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Bikers And Hikers Unite To Help Children In Need

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Bikers and Hikers Unite to Help Children in Need

By: Joachim Erkes and David Early

Ban Mai Samakki, a Kachin/Akha community about five kilometers from the Burmese border, desperately needed a pre-school. The Chiang Mai ToyRide joined resources with the Chiang Mai Hiking Group to make it happen. Originally conceived by an NGO volunteer and Chiang Mai Hiking Group member, the group collected donations to fund teachers’ salaries and the reconstruction of an old nursery school building. Little children have an insatiable curiosity and a natural desire to learn more about the world around them, but not every parent can provide the stimulus and encouragement a child needs, especially when they have been displaced from another country, and are struggling to earn a living. The goal is for this pre-school to be sustained and managed by the villagers after the first year.

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Ban mai kids ride their new wooden motorcycle and goose.

As part of their new “Playgrounds Plus” program which supports poor schools in the area, the Chiang Mai ToyRide agreed to provide tables and chairs for the children, a teachers’ desk set, education books, toys and poster, paint for their toilet block and playground equipment, as well as arrangements for their teacher to receive further training from teachers at the site of their previous event at Santor School.

On 12 December 2009, hikers and bikers met at Ban Mai, north of Chiang Dao near Arunothai, for a festive donation event at the newly opened preschool. About 20 motorcycles and a handful of cars and trucks arrived to cheers and applause from the hikers, children and villagers. The hikers and the people of the village did a splendid job of getting the building in order with the last minute help from a group of Australian teenage girls, who were in the area doing other volunteer work and dove in with shovels and paintbrushes.

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Moms and kids alike were overjoyed and grateful to bikers and hikers.

After a few warm words from the village headman, the project originator and a Chiang Mai ToyRider, a hundred children got snack box lunches, stuffed toys and ToyRide rainproof school backpacks. Cameras clicked while the kids played on the newly painted equipment and reveled in the antics and balloons of two brilliant clowns, a Thai couple from Chiang Mai, brought by the Chiang Mai ToyRide. Then the villagers invited all visitors, more than 60 bikers, hikers and donators, for a great Kachin-style lunch. Everyone — villagers, children, bikers, hikers and donators — enjoyed this memorable event to help the sweet children in Ban Mai.

Mark your calendar for Sunday, 21 February 2010 for the annual Chiang Mai ToyRide charity motorcycle ride/parade starting from Tesco Lotus Khamtien parking lot at 9:45 am to the party at X-Centre near Mae Rim at noon. Bikes of all sizes, riders of all ages and all other folks in the known universe are invited to the party with live music, clowns, magicians, monkey show, games, drinks and food plus the famous toy giveaway. Admission? One toy, to be given to a child in need.

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Chiang Mai ToyRiders and happy teachers with their new furniture.

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No more cuts and scrapes on the newly painted playground equipment!.

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Big bikes were a big hit with the whole village.

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Backpacks, lunch boxes and toys for Ban Mai Samakki.

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Jokerman may have been the first clown ever to hit Ban Mai.

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-- Chiang Mai Mail 2009/12/29

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Hi,

I was one of the farang bikers along that day.My Thai wife and i had a great time. Thanks for inviting us Robert...It was alot of fun handing out the gifts and seeing the children have such joy getting them.

Now they have a proper school to enjoy and learn in....my praise be to the two organizations that made this happen...

Oh at the last we were really entertained by 4 of the children giving a "break dance show" ..they did agood job!!

Question..how do i get the pics to open..tried right click and thenopen pic but no luck

We will be there for the toy run on Febr.21st

Dan & Ae

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