BANYAN TREE GLOBAL FOUNDATION DRIVES EDUCATIONAL INITIATIVES IN THAILAND
Category: Corporate Social Responsibility
Singapore, September 2012 – As part of its overarching corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts, Banyan Tree Global Foundation (BTGF) continues to drive educational initiatives in Thailand, achieving the dual purpose of assisting the local community and creating unique guest experiences through their participation. Each of Banyan Tree’s Thai properties in Bangkok, Koh Samui and Laguna Phuket now offer educational support tailored to the specific requirements of local schools.
Banyan Tree Bangkok – Providing Vocational Training in Buriram
For the past few years, Banyan Tree Bangkok has provided vocational training to children in a UNICEF programme that equips them with basic chef skills to incentivise their ability to secure future employment. This has now expanded into a partnership with the Mechai Pattana School in Buriram, a school located in one of the poorest provinces in Thailand. The partnership provides a range of hospitality skills and awareness to children ages 13 to 18 in three sessions per year. The five year hospitality training syllabus complements the existing syllabus of the Mechai Pattana School, creating well rounded, young individuals who possess vocational skills in addition to academic excellence. To enable this initiative, BTGF is contributing a five year training programme that includes the purchase of all necessary hospitality equipment as well as sourcing personnel to provide mentorship and coaching for students.
Banyan Tree Samui – Providing Safe Educational Facilities
In 2010, the south of Thailand was hit by particularly bad floods, severely affecting the infrastructure of many rural areas. It has been speculated that future climatic change may increase the frequency and severity of flooding in this part of the world, further pressuring ‘at risk’ areas.
BTGF and Banyan Tree Samui’s associates found a particularly damaged school in Surat Thani province where a percentage of students live as boarders and the flooding risk is high. Beginning in 2011 and recently completed in 2012, the group installed protective measures to channel flood waters around the buildings and ensure future damage would not occur. In addition, they enhanced overall hygiene standards, providing adequate toilet and sink facilities with complete privacy to ensure student safety.
Laguna Phuket - Developing Sustainable Schools Programme
Laguna Phuket is an integrated resort complex under the Banyan Tree Group consisting of seven hotels and resorts, including Banyan Tree Phuket and Angsana Laguna Phuket. Throughout its 25 year history, Laguna Phuket has supported local schools and individual scholarships to the local community. In 2008, this initiative evolved to create a more substantial impact by creating two year partnerships with rural schools to fix their infrastructure and improve their sustainability. Two such partnerships with schools in the Phang Nga Bay region near Phuket have recently been confirmed. Baan Klong Sai and Baan Jao Krua schools will be the recipient of over THB 2 million which was raised to reconstruct roofs badly in need of repair, and also to launch sustainable lunch programmes to ensure no children would go hungry.
Following these projects, Laguna Phuket developed the Survival Swim Programme with funds raised from their triathlon athletes to teach water safety and emergency swimming techniques to local children. Over five hundred children have been taught so far and another 2,000 will receive instruction later this year.
The resort’s next aim is to create a Mobile Learning centre which will launch in June 2013, bringing books and reading skills to children in rural communities to redress the literacy discord existing between urban and rural students. The library will be run in partnership with local teacher training facilities.