As we move towards the end of February I felt it was important to give a quick update to our customers, friends, family, and supporters on our efforts to provide food relief to local Phuket residents.
We are now past the 12-month mark of the devastating effects of tourism here in Phuket. We are seeing more and more businesses closing, people giving up and desperation coming forth.
Thailand was hit with a resurgence of Covid during the December / January period which saw Phuket shut down Domestic Travel. This “Second Wave” was devastating to morale as well as the financial resources of those surviving.
During the past month and a bit we have received more and more requests for help, and the requests have become more desperate.
As we visit communities they share with us that they have been without work for 12 months, they don’t know where to turn, and they are just struggling.
The good news is that we have increased our funds available for donation meaning we can reach more people, help more people and provide more support.
As you can see in the video below our packing days are getting lots of people turning out to help.
This would never have been possible without the help of UWC Thailand, its teachers, students, and volunteers. In addition to UWC Thailand, we have also had great ex-pat help.
To help manage our volunteer efforts to of our wonderful friends and customers Stepped into the position of Volunteer Managers.
Huge shoutout to Pete and Nina for taking on that responsibility and allowing us to help more people more efficiently.
So as the year continues, we expect to continue to be providing food relief support to our local Phuket communities.
Avid followers of our social media know that multiple times a week we are out in the local community donating Life Bags to villagers who are in need. Covid 19 has devastated the local economy here in Phuket where more than 90% of our GDP was reliant on International Tourism.
When Covid 19 first hit Thailand we all thought it would be around for just a few months and then we could “get back to normal” but Thailand and the world have faced a completely different reality.
Over 100,000 people in Phuket have lost their job with no hope or way of getting another job. Over 50,000 people have left Phuket for other provinces searching for work in a country that has limited opportunities due to Covid.
Despite all of this, when we are out donating Life Bags we are often asked “Why Are We Helping?”
The answer is simple, I have been living here for 13 years and during that time I have built a number of successful businesses and without the help of the local Thai people, without the help of these communities, this would never have been possible.
I remember when I first started out running boats in Phuket we had all types of trouble. Boat engines would have issues, fuel lines would clog, you name the problem and I’ve probably experienced it. Being a foreigner on the water with these kinds of problems can often be a little scary.
Not in Phuket!
Even if I just slow our boat down to stop at a fishing spot you’ll find 3 or 4 boats that are passing by coming closer to “check we are ok”. It is this kind of seamanship and community spirit that has allowed our company here at 5 Star Marine to prosper.
So now I believe that I, my team, and our entire 5 Star Marine company have an obligation to lift up the community, the very same community that helped lift us up. We have been successful, we are a well-respected company and we now want to use our success to help the local people “Stand Up And Fight”.
This time is temporary and if I know that my company, my team, or our donation program can in any way help even just 1 person to fight through this hard time, to feel hope, to have faith that “this too shall pass” then this entire donation program is well worth.
To help our fellow man is the greatest service we can give and I am honored every day to be joined by our volunteers, to be joined by our staff, and to be joined by our friends in delivering Life Bags and support to communities in need.