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Old 02-25-2008, 02:28 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Greetings from Bangkok ...

I work with homeless and slum families in an effort to help them development meaningful family incomes, while ensuring their children's education. A major focus in recent years has been training young people in plant tissue culture. This has demonstrated a viable six-fold increase in earning potential with an investment of only about a hundred USD per student!

The next hoped for extension of this madness is to minimize their commute to work by building a plant tissue culture within the community, gradually giving full ownership to the community through a micro-finance scheme within their own control. This is what I envision as "sustainable community development" ... too many of the NGO community development models fail to sustain themselves or to transfer ownership and capacity to the communities themselves.

Oh yeah, bananas ... what better tissue culture crop to produce slum community income while supporting the needs of similarly impoverished rural communities!

Regards/Roger, in Bangkok
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Old 02-25-2008, 02:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Greetings from Bangkok ...

That's awesome.
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Old 02-25-2008, 11:11 AM   #3 (permalink)
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That is awsome!!! Welcome!!!
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Old 02-25-2008, 01:58 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Greetings from Bangkok ...

That's a beautiful thing!
Welcome aboard!
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Old 02-25-2008, 09:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Greetings from Bangkok ...

That's pretty cool, Roger! I will be in Thailand in June, around the Bangkok area. Any nurseries that you recommend visiting in the city or surrounding areas?

Frank
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Old 02-25-2008, 09:45 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Greetings from Bangkok ...

Hi Frank--

Are you pursuing other specie interests beyond bananas? There are quite a number of research projects around as well. Let me know more specifically what you are looking for and I can work up a short list of sites with some friends who are far more expert than I. There isn't much to be found within the city other than some commercial TC labs serving mainly the orchid exporters and cut flower farms.

I'll be happy to do whatever I can to facilitate your trip.

Regards/Roger, in Bangkok
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Old 02-25-2008, 09:52 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Greetings from Bangkok ...

Hello !!

What a wonderful thing you are doing for the people of your country. I also work with homeless and disadvantaged people and families in our community. We often direct them to job training programs as a way to self sufficiency. Also give them support while they train or retrain. But your program sounds very modern and intriguing, and like previously said, awesome!

Welcome to the forum!
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Old 02-27-2008, 10:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Old 02-27-2008, 11:19 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Greetings from Bangkok ...

Roger,
First of all, welcome to the forum. Hope you find this site as informative as I do. I am sure you will be able to contribute alot to many of our topics. I do have something that I would like to know about the work you are doing. Where is the funding coming from for this project, which is very admirable? Is it supported from outside interests or from within Thailand, itself? I highly admire the efforts it sounds like you are putting into this. I hope that it will come to fruitation for everyone involved.
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Old 02-27-2008, 12:51 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Greetings from Bangkok ...

Welcome! That is just wonderful. I wish we could grow bananas like that all year, and what a good cause!
Sincerely,
Sandy
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Old 02-27-2008, 01:13 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Greetings from Bangkok ...

I am touched. That's very cool!
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Old 02-27-2008, 04:10 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Greetings from Bangkok ...

Thats Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 02-28-2008, 01:20 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Greetings from Bangkok ...

Quote:
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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Old 02-28-2008, 08:03 AM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Greetings from Bangkok ...

Roger,
Again, your efforts are VERY admirable!!! Will the Thai government not work with you on the front end of the projects through grants or the like? What about the universities providing grants to help these projects get started? It seems the nurseries will be the winners here along with the communities in that they will be receiving TC'd plants for sale. Won't they reinvest some of their money back into the project to help sustain it? Man, this project seems to be very exciting and I can see where it gets you pumping every day.
I am sure the "slum lords" are not very happy with what you are trying to do, so be careful!!!!
I know BigDog is making a trip this summer to your area, and if you get a chance, you need to try and get with him. He is a great guy and I am sure he would love to see what you have going on.
Best of luck to you and your project and be sure to keep us all up to your progress!!!!
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:27 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Greetings from Bangkok ...

Hi Randy--

For a good chuckle, you can see a couple photos of the "lost lab" at . The 2-story house was ideally located in the community and even had a bit of a front yard where I was going to build some barrelponic systems to distribute around the community. It's a small community of a hundred or so families that I have lived in for several years, so I don't plan on giving up any too soon

The bureaucracy to legally receive government grant funding here is a nightmare. In all cases public funds have to funneled through a state enterprise of state university, private individuals and organizations can in no way directly receive or even apply for such grants. The local equivalent to 501c3 nonprofit status is a registered foundation. The opposite edge of the foundation sword is that foundations are expressly forbidden to enter into any kind of commercial activity, which of course is the whole point! In my day job I work with a team of researchers working in renewable energy and energy storage and conversion. All of that work is grant funded. Several projects funded by the Danish government have run quite well ... current projects under Thai govt funding have been ongoing for about 3 years without the first payment being received as yet. That's nothing really all that unusual, and I believe to be pretty common throughout the 3rd world. A couple of past projects involving aquaculture and shrimp culture resulted in patented technologies that really had great potential, but since the funding went through the universities they in turn claim ownership of all IP developed with that funding. Everything abandoned (including final payments!) so as a little guy that is just not at all an attractive route to me. On the other side of the coin I find that I can enjoy far more freedom to help other people, and impart far greater impact on their lives than I could ever hope to accomplish back home. Life here gives me a very clear understanding of manic-depressive

Yes, Frank and I will certainly be getting together while he is here! He will be at Kasetsart University, which is one of the 3 schools that have supported me with workshops to train my friends ... I wish I had some pictures from the workshops but haven't had a camera to play with until recently. Hopefully I will be able to run a few through in the next couple of months while school is out for summer break.

Thanks for your interest and enthusiasm Frank, that is really encouraging to me. Not too many people seem to get it, especially in this society where your current condition is supposed be your own fault or credit due to how you were in a previous incarnation ... aarrrgggghhhhh ...

Regards/Roger, in Bangkok
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Old 02-28-2008, 11:31 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Greetings from Bangkok ...

Oh oh, I guess we can't embed links? Okay, let's try the button then:
Picasa Web Albums - Roger, in Bangkok - New house May...

The lost lab ...
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Old 02-28-2008, 01:17 PM   #17 (permalink)
 
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Welcome,Roger.
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Old 02-28-2008, 02:42 PM   #18 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: Greetings from Bangkok ...

Very interesting info, Roger... Just seems plain sad that the government does not get more actively involved in making its citizens better off anyway it can. I wish you the best in your efforts and I am sure we will see each other around the board often. Take care and God bless...
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Old 02-28-2008, 03:09 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Greetings from Bangkok ...

Hello and Welcome Roger

Thats a awesome thing you are doing there!
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