In 1992, the social welfare Raintree Foundation (formerly known as Thai Care) was founded in North Thailand. Our first projects were building and funding day care centers in remote villages for underprivileged children. Today, we still are very much grass root oriented and operate as a team, now being a fully registered NGO, empowering rural communities in northern Thailand by helping them to improve their lives.
Taking care of underprivileged children and educating children has become our main goal. Over the years, the foundation has grown and grown. Today, it provides education and support to over 320 children, counting five children homes, two schools, and two foster children projects. We support children which haven’t access to a schools at all, coming from faraway places without transportation to schools or simply lack of basic funding for school materials, food, clothes etc..
In recent years, the Raintree Foundation has identified water as the biggest need. In rural areas, drinking water is often contaminated with parasites, bacteria, and viruses. These invisible pathogens can lead to myriad water-borne maladies that frequently result in the death of infected young children. Compounding the lack of available fresh water and the inaccessibility of electricity and the high cost of installing gasoline-powered generators that can support common clean-water solutions. With the technical background of our talented team members with mechanical knowledge, the Raintree Foundation has found a unique solution in setting up hydraulic ram water pumps and bio sand filters, two modern inventions based on centuries-old technology. The Canadian NGO CAWST (Centre for Affordable Water and Sanitation Technology), provided the know-how transfer to build the Bio Sand Filters and we have been able to install over 1,900 filters in northern Thailand to date. The water ram pumps serve over 30 villages and children homes, powered by water only, without needing gasoline or electricity.
While clean water solutions make up a major part of the Raintree Foundation’s mission, it’s not the sole purpose for being. Recognizing the importance of preserving each community’s culture, as well as the value of self-empowerment, the group has kick-started various development initiatives as well as eco-friendly and sustainable forms of agriculture through progressive and economic farming systems. One of the most profound projects is the reforestation of overused farmland. Working in tandem with local farmers, they have repopulated old soil depleted fields with fruit, herb, coffee, and macadamia trees, all of which provide new ways to generate food and sustainable income for local farmers.
‘To help people to helping themselves’ is our goal. “The foundation doesn’t own property. All the projects belong to the communities. We work closely in partnership with the villages. Only start a project that interests them. We don’t give away things for free, though. The villagers need to participate and contribute their part by providing labor (once construction is planned) or by supporting us with rice or vegetables if they don’t have any money. We aim to help disadvantaged people lift themselves out of poverty.”
Adding to the cause is the work of former volunteer Anne, who registered a partner club in Germany (www.thaicare.de) to make new international contacts and raise funds from abroad. While continuing to supply clean water, healthy food, and school supplies, the team has recently begun construction on a student home which will provide school graduates with an opportunity to attend vocational training, colleges and universities.
The Raintree Foundation is always looking for contributions, whether volunteers or donations. To learn more about its mission and how to contribute to the foundation, visit