ISB Alumni around the world respond to COVID-19
Community service has been an integral part of the program at International School Bangkok (ISB) for many decades and is a key part of our vision to enrich communities. Generations of ISB students have made service an important element of their education, so it should come as no surprise that during the current coronavirus pandemic, ISB alumni and community members have taken it upon themselves to assist in this worldwide fight to overcome COVID-19.
Giving back in Thailand
A number of our alumni have come forward to support health workers and the most vulnerable in communities in Thailand through funding, supplying protective equipment, and more.
GoWith20 Thai Heroes to Fight COVID-19
In mid-March, a group of friends, including six ISB community members and one ISB alumnus (Rasina Uberoi Bajaj, Class of 1986), joined together to start this group whose purpose was to collect money to purchase necessary supplies, especially personal protective equipment, for hospitals across the Kingdom. This project, called GoWith20 To Beat COVID-19 raised more than 41million baht. Of the 548 requests from hospitals, the committee was able to deliver medical equipment to 457 hospitals nationwide. Well done to everyone involved in this amazing project. https://www.facebook.com/gowith20challenge/.
Supporting Senior Citizens
ISB alumnus, Natalie Narkprasert (Class of 2009), recognized the need to help senior citizens in Thailand who were unable to help themselves through the coronavirus pandemic. A veteran of NGOs worldwide, Ms. Narkprasert started the COVID Thailand Aid program whose purpose was to: (1) create care packages for seniors, low-income families, refugees and people in need; (2) provide meals for the homeless, and (3) provide emergency medical supplies for professionals battling the virus on the frontlines. At this time the ongoing project is helping countless individuals and families in Thailand as they continue to collect enough funds to reach their goal of 3 million baht.
Purchasing of Ventilators
In mid-March, former ISB student Napatra Watcharapond (Class of 2016) heard that the Rajavithi Foundation Hospital was in need of a ventilator. Inspired to help, she took it upon herself to seek donations to purchase this life-saving equipment. In a short time, she collected enough funds for the ventilator as well as to purchase 170 personal protective equipment suits for hospitals around Thailand. Napatra plans to continue to fundraise for vital medical equipment.
Feed the Foals
Many animal facilities have also been impacted and many people are doing what the can to support. Our ISB alumnus, Nick Lange (Class of 1999) and his daughter Rose, who live in Phuket with their family, are fundraising to support the Phuket Horseback Riding (PHR) facility, where they spent most of their weekends prior to the pandemic. www.simplygiving.com/appeal/phbr
Thai Christian Foundation
ISB graduate, Laurie Eubank Dawson (Class of 1982), is involved with the Thai Christian Foundation, which supports various groups around Thailand, especially groups that can be called “Hill Tribes.” Laurie is specifically involved with the Laytongku community on the Thai-Myanmar border and is fundraising for its health center, which is short on medical supplies. www.thaichristianfoundation.org/donate
Around the World
Alongside those that are fundraising and trying to support others from their homes, we have a number of alumni that are working in hospitals and for other organizations around the world.
ISB Medical Professionals
Dr. Justin Porter (Class of 2008) at the University of Chicago Medicine and Gabriella Boulton (Class of 2012) at the New York University Langone Health Center in New York City are two ISB Alum working directly with patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Initially a volunteer in the Kidney Transplant Program, Gabriella was soon employed full-time as the Transplant Institute Program Coordinator. When the novel coronavirus hit NYC, the program was closed and the transplant team was shifted to support patients with COVID-19. Gabriella has been working directly with the Executive Director of the COVID-19 Crisis Team. Gabriella recently shared that the situation has improved a great deal and she believes that soon she will be able to return to her specialty of dealing with transplant patients. We send our wishes and thanks to them and other community members working tirelessly in hospitals around the world.
3D Printer for Patient Isolation Hoods
Eric Howeler, an ISB alumnus from the Class of 1989, is an architect who studied at Cornell University after leaving ISB. He is currently an Associate Professor of Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design as well as the principal partner at Howeler Yoon Architecture in Massachusetts. Currently, Eric is working on a project which uses 3-D printers to create Patient Isolation Hoods for use in the fight against COVID-19. Prototypes of the PIHs have been produced and are being trialed at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Nepal Youth Foundation
Crystal Anderson (ISB Class of 2005) is the Grants and Donor Communications Manager at the Nepal Youth Foundation. NYF runs health, shelter, freedom, and education programs for children and marginalized communities in Nepal, which is currently bracing for an expected COVID-19 outbreak. Crystal, located Northern California, is currently raising money to: (a) keep up with rising food costs in the region, (b) keep the all-Nepalese on-the-ground staff members employed even while some programs are paused, and (c) pivot their counseling services to over-the-phone options for families in distress. The organization is also expecting its facilities to be used as emergency medical sites, and are gearing up to create nutrition kitchens for impoverished communities that will be affected. Link: http://www.nepalyouthfoundation.org
ISB graduate Jason Adams-Brown (Class of 1991) and his wife are part of a team at their church that has created a website, which aims to connect people that want to help to different projects. They themselves purchased and delivered masks, meals and coffee to frontline workers, purchased and delivered groceries to families in need, provided financial assistance to families that have lost their jobs, provided items needed for COVID-19 affected people in quarantine and more. https://www.echocompassion.com/
There are certainly scores of other stories out there of former ISB students and community members who are doing what they can to show care and support for others. We are pleased to be able to celebrate their efforts and hopefully inspire some further support for their various projects.