Giving back in Southeast Asia

Each month a writer selects a charity or non-government organisation that they believe does excellent work on their patch in Southeast Asia. They write about them and we donate $100, a small way for us to give something back to the region. If you're looking to give back too, please consider giving a little cash as well.

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  • Gibbon Rehabilitation Project

    Gibbon Rehabilitation Project

    Wander the streets and beaches of Phuket and other tourist destinations around Thailand and you’ll often soon be met by someone trying to sell you a photograph with an exotic animal. The thrill of an encounter with a gibbon, slow loris, iguana or python might add some excitement to someone’s tropical holiday, but what many don’t realise is that these happy snapshots mask a brutal, damaging and illegal trade.

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  • Khlong Toey Music Program

    Khlong Toey Music Program

    Music has the power to launch you far and wide, create a sense of community, replace hopelessness with creativity and soothe the deepest roots of your soul. In Bangkok's poorest area, underprivileged kids are exposed to all of this and more thanks to Khlong Toey Music Program (KTMP).

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  • Blue Dragon Children's Foundation

    Blue Dragon Children's Foundation

    Blue Dragon's Street Outreach team recently took in three homeless boys, one of whom was living in a precarious position under a bridge in an attempt to stay safe. The other two had previously been sexually assaulted. Fortunately the harrowing stories are usually balanced by positive and uplifting news: Blue Dragon kids have done well at school, a child who was living on the street has been re-united with his family. The list goes on.

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  • Soi Dog Foundation

    Soi Dog Foundation

    Phuket, like most areas of Thailand, is home to many stray animals in need of care. But visitors returning to Phuket will notice that there are far fewer sad, sickly dogs and cats on the loose than there were a decade ago, thanks in no small part to the tireless work of Soi Dog Foundation in providing medical care, sterilisations and adoptions for the island's strays.

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  • MyME Yangon

    MyME Yangon

    If you've been to a teashop in Burma (Myanmar), you've probably been served by young kids who work every day of the week for well over 12 hours a day. Many will never attend school, missing out on an opportunity to improve their outlook in life. The myME Project tries to change this by taking the classroom to them.

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  • Free the Bears Laos

    Free the Bears Laos

    When five-month old Kobe arrived at the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre, he was traumatised. His mother had been shot and killed by hunters. Kobe had been caught, noosed, bound tightly by all four legs, tied to a length of bamboo and carried through the jungle. He endured being carried around this way for three days as Forest Rangers pursued the hunters. Eventually he was abandoned and found by the Rangers, then saved by Free the Bears.

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  • Angkor Hospital For Children

    Angkor Hospital For Children

    The work of Angkor Hospital For Children (AHC) is immense. Since 1999, the paediatric teaching hospital -- Cambodia’s first -- has provided more than one million medical treatments, education to thousands of Cambodian health workers and prevention training to thousands of families. A non-profit, the hospital relies entirely on donations.

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  • Epic Arts

    Epic Arts

    More than just a Kampot cafe, Epic Arts have been using creativity to expand horizons for disabled and non-disabled participants for ten years, with the simple but powerful message that Every Person Counts. Services for people with disabilities are very poor in Cambodia, particularly for those with learning disabilities. The Epic Arts Cafe was set up in 2003 as a model for inclusive business and the purpose-built Arts Centre opened six years later.

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  • Swim Vietnam

    Swim Vietnam

    One child drowns every 45 seconds in Asia. For Vietnam, the estimated daily death rate sits anywhere between 10 and 32 children a day, making drowning one of the leading causes of death for children under the age of 10; for the under fives, almost 90 percent of drownings take place within 100 metres of their homes.

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  • The SET Foundation

    The SET Foundation

    Back in 1994, Peter Robinson, a British Buddhist monk living at a temple in the Northern Thai province of Nakhon Sawan, began looking into how he could help a promising student find enough money to attend university. His actions then planted the seeds of an education trust that has since grown into a multi-million baht scholarship fund supporting thousands of students across Thailand.

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  • Helping Phuket's children in need

    Helping Phuket's children in need

    Well away from the sunset cocktail bars and five-star resorts of Phuket there are untold stories of families in struggle. When families are burdened by poverty, illness, addiction or abuse, it’s often the children who suffer the most. Life sometimes gets tough enough that the family home is no longer safe or secure for a child; in some cases, there is no home for them to go to. This is where the Phuket Sunshine Village (PSV) Foundation steps in to help.

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  • Lifestart Foundation, Hoi An

    Lifestart Foundation, Hoi An

    The Lifestart Foundation is one of few charities based in Hoi An working with people suffering disabilities due to the lingering, horrific effects of dioxins used around this area during the American War.

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  • COPE: Helping people move on

    COPE: Helping people move on

    Between 1964 and 1973 the US army dropped more than two million tons of ordnance on Laos, earning the country the dubious distinction of being the most heavily bombed country per capita in history. The Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise -- COPE --  is a non-profit based in Vientiane that runs rehabilitation centres aiming to provide access to orthotic and prosthetic devices and a range of other services for the victims of the remains of these weapons.

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  • Thai Freedom House, Chiang Mai

    Thai Freedom House, Chiang Mai

    Other than running Chiang Mai's excellent Freebird Cafe -- a Shan/Burmese vegetarian restaurant -- Thai Freedom House runs a community education, arts and language centre for both refugees from Burma (Myanmar) as well as underprivileged ethnic minorities in Northern Thailand itself.

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  • Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam

    Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam

    Humanitarian Services for Children of Vietnam (HSCV) was founded in 2002 to help orphans, homeless children and other children living in poverty in Hanoi and surrounding areas through the provision of food, shelter, clothing, health and education.

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  • Helping the Karen of Burma

    Helping the Karen of Burma

    It was a frigid winter day in the US state of Vermont when I first met with a recently resettled refugee family back in 2008. The resettlement program had told me they were Burmese, so I was confused when only one 17-year old family member could understand what was written in an English-Burmese phrasebook. I soon learned how they were part of the ethnic Karen minority, displaced by the world's longest-running civil war.

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  • The Samui Prison Project

    The Samui Prison Project

    The Samui Prison Project (SPP) was set up by local legal firm, PKN Legal & Business Consultancy, to work with groups raising money to help prisoners in the Women’s Unit at the Ko Samui District Prison. The aim is to assist the prison in its own efforts to provide rehabilitation for female offenders through education, training and community support.

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  • Helping Singapore's transient workers

    Helping Singapore's transient workers

    Visitors to Singapore always speak of its impeccably clean streets and ultra-modern architecture, but few know the secret behind the city-state's flawless appearance: transient foreign workers. As the wealthiest country in the region, Singapore is able to 'import' people from neighbouring countries to do its dirty work for wages of a couple of dollars per hour.

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  • Helping Siem Reap's rubbish dump families

    Helping Siem Reap's rubbish dump families

    It is hard to believe that the village of Anlung Pi is just 25 kilometres from the five-star hotels of Siem Reap and the iconic lotus bud towers of Angkor Wat. Tourists don't come here, and they shouldn't. The village itself is unremarkable, but if you were to walk through the fields, just a few hundred yards from the neat, traditional wooden village houses, you would find yourself in the middle of a vast, stinking, rubbish dump. Sadly this rubbish dump is also home to an entire community.

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