Thailand is not a country where one may assume the weather ever gets too cold, with most foreign visitors knowing it as a place for seaside holidays and a humid climate. However, in the north of the country in Chiang Rai, the temperature falls to a yearly low of just 35°F.
For underprivileged children living in some of the small communities in this province, winter is usually a bleak time, with some of the most unfortunate succumbing to sickness due to inappropriate clothing for the cold.
Enter a group of Singaporean volunteers who have gone above and beyond to help the poor children of Khek Noi village. Local media in Singapore has reported that a charity group has spent the past few months busily knitting and sewing a collection of over 2,500 scarves, socks and headgear to keep the Thai children warm during the upcoming cold season.
“They almost never get brand new things,” said Mr Eugene Wee, the director of the organization involved with the donated clothes project. The children in the village, estimated to number over 3,000, are among the poorest throughout Thailand. “We enjoy knitting so much and made so many items but what do we do with all these clothing that aren’t suitable for our tropical climate?” said one of the volunteers involved in the project.
The knitted clothes follow a long history of Singaporeans working together to help less fortunate people in the region. Last year, a container full of winter supplies was donated by Singaporean charities to communities in northern Thailand. The volunteers in Singapore range from the elderly, all the way down to children themselves, with the youngest just 9 years of age.
Social media users across Singapore took to Facebook to praise the actions of the charity groups, labelling them as inspirational. “No words can describe our feeling now,” wrote one Singaporean woman, while another added: “[It’s a] good gesture with [a] big heart.”
The news may come as extra comfort to the people of Thailand, as the nation continues to mourn the recent passing of much-loved King Bhumibol Adulyadej. His death on October 13 threw the country into a mourning period that will last for one year, and such was the outpouring of public grief that the government set up a telephone hotline to help people cope.
“This generosity from our friends in Singapore has put a smile on some of the villager’s faces for the first time in weeks,” said one a Thai official from Chiang Rai province. “The fact that people in another country are willing to work hard, donating their time and effort, to benefit strangers, is truly heartwarming. The world would be a better place if more people would also take it upon themselves to treat others so kindly.”