CHIANGRAI – Charity project “Ton Kla Udomkarn” (Young Ideologist), which aims to raise funds for teachers in Thailand’s troubled south, is back for a second year and this time the theme is “Run & Ride For Peace”.
The first edition featured a charity concert and mini marathon with students and members of the public jogging around Rajdamnoen Road. The event raised Bt100,000 for the family of Juling Pongkunmul, the young art teacher abducted and beaten into coma from which she eventually died in Narathiwat back in 2006 and also paid for the restoration of the Juling Art Gallery in her native Chiang Rai. This time, a team of cyclists is riding from Bangkok to Chiang Rai over 10 days, covering a total distance of more than 800 kilometres.Juling “Teacher Jui” Pongkanmun A teacher in Narathiwat, she was taken hostage in May 2006 and severely beaten by her captors. She died after spending eight months in a coma
“Since the insurgency in southern Thailand began in 2004, 157 teachers have been killed. We give their families all our support,” says Peter Maiocchi, actor and organiser of the event through his company FAF. “This year, we want people from all around the country to know and understand more about this project, so we’re teaming up with a group of cyclists to promote this project on the road and will be collecting donations from Bangkok to Chiang Rai.”
Members of the Thailand Cycling Club led by Peter and other actors and singers including Jojo Mioxshi, Supakorn “Tok” Kitsuwon, Penpetch “Jab” Penkul, Yingyong Yodbuangarm, Boriboon “Tuk” Chanruang, Siwatch Kusakultham, Bunjerd “Shogun” Santanapanich, Prannee “Ie” Weranukul, and Pollapat “Mike” Welsh pedalled off from the Education Ministry on Tuesday and are being joined en route by several cycling groups from the provinces. Zeudthavee “O” Kanchanapakapong from BikeFinder is in charge of navigation.
Today, the group will be at Pibulsongkram Rajabhat University in Phitsanulok and tomorrow they’ll travel to Uttaradit Rajabhat University in Uttaradit. Other stops include Lampang Rajabhat University on Monday, Lamphun Technical College on Tuesday, Chiang Mai Municipality Stadium on Wednesday and Juling’s house in Chiang Rai on Thursday.
“Wednesday, January 16, is Teachers’ Day and will have a ‘Ton Kla Udomkarn’ charity programme airing on Channel 9 to call for donations,” says Peter.
Last weekend, the group held the charity event, “Run & Ride For Peace” at Parc Paragon.
The event drew a wealth of celebrities, among them Nam Ronnadej, KPN’s Good, Phonelink and Typhoon, Kitti Chiewwongsakul from “Pen Tor”, King “The Voice”, Rhythm Nation Band, and Moderndog, as well as Channel 3 performers Fon Patcharin, MCs Phum and Petchja, Fon Suangsuda, Jojo, Jap Penpetch, Dom Hetrakul, and Nathawut Sakidjai.
Anyone wishing to donate can make a payment through the Krungthai Bank, Ministry of Education branch, savings account number: 059 0 22232 5.