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Life Improvement

Life Improvement

            The Pfizer Thailand Foundation takes pride in helping to improve the lives of many Thais through a micro-credit program for HIV-positive adults, character development trainings for youth in Tsunami-affected provinces, and a program on developing reading and essential life skills for school children.  
            Our Life Improvement projects enable participants – children and adults – to increase self-esteem and self-respect so that they are psychologically prepared to deal with life challenges and to build a better future for themselves and their communities.
            Sustainable Life   
            Initiated in 2004, the micro-credit program for HIV-positive adults is more than just a low-interest loan scheme to help make their entrepreneurial dreams come true.  It is designed to offer people affected with HIV an opportunity to derive a sustainable source of income from the micro-credit loans granted to them.  To participate in the Pa Tong Koh project, an HIV-positive adult needs to pair up with a non-HIV partner who might be a relative, a friend or a spouse.  More than facilitating occupational endeavors, the micro-credit scheme is meant to minimize negative perception and to develop positive attitude towards HIV-positive people. 
            Sow the Seed for the Future           
            The Young Leadership project is a reflection of the Pfizer Thailand Foundation’s commitment towards building a better future for Thailand.  First organized in 2006, the Young Leadership Camp is the result of a partnership between the Pfizer Thailand Foundation and the World Vision Foundation of Thailand to support the development of children living in southern areas that had been struck by Tsunami and other underprivileged children in Phang Nga province.
            Conducted in Satul province in partnership with the World Vision Foundation of Thailand, the Reading and Essential Life Skill Development Project aims at improving children’s reading skill and developing other essential life skills.
 
 
“PA TONG KOH” (BUDDY) PROJECT TO HELP HIV POSITIVE PEOPLE IMPROVE QUALITY OF LIFE
            In cooperation with the Population and Community Development Association (PDA), the Pfizer Thailand Foundation initiated the “Pa Tong Koh” (Buddy) project to help HIV-positive people improve quality of life and earn a sustainable source of income with dignity and pride. 
            The key condition of the program is that a HIV-positive person wishing to apply for a low-interest loan has to pair up with a non-HIV person who might be a relative, friend or spouse. Those with approved loan applications also receive trainings on running micro businesses. The dual objectives of the program are to increase economic security and overall quality of life of HIV-positive people as well as to defeat negative labeling and discrimination against them.
            Launched in 2004, the program has helped more than 1,300 people to have a better life.  About 30 million baht of loans have been approved.  More than a financial assistance, this low-interest loan serves as a source of emotional support for HIV-positive people to work with healthy people and earn a living respectably.  The project was launched in Bangkok and five provinces: Chiang Mai, Chonburi, Chiang Rai, Nakon Ratchasima and Khon Kaen.
            The program has been recognized as “best practice” by the USAIDS and won the Health Enhancement Category of the Asian CSR Awards for the Year 2011. 
 
 
YOUNG LEADERSHIP PROJECT
            Initiated in 2006, the annual youth camp offers underprivileged children opportunities to develop themselves mentally and emotionally by learning necessary life skills.  We partner with the World Vision Foundation of Thailand to organize leadership and life-skill training camps for youths in Pang Nga province.  We have donated over six million baht towards this program. 
            The first two years (2006-2008) was about equipping the children with the abilities to help their parents reduce household expenses and earn extra income.  In the subsequent years, the trainings were mostly about improving home communities and environment with the aim of strengthening their characters and community bond on specific topics such as
“I Will Be Your Guide” (2010), “Beautiful Sea by Young Hands” (2011), and “Get Ready for the Future” (2012).
 
 
READING AND ESSENTIAL LIFE SKILL DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
            Following the success of the Young Leadership Project, Pfizer Thailand Foundation seeks to provide further development for children in Satul, one of the restive southern border provinces. In partnership with the World Vision Foundation of Thailand, we are pursuing the Reading and Essential Life Skill Development Project from 2012 to 2017.  The project aims at improving children’s reading and life skills to address the problem of literacy after it was found out that many of the underprivileged children aged 6-12 do not have sufficient reading and communication skills expected of their age. 
            Such educational improvement is vital for the successful opening of the country’s economic borders as Thailand is getting ready to welcome the emergence of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015.  According to the National Statistical Office, Thai youngsters read on average five non-academic books a year compared to Malaysians (40), Singapore (45) and Vietnamese (60).  Moreover, according to the results of a worldwide study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2009, Thai students are ranked 59th among their counterparts from 65 countries in reading skill, mathematics and science. 
            In rural areas of Satul, the problem stems from a high proportion of school students per teacher, lack of reading resources, and lack of motivation from the children’s parents whose hand-to-mouth lifestyle keeps them occupied with earning of a living.  Most of the parents are daily wage earners working as fishermen or rubber tappers, and have limited reading skills themselves.
            Under the six-year initiative to improve reading and essential life skills for students of grades 1-4 at Baan Tutara School and Baan Piyai School in La-ngoo District of Satul, we aim to improve not only the children’s reading skill but also abilities to analyze and summarize information, communicate, solve problems, handle their own emotions, relate to others and take responsibility towards the common good of the community.  The project includes improvement of school libraries and reading materials to inspire children to read more.  Through activities such as life skill camps and clay molding, we inspire children to dream and design a better future for themselves. Their improved reading skills and development of essential life skills will help them move from where they are to where they want to be, and make their dreams come true.