Most of us expats and travellers to Koh Phangan will be familiar with then name and ethos of The Red Cross which is a humanitarian movement aimed at protecting our health, life, to prevent suffering and to ensure that all life is respected.
We have all probably donated to them at least once in our lives through various campaigns.
But did you know that there is a Red Cross branch for Koh Phangan? There certainly is!
In 1893 there was a terrible dispute between Siam (Thailand) and France over land on the left bank of Mekhong river, this resulted in casualties on both sides. There was no charitable organisation to help at this time so a woman named Thanpuying Plien Pasakornravongs gathered a group of female volunteers and proposed to the Queen for the King to give permission that the ‘The Red Unalom Society of Siam’ be set up and his decision was favourable.
The Thai Red Cross was officially recognised by the International Committee of the Red Cross on May 27, 1920 and was accepted as a member of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (the former League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies) on April 8, 1921.
So this is how Thailand’s Red Cross began. Koh Phangan’s branch is the youngest Red Cross in the province of Surat Thani and it’s purpose is to help people who are disadvantaged in our society.
Khun Vannee Thaipanich states;
‘We help the old people, the poor ones, the sick people or the injured and we go out and visit them in hospital and in their homes to see what help they need.
Some people on Koh Phangan are very poor, we do not realise that on Koh Phangan there are poor people, we think that everybody on the island is rich and has land but many people stay alone here and do not have money’.
Some people on Koh Phangan do not have any family and even if they have got money to support themselves The Red Cross still go to visit them just to tell them who they are and to show them that they are caring.
The office of Koh Phangan’s Red Cross can be found in the City Hall and all of the people that work there are volunteers.
These volunteers work hard and donate time and money to put on The Red Cross fair which helps to bring in donations to help the people of the island.
This fair has been running every year for seven years now and is held in Thong Sala near the beloved King Rama V monument.
The festival this year will start on the 22nd of August and will continue until the 26th with an opening ceremony on the 22nd at 7pm. The president of The Red Cross from Surat Thani and Khun Vannee the head of Koh Phangan’s Tourism Association and an Assistant with Red Cross Koh Phangan will be in attendance.
The Head of Red Cross Koh Phangan, Emperor and Executive Chief Official of Koh Phangan Mr. krirk krai Songthani will also be there for the ceremony.
You can expect many activities at the festival, there will be a floating bowl for people to donate 20 Baht in and then you can win prizes such as a bike, washing machine, refrigerator and many more goodies.
It will run every night with new competitions and new chances to win prizes,there will be over one hundred different prizes to win.
There will be a dancing show from the students of schools on Koh Phangan and other artist performances.
Many small stalls where you can buy food, clothes or souvenirs, it will be a big market style festival with good products and prices.
There will also be blood donation and until this year Koh Phangan have been number one in all of Surat Thani for blood donations and we hope to continue this tradition this year as well.
Everyone is welcome to give a blood donation, it is available four times a year, every three months at the City Hall in Thong Sala.
The Red Cross hopes to see you for the festival from August 22nd to the 26th! Go and show some community support!