Sunday, November 26, 2023

Charity Sunday for Communities – #Thailand #EthnicMinority #CharitySunday

Charity Sunday Banner

Welcome to the November Charity Sunday blog hop! For more than six years, I have devoted the last Sunday of each month to showcasing organizations who work to make the world a better place. Each Charity Sunday, I choose a charity or non-profit and commit to making a donation for each comment I get. Sometimes I’m lucky enough to have other bloggers join the event. You’ll find links to their posts at the end of this one. They’ve made a similar commitment, so I hope you’ll visit them, read about their selected charities, and leave your comments.

Today I’m supporting one of my personal favorite charities, the Karen Hilltribes Trust ( Unlike some organizations I support, which have broad mandates, KHT has a very specific focus. They work with ethnic minority communities in northern Thailand, helping these villages to construct critical infrastructure for drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, and irrigation. KHT also provides scholarships and transport to improve access to education for Karen youth.


KHT Logo

Northern Thailand is a rugged, isolated area. Many villages are served only by dirt roads. Kids have to walk miles, up and down steep hills, to get to school. The closest hospital may be dozens of miles away, requiring hours of travel.

The Karen and other ethnic minorities who inhabit the highlands have unique and vibrant cultures, and strong community structures, but often very limited financial resources. KHT’s projects are led by Karen staff, who work with the people in the villages to build much needed facilities.

KHT has been working with the Karen for more than two decades. It was founded in memory of a young British man who encountered the Karen during his backpacking trips in Thailand and organized volunteer trips to help the people. Thus it’s a very personal charity – but highly effective. Check out their excellent website for more details about their projects and the people they serve.

Anyway, I hope you’ll leave me a comment, because I will donate two dollars to KHT for every one. In addition, I’ll give two copies of my short romance Refuge (excerpted below) to randomly selected commenters. Please include your email, so I can find you if you win!

My excerpt today is from Refuge, which has a Karen heroine. Rather than in a village in the interior, Preean lives in a refugee camp near the Thai/Myanmar border. There are Karen communities in Myanmar and in China; the long-term instability in Myanmar has resulted in the displacement of many minority members.

The hero is a young Thai soldier from the impoverished country side in Thailand’s northeast, forced to serve as a guard in the camp.

I’ve used this story for other Charity Sundays, but for today I’ve tried to choose an excerpt I haven’t shared previously.


Refuge book cover

She found me the next morning. I was sitting on the steps of the barracks, reviewing Daeng’s last letter. I insisted that he write to me, even though we talked by phone once a week. He needed the practice. I always sent his letters back, with spelling corrections. I was determined that, somehow, I’d help him go to university. That was the only way to save him from the trap I was in.

I had expected excitement and gratitude from her, but her face was twisted by worry.

Hello, sir...” she began, tentative.

Nu. You can call me Nu. And your name?”

People call me Preean.” She pronounced it as two syllables.

Pleased to meet you, Preean.” I tried to put her at ease. She stood there with her eyes downcast, her hands knotted together nervously. I stuffed the letter in my shirt pocket and waited for her to speak.

Sir... Khun Nu... thank you so much for the pencil and paper.”

Never mind. I think you needed it more than I did.”

Still—your kindness means a lot, to me and to the children.”

Forget it. Really.”

She raised her eyes. I was startled to see that they were dark blue, like dusk behind the mountains. Also they were glistening with tears. “I need to ask your help again. Something much more serious.”

On impulse, I grasped her hands, gently releasing her tense grip. Her nails were bitten down to the quick. The creases in her palms were embedded with grime. Nevertheless, her skin was deliciously soft. Sympathetic tears pricked at my eyes. “What is it? How can I help you?”

It’s Su. One of the children. She’s very sick. Diarrhea and a high fever.”

Did you bring her to the infirmary?”

They said it was probably just some bad fish. That they couldn’t do anything. I think she needs to go to the hospital. She’s burning up.”

The hospital? In Mae Sot? That’s more than two hours away!”

I went to ask the commander for permission to take her. He wouldn’t even let me into his office.” She tried to kneel before me. I stopped her, terribly embarrassed, not to mention worried that someone would see her. “Please, Khun Nu. She’s much worse today than she was last night. She doesn’t even know who I am.”

What can I do? I started to answer. I can’t do anything. I’m practically a prisoner here myself. But the desperation and hope I saw mingled in her face stopped my voice.

* * *

Please leave a comment – it can mean a better life for a community far away. And don’t forget to include your email (obfuscated is fine) if you’d like to be included in the drawing.


Kate Hill said...

KHT sounds like a great organization.
The excerpt is intense. I hope they're able to help the girl.

Debby said...

This is wonderful of us. thanks debby236 at gmail dot com

Larry Archer said...

Congrats on highlighting another great cause Lisabet. Las Vegas is also suffering through a historic drought which makes your post doubly meaningful to me. I've mentioned your post on my site also to hopefully add a few comment to your own. Foxy sends her love. F&L

Sadira Stone said...

Thanks for supporting this important cause.

Colleen C. said...

Thanks for sharing! Happy Sunday!

Tina Donahue said...

What a wonderful organization. Good for them!

Anna Taylor Sweringen said...

thank you for sharing about the work of this organization. This is what should be on the news

bn100 said...

nice to share
bn100candg at hotmail dot com

H.B. said...

Thank you for bringing attention the organization. I've never heard of it before and sounds like an interesting cause.

Cindi Knowles said...

I admire you for your heart to help others ❤️

Lucy Felthouse said...

Great cause as always, Lisabet!

Lisabet Sarai said...

This is a comment on behalf of Trix, who always has trouble with my blog!

Author H K Carlton said...

Another great cause, Lisabet.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Thanks to all for your comments. Rounding up, I'm about to go donate $30 to KHT.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Meanwhile, my winners are Kate and HK. (Authors are readers too!)

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