Om has spent her whole life selflessly helping others. Now she needs our help.
In 2009 I ordained as a Buddhist monk, which lead me to spend many months in Northern Thailand. I have met many wonderful people there, but one stands out above all the others. Her name is Om.
Since our first meeting, I have grown to appreciate both Om’s incredible decency and her remarkable resilience in the face of challenges that are unimaginable to most of us.
Om lives in one of Thailand’s poorest regions. Although it is green and beautiful, it is beset by all the social problems that deprivation brings – including crime, substance abuse and mental illness. Unlike Britain, though, there is no state safety net. People can easily fall through the cracks into destitution. It is people like Om who stop them falling.
Despite having little, Om supports many of her extended family who through illness, or old age, cannot support themselves. This burden was added to 12 years ago when her husband had a serious mental breakdown. He will now have to take strong psychiatric medication for the rest of his life, and will never work again. Fortunately, Om was able to gather some savings before she was married, through back breaking agricultural labor, and much of this has now been spent on her husband’s care.
Om still finds the time though to support people in need outside her family unit. She is a devout Buddhist and spends a large part of each day preparing food to offer the monks on their daily alms round. She then packs any food that is left onto her motorcycle and delivers it to people around the town who she knows do not have enough food to eat. I have witnessed her stop her bike by the road to offer strangers food, or a little money, if they appear in need. Many of the local children have no official identification papers, which means they have no entitlement to attend school. In what little spare time she has, Om has taken it upon herself to teach them to read and write Thai, which is the only chance many of them will have to gain meaningful employment. If someone she knows is ill and needs food or medication delivered to them, Om will be the one to do it. Almost everything Om does in her daily life is for the benefit of others.
In recent years an already difficult life has become a lot harder. Om has had two motorcycle accidents, which have left her with long term injuries and pain. As a consequence she is no longer capable of doing the hard physical work she used to rely on. She has not given up, though. In order to support herself and her family she has started a new business making the traditional coconut-based Thai sweets called Khanom. Her sweets are of better quality than anything else found in the area and, as a consequence, the orders are beginning to stream in. However, the production process is labor intensive. It relies on constant stirring of the sweet mix as it heats, which becomes steadily more difficult as the mixture thickens. As a result of her injuries, Om will not be capable of doing this long term.
This is why I have launched this campaign. I want to raise the money to buy Om a commercial heater-mixer, and a new fridge to store the sweets before they are shipped off to customers. The cheapest commercial heater–mixer that will do the job is still expensive at around 30,000 Thai Baht (£735.54) and the fridge to store them will cost around 10,000 Baht (£245.18 Pounds). So, in total, I am looking to raise 40,000 Baht (£980.72) to help her to transform her sweet making business into something that will sustain her, and all the people who rely on her, for the long term.
Om has the perseverance and will to make her business a real success – all she lacks is the means. With a little support from us now, she will be able to achieve a level of security she has never experienced; a level of security she deserves.
Please donate now and transform Om’s life forever!
- Anja Ashton
- Frances Atwill
- Thomas Arnold
- G QUARTERMAINE
#1 fundraising platform
More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more
Expert advice, 24/7
Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more