Time to Rejoice
A couple of months ago, Ian Bushell, a committee member for the British Community in Thailand Foundation for the Needy (BCTFN) asked Rejoice if we had any suitable article we could put forward for possible publication in the British Chamber of Commerce Thailand (BCCT) magazine “The Link”. As luck would have it Dr. Martin Huddart, a trustee of Rejoice Foundation UK, had just written a brief report covering his recent annual visit to Chiang Mai which was accepted for publication in "The Link" (page 56).
BCTFN is a major contributor to Rejoice and has been for over a decade. Below is a brief history of BCTFN and the Ploenchit Fair again taken from the same edition of “The Link” (pages 54-55).
History of BCTFN and the Ploenchit Fair
The British Community Foundation for the Needy has been assisting the underprivileged in Thailand since 1941. Originally called The United Kingdom Committee for Thai Charities (1956) it was accorded Foundation status by the Thai Government in 1998 and became known by what it is today BCTFN.
Contributions to the Thai needy, through many charities, initially by members of the British Community and more recently by the international community, reach back over 65 years and now amount to many millions of baht. More than THB 90 million has been raised since year 2000.
Fund raising activities began in the early 1940’s at the British Club when monthly activities including morning markets selling homemade cakes and other items, run by the British ladies, together with the production of several plays, were organised.
The British efforts were combined with the YWCA in 1951 when they held their first International Bazaar, but, in 1957 the British Community, led by the wife of the then Ambassador, realised the potential for an annual charity fair and the need for a dedicated committee. The Ploenchit Fair was born.
The Fair is the main source of revenue for BCTFN, whose members administer the money raised at monthly committee meetings. Committee members are entirely voluntary and with the experience they have gained over the years, they advise and assist the recipient charities where necessary and monitor the work they are and have been doing over the decades on an ongoing permanent basis.
In recent years priority has been given to self-help projects that benefit and enable a community to become self-sustaining and in the provision of basic necessities, equipment to improve healthcare, nutrition, education and agricultural projects and the disabled throughout Thailand.
BCTFN finances have been organised by the Standard Charted Bank and placed on deposit until disbursement is needed for approved projects. All payments are by cheque against estimates or invoices for all works undertaken. Annual accounts are audited and sent for inspection to the Revenue Department before publishing.
The first Ploenchit Fair as we now know it was held in 1956 and raised 78,000 Baht for Thai charities. It was, and still is, unique in that all the revenues raised by the Fair are administered direct to the various charities through experienced honorary advisors.
The Ploenchit Fair is proud to be the biggest annual event on the Bangkok International Calendar and as success has led to success, the Ploenchit Fair revenues have continued to increase. Today the Fair has become more of an international community event with representation from almost every country and culture—all with the common goal of raising money to help improve the lives of the poor and underprivileged throughout Thailand.
The BCTFN welcomes requests from all Thai charities under the guidance of our Foundation’s Constitution. These requests are considered from organisations under the following objectives:
- To support and assist the underprivileged to help themselves
- To provide educational assistance to schools to help underprivileged children
- To provide assistance to disabled persons
- To provide pharmaceuticals and medical equipment for the sick
- To support and help the basic needed projects for self-reliance
With these objectives in mind BCTFN supports over 20 charities annually and help is also given to new projects throughout the year depending on our monetary reserves.
BCTFN has supported well over 100 different Thai charities throughout Thailand over the years.