have taken notice. Beasley said Rotary clubs must demonstrate they’re doing more than having lunch. They must highlight their many community projects. “I think sometimes you have to get somebody involved in something,” he said.

Views from your Charter President related to our club:

What has our club done to work on being more appealing for membership? Our club from the beginning has made meals an option regarding meeting attendance to minimize cost of membership. Immediately after RI removed the requirement for weekly meetings our club went to two meetings per month and requires attending one meeting per month for attendance. Last Friday of the month optional lunch meeting are held for social interaction between members. Fifth Friday of the month social gatherings are held for club members and anyone interested in attending to talk with club members or learning about Rotary – free pizza. We have initiated 9at9 monthly ZOOM meeting to be inclusive of members out of Chiang Mai and others who might be interested in the club’s activities.

On the topic of “Service above Self”. Service was a key principle in the founding of this club. The club offers a unique opportunity to become actively involved in improving our community. Yes, we want to have fun doing this. There is an abundance of social activities in the Chiang Mai area. Just review Steve Yarnold’s weekly What’s Happening in Chiang Mai email. You will find numerous opportunities to show up, pay, eat, drink, be entertained and go home activities. There is no problem with this. But, how do you find ways for getting involved in and helping improve our local community and to network with like-minded people? Duhhhh – Rotary!

As I am fond of saying: “We can do anything. We can not do everything”. We are a small club in a region offering immense challenges of need. As a small club, we have members filling multiple roles both participating in multiple service projects and filling multiple administrative roles at the same time. At times, we have to ask former Rotarians and friends to help because we lack membership to fully engage and support our projects.

So, if more members will enable our club to do better and do more how do we get more members? Present members can talk about the club with others. How about wearing something identifying you as a Rotarian (shirt, pin, hat, tattoo (just joking)) at places other than a meeting? If you have a business or health appointment with someone, give them one of your CMIRC business cards? Maybe a Rotary decal on your motorcycle (like Charter member Colin), car window or bumper? Maybe something about Rotary or the club on your personal social media postings? Maybe you have an idea that you can share with our new Membership Chair Viki Thomason?

The Seventh Area of Focus

The Rotary Foundation Trustees and Rotary International Board of Directors have both unanimously approved adding a new area of focus: Supporting the Environment.

More than $18 million in Foundation global grant funding has been allocated to environment-related projects over the past five years. Creating a distinct area of focus to support the environment will give Rotary members even more ways to bring about positive change in the world and increase our impact.

RI President Mark Maloney says that during his travels around the world as a Rotary senior leader he encountered many Rotary members and Rotaractors who advocated for the environment to be an area of focus.

“I believe strongly that our Rotary Foundation programs now have a valuable added dimension to our efforts,” says, Maloney.

Foundation Trustee Chair Gary C.K. Huang says that with the global population reaching near eight billion, protecting the environment is increasingly important.

“It is time for us to use our collective resources to invest in a smart and efficient way to protecting our environment,” says Huang. “We are qualified to take this initiative because we are a global group of problem solvers with diversified talents.”

In 1990-91, RI President Paulo V.C. Costa made the environment one of his primary causes, creating the Preserve Planet Earth subcommittee, which looked at ways clubs and members could conduct environmental initiatives.

“We have finally caught up to Costa [his vision],” says Past RI President Ian H.S. Riseley, chair of the Environmental Issues task force, which championed the new area of focus.

“As a lifelong environmentalist, I’m delighted that our great organization has recognized that the environment is a worthy and appropriate destination for our project activity,” says Riseley. “This is an exciting moment in Rotary history.”

Supporting the environment becomes Rotary's seventh area of focus, which are categories of service activities supported by global grants. It joins peacebuilding and conflict prevention; disease prevention and treatment; water, sanitation, and hygiene; maternal and child health; basic education and literacy; and community economic development.

Grant applications for projects will be accepted beginning on 1 July 2021. Gifts and commitments from Rotarians and others will be sought to provide global grant support for the new area of focus.

Community Needs Assessment

From Rotary International:

“Assessing your community’s strengths, weaknesses, needs, and assets is an essential first step in planning an effective project. By taking the time to learn about your community, you can discover the best opportunities for service and maximize your club’s ability to make an impact.”

“While conducting an assessment, also be sure to manage expectations. Communities should understand the benefits of partnering with Rotary and how that partnership requires their involvement, contribution, and ownership.”

Types of assessments

You can combine or adapt the following six assessments to best suit your club’s resources and the preferences of community members:

  • Community meeting
  • Asset inventory
  • Survey
  • Interview
  • Focus group
  • Community mapping

Your Foundations Chair's thoughts related to Community Needs Assessment and Global Grants:

Identify a community. Communicate to District 3360 Foundation Committee the plan to launch an assessment. Communicate with the community the possible advantages of partnering with Rotary. Conduct a community needs assessment. Identify and prioritize needs identified by the community assessment. Do identified needs align with children’s safety, health and education? Do the identified needs align under one or more of the now seven areas of focus as defined by The Rotary Foundation (TRF)? Can a project be defined based on community needs? If the project is less than 30,000 USD can the club support it? If the project is 30,000 USD or greater and aligns under club and TRF emphasis areas can the club support and find partners to support the request for a Global Grant?

What You May Have Missed in July

The regular every other Sunday morning visits by club members to the patients and their families at Burma Children Medical Fund's B.K. Kee Patient House here in Chiang Mai have been put on hold due to Covid-19. Rotarians Bill and Nick dropped by their gate every other Sunday with basic essential supplies.  In-person visits by club members will resume on Sunday, August 9.

The weekly Monday, Tuesday and Friday English Language Cultural Club sessions at the BEAM Educational Foundation have halted due to the end of the academic year at BEAM and concerns about Covid-19. BEAM is tentatively scheduled to resume sessions in early September.

On the first and third Fridays of the month, club members normally attend the Chiang Mai Expats Club breakfasts and their monthly meeting on the 4th Saturday of the month to promote CMIRC and swap "Change for Children" owl banks. CEC has suspended their general meetings because of Covid-19 until August, but restarted their breakfast on July 17.

Tuesday, July 7  at 7 PM we resumed our in-person club meetings at the Royal Peninsula Hotel practicing proper social distancing and hygiene. The program was presented by our new President RY 2020-2021, Clarence Shettlesworth, with a review of the CMIRC Strategic Plan. During the meeting, Baby Areeya received a plaque and medal in recognition of being an inspiration to our club.

Thursday, July 9 our 9at9 ZOOM meeting at 9 PM to stay in contact with club members who are presently isolated in their overseas, unable to return to Thailand.

Sunday, July 12 the much smaller than usual Chiang Mai area installation of club officers at the Empress Hotel. This year, due to Covid -19,  it was limited to each club’s outgoing and incoming president.

Tuesday, July 21 the Membership Committee Pre-Induction Meeting (PIM) at the Royal Peninsula Hotel with perspective member Siamrad (Sai) Maher.

Tuesday, July 21 at 7 PM our CMIRC regular club meeting at the Royal Peninsula Hotel  where our guest speaker was Dr. Kanchana Koonrangsrisomboon of the Rajanagarindra Institute of Child Development (RICD)

Thursday, July 23 and Friday, July 24 CMIRC members visited to Kuong Jor Nursery School with snacks, fun bags and cash donation from the Road to a Better Life Foundation to fund their school lunch program for 5-6 months. Also, they visited the Lak Thaeng School of the Kuong Jor refugee camp to deliver school supplies.

Tuesday, July 28 at 1:00 PM, we had our monthly Board Meeting at the Royal Peninsula Hotel.

Friday, July 31 was the CMIRC last Friday in the month “Let’s Talk Rotary” lunch. This time the lunch was at the The Kitchen 7 by Super Joe restaurant,  one of our partners in the Food for the Needy project during the Covid-19 economic crisis in Chiang Mai.

Friday, July 31 the Children’s Water Safety and Drowning Prevention (CWS&DP) project team had a planning meeting at the Bronco Kids Sport Club.

Save the Dates: August & 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 will resume on August 9.  Interested? Contact Rotarian Bill Pierce.

4 August 2020 CMIRC Regular Club meeting, 7 pm. Regular club meeting at Royal Peninsula Hotel.  Joey Tell of Rajanagarindra Institute of Child Development (RICD) will speak about their wheelchair project.  Gather at 5:45 pm for an optional dinner. 

9 August 2020 CMIRC "9 at 9" 9 pm Thai time.  A Zoom social meeting for everyone in and out of Thailand.  Contact President Clarence.

18 August 2020 CMIRC Regular Club meeting, 7 pm.  Regular club meeting at Royal Peninsula Hotel.  Program: PP Jerry Nelson on Anti-Human Trafficking.  See his RAGAS story, above.  Gather at 5:45 pm for an optional dinner. 
25 August 2020 CMIRC Board Meeting at Royal Peninsula Hotel, 1:00 - 3:00 pm  Contact P. Clarence
1 September 2020 CMIRC Regular Club meeting, 7 pm. Regular club meeting at Royal Peninsula Hotel.  Program: CMIRC Rotarian Niwatchai on The Avocado Garden Project: Sustainable Agriculture in Mae Hong Song.  Gather at 5:45 pm for an optional dinner. 
12 – 16 June 2021 - Rotary International Convention, Taipei, Taiwan.
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.
Pern's Restaurant, has re-branded (still called Pern's, at the same location) and is now selling a great selection of takeaway and delivery burgers, hot dogs, chili, Philly cheesesteaks, Aussie steaks, pasta and, of course, the Wednesday and Sunday specials and half price wine!  Open Tuesday - Sunday, 11 am - 8 pm. Details here:  Tel: 0861117766

Fashion King is the best tailor in Chiang Mai. They have been in business for over 12 years and receive the highest ratings from Trip Advisor and others.  Soon they will move to a new location on Sridonchai Road. They feature authentic craftsmanship, superior materials and a great value! Their success is measured in customer satisfaction. The owners, Frank and Vanita will personally guide you through the entire process: design, material selection, fitting and delivery. CMIRC members -- this is the place to order a custom-made CMIRC dress-shirt or have a CMIRC emblem embroidered on your casual polo shirt. Frank and Vanita are the sponsors of the famous Chiang Mai fundraising event called “Bollywood Night”. They do a lot to give back to their community, helping the underprivileged in and around Chiang Mai.
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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