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Help pours in for damaged schools

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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KAMALA: Financial assistance has been pouring in from Thailand and around the world to help rebuild Phuket schools damaged by the December 26 tsunami.

The Education Ministry has already issued 800,000 baht in emergency funding to rebuild four schools damaged by the December 26 tsunami, said Damrong Boonchoti, Director of the Phuket Educational Area Office.

Most of the funding will go toward setting up temporary classrooms and other facilities at the two schools worst hit – Baan Kamala School and Baan Kalim School. Two other schools received only minor damage.

“I expect the Ministry to come through with more funding to help build permanent structures at a later date,” said K. Damrong.

“The plight of the primary schools has also drawn concern from the Bureau of the Royal Household, with HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn asking officials to visit damaged schools in both Phuket and Phang Nga,” he added.

Since putting out a plea for assistance, the Phuket Educational Area Fund alone has already received some 300,000 baht in private donations to aid in reconstruction.

(For information on how to donate, click here.)

“Baan Kamala School students are now studying at Kamala Bay Garden Resort, and will continue to do so until they can return to their own school. The resort is even providing them with food and drinks,” he said.

“As for Baan Kalim School, temporary buildings have already been set up to serve as classrooms, and the Chinese Taipei Association has notified us of its intention to donate five million baht,” he said, adding that some of the funding would go toward buying textbooks and providing accommodation and grants for victims of the tsunami.

On Children’s Day, January 7, Phuket Fantasea held a special activities day for students of Baan Kamala School and Baan Bangtao School.

The Gazette asked the students what they most wanted following the disaster, which many of them witnessed.

Prawit “Bird” Proksakul, an 11-year-old student at Baan Bangtao School, told the Gazette that after the waves hit, he found his efforts to place calls on public telephones fruitless.

“I want to have my own mobile phone so I can call all my friends more easily,” he said.

Supawadee Uttiya, 12, from Baan Kamala School, said that the only thing she wants is a new doll. She said she and her friends were already enjoying the coloring books and colored pencils than had been donated to the school.

Sutthima “Sofia” Kua-noon, 11, also of Baan Kamala School, told the Gazette that she wants her school, and everything else in the area, to go back to the way it was before the waves hit.

“My school was beautiful. There was a green football field, and sometimes my friends and I used to play chairball on the field,” she said.

Nattakarn “Marita” Somsa 11, from Baan Kamala School said that she wants her teacher back.

“One of my teachers, who taught science, died in the tsunami. She was a kind person,” she said sadly.

 

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