In May 2015, we began our partnership with Operation Hope to build an Education Centre and student/teacher accommodation in the remote northern region of Phitsanulok, Thailand – giving kids in the surrounding villages the opportunity to learn important life and literacy skills.
The facility will work to empower disadvantaged youth by offering extra-curricular classes in computer skills and English, as well as school holiday programs, equipping children with the means to find meaningful employment to support their families as they get older.
English is an invaluable skill for the youth in Thailand, as it opens endless job opportunities in industries such as tourism, education, construction and other areas. With this in mind, the inspiring new school will be an “English only zone” where children are able to watch movies, use computers, attend English classes, and have a library full of books to read and reference.
It will be a common place to learn and practice using the language. With construction of the building now complete, we recently set a Charity Crusade challenge to our Cotton On Group retail teams in Asia, with twenty three team members earning the opportunity to travel to the project site.
While they were on the ground, our star retail performers met the local children and helped with the finishing touches to the new facility, including painting the outside of the building and undertaking landscaping activities. Michelle Marek, Cotton On Foundation Coordinator for Asia, couldn’t believe how much fun the group had and how well everyone worked together on the project.
“I would just sit back in awe at times watching everyone become artists and work not as individuals but a team! The guys represented Cotton On Foundation in the true sense and really rolled up their sleeves; literally standing, climbing, painting, and drawing in the heat for hours at a time to make this bright and fun mural for the kids in the community.”
“The outcome of the trip was such a success. It gave local kids the opportunity to practice their English, our team the chance to step out of their comfort zones and become involved in our first Cotton On Foundation project in Asia and make many new friends along the way. I know everyone has left with a sense of accomplishment and some great memories to keep forever.”
With the building now looking bright and cheery, we will continue to partner with Operation Hope to work toward the centre becoming fully operational. Funds raised through the sale of Cotton On Foundation product across Asia will go toward recruiting and training staff, developing the curriculum and ensuring quality classes, extra-curricular activities and school holiday programs. Check out the images below to see the before and after photos of this exciting project!
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