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Old 02-28-2008, 01:20 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Name: Roger, in Bangkok
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Default Re: Greetings from Bangkok ...

Originally Posted by Randy4ut View Post
... Where is the funding coming from for this project, ...

Hi Randy--

I do get some sporadic support from local church and non-churched friends from time to time, but being out of the states the past 20 years has pretty well dried up most any interests from there. Unfortunately that means I have to take time away from the "real" work to engage in "normal" (HAH!) work. From time to time I find some good opportunities for other income but those are best put into the hands of local families ... I guess that makes me sort of a career instigator

Anyway it's lots of fun and very rewarding in non-tangible ways ... you know, sort of an atypical addiction.

I can hardly wait to get the first slum plant tissue culture lab up and running. We already have several good technicians trained and 'certified' through local universities, but unfortunately there has been a bit of a setback in the plans due to a slumlord problem ... just makes me more determined than ever. The whole concept is to establish and equip the lab (inside their slum community), put the people to work with guaranteed industry-competitive salaries and benefits, mentor others from the community into the business aspects, logistics etc. As they gain the capability to run the business (legally structured and registered of course) on their own full ownership is turned over to the community itself through a government organized micro-finance scheme that provides a credit union concept of low interest loans and high interest savings. A percentage of that profit will also be earmarked to fully scholarship all students from the community.

This is what I call sustainable community development, in that money/material is infused to get it going and then it supports itself rather than having to continually go back to donors milking them for more money to keep it alive. This is a real radical departure from normal NGO models which tend to create greater community dependence on the NGO. The competitive salaries mentioned above are roughly 6 times the maximum wage earning ability of these semi-literate young people. The micro-loans required by the local food vendors are on the order of $20 while the mafia money lenders only provide them with $150 loans at 90% interest and daily repayment. By displacing the money lenders' drain on community resources while increasing individual earning power we virtually eliminate the need for the NGOs to begin with ... the community then has the capacity to take care of themselves.

Sorry for such a long post, I admit to being a bit passionate about all of this

Regards/Roger, in Bangkok
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