In this newsletter, among other things: What the 'Heeren van Sminia' did for us, English lessons for 'mountain children​'​ and how Oai got a job​
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Hello everyone,

I have been back in Chiang Mai for about a month now after my visit to the Netherlands. It is still in my mind; great things happened there.
Besides the beautiful and successful ‘Heeren van Sminia’ gala event, one of our sponsors committed to finance the seven village libraries in Cambodia. A great weight off our shoulders! They have also asked if there were other projects they could fund.
A foundation we have not previously worked with asked us to send them a proposal. If approved, they will finance one of our projects for three years. 
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Project update

English classes opens doors to a future with prospects for 60 disadvantaged children at ‘Tomato Village’. Read More

In the picture

From 'caretaker' to KiddyColor's KidsKioskkeeper and from volunteer to creperie entrepreneur. Read more

Do you know

Continued cooperation with University of St. Gallen: Students organise eye glasses project. Read more

About us

For their first anniversary, the 'Heeren van Sminia' offered us a wonderful fundraising gala dinner. Read more


In the Dutch city of Zevenaar I met six enthusiastic students from the Liemers College. For the next year and a half they have committed to support our library project in Cambodia.

Furthermore, we can keep Tomato Village Learning Centre open for another six months and guarantee English lessons to 60 underprivileged students. We continue to seek further funding.

Just announced: The Dutch foundation 'De Grootste Familie Helpt', who are linked to a Dutch broadcasting organisation, will donate almost € 5,000 for the construction of toilets in impoverished villages in Cambodia.

Not so good news was the huge fall of the Euro. This has major consequences for our financial position and thus for the work we can do. For example, instead of building the planned 19 toilets we probably can only build 15. This worries us.

Thanks to you we have been able to achieve a lot in the past year. On behalf of everyone we were able to help, because of that, thank you so much. We hope we can keep counting on your support.

Enjoy reading our diverse newsletter!


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Growing support for the Tomato Village Learning Centre

The continuation of the Tomato Village Learning Centre for most of 2015 is secured. The school was founded in 2004 but unfortunately lost its initial funder last year.

Thanks to Briton Tony Mann we have been able to keep the school open. He is one of our generous sponsors who, in the name of his late wife Nancy, covered all costs for 2014.

To ensure the continuity for 2015, we found the Dutch ‘Jars of Clay Foundation’ willing to sponsor most of this year. On their website they explain why they chose our project.

“The focus of our organisation is to improve the situation of disadvantaged children. Everyone who knows us will agree to that. This is an important reason why we are committed to an English school in Ban Huai Makhuea Som, a small remote village in the mountains of Northern Thailand. We support this important project in Thailand through the Philanthropy Connections Foundation, who is dedicated to help vulnerable children in this region.”

The ‘Tomato Village Learning Centre’ is an important and precious project for Philanthropy Connections. Learning the English language is a means to a future with more prospects. We are delighted that both Tony Mann and Jars of Clay Foundation are committed to this educational project.

Burmese caretaker lands a job through Philanthropy Connections

For a year Hsam Noan, in a wonderful way, took care of the girls from ‘our’ shelter for Burmese refugee children at the Koung Jor camp.

Back in her homeland Burma her attempt to secure a safe existence for herself did not bear fruit. She then came to us for help; she was looking for a job to support her young son and her unemployed husband.

We put her in contact with Renske from KiddyColors, one of our sponsors.

Renske recounts:

“Indeed, thanks to Sallo I came to know Oai, as she likes to call herself. At first I didn’t have a job for her, something I really would have liked, but at that time I had insufficient funds to pay her a salary."

"When I got an offer to sell the products of KiddyColors in a big shopping mall, I immediately thought of Oai."
"At that moment she was working in a small factory where she sewed car seat covers. She felt discriminated by her colleagues and was highly underpaid."

“With great enthusiasm she is now working at the Kids Kiosk of KiddyColors. I lent her money to buy a scooter. Every month she pays back a small amount. She is excellent at her job, speaks very good English and she enjoys working for us. She has now moved to a small house closer to the city and became friends with her coworkers”.

“Oai is a great asset for our company!”

Michelle Emmel takes on a new challenge in the Netherlands

A year ago Dutch volunteer Michelle arrived in Chiang Mai, together with her boyfriend Bart. They wanted to gain new experiences in a totally different environment.

Michelle was already familiar with non-profit organisations, so the step to start working for Philanthropy Connections did not come unexpectedly.

She has been working for us for almost a year now and PR, communication and fundraising are among her responsibilities. She has no problem though taking on other tasks that come up in the office. Michelle is a wonderful colleague and an excellent sound board for Sallo.

Unfortunately we need to say goodbye to her next week. A new opportunity in her and Bart’s life has presented itself - the couple will open a mobile creperie in their home country, the Netherlands. We're going to miss Michelle's tremendous commitment and her enthusiasm. But at the same time we wish her all the best with her new venture.

Eye glasses project by students University of St. Gallen

Philanthropy Connections offers a wide array of services. We often arrange financial support for worthy projects, but we also contact other institutions, who can contribute their expertise to organisations we already work with. This way those organisations also benefit from our partners’ support.

Over four years ago we connected the Swiss University of St. Gallen to our Cambodian partner ‘KAKO’. Since then, we work closely together with a changing group of master students 'Strategy and International Management’.

This is maybe stating the obvious, but glasses allow people with impaired eyesight to see better. For many disadvantaged people in Asia however, glasses simply aren’t affordable. It’s a Catch 22: good eyesight increases the chances of a successful, independent and full participation in society.

In areas around Siem Reap there are about 10,000 people suffering from poor vision.

In their project ‘inSight Cambodia’, the current seven St. Gallen students of ‘Helping KAKO’ have made it their mission to provide glasses to at least 500 people by the end of this year. In collaboration with local partners eye tests are conducted and glasses with custom cut lenses are offered to people who could otherwise not afford them.

To illustrate the dire medical situation in this specific area:

  • There is only one doctor per 33,000 inhabitants
  • The average daily income € 2.50
  • 10,000 people are visually impaired

Most problems can simply be solved with good glasses, custom made for each individual. This is something the students want to accomplish.

A warm welcome for Philanthropy Connections at the ‘Heeren van Sminia’ gala dinner

A special invitation for Sallo; not only was he offered a ticket to visit his home country, the Netherlands, just before Christmas; the ticket came with the request to represent Philanthropy Connections at a fundraising gala dinner organised by the ‘Heeren van Sminia’, an exclusive service club for entrepreneurs and executives.

In the Dutch city of Leeuwarden, home base of the ‘Heeren van Sminia’ more than 200 guests offered a warm welcome.

The man behind the ‘Heeren van Sminia‘, Mr. Geert Schaaij made Philanthropy Connections the single charitable beneficiary of the evening. He, his wife Gea and a group of dedicated contributors moved mountains to organise the event.

This Christmas gift that was offered to us, was an evening that included an impressive auction, a raffle and artists who performed pro bono. All proceeds go straight to Philanthropy Connections.

The gala was hosted by TV personality Catherine Keyl, who has been our board member from the start, and has been invaluable for us in many ways.

The auction items were spectacular: among other things, the suit that famous Dutch singer Gerard Joling wore for King William Alexander's Coronation day, a painting by celebrated artist Ans Markus, a supporting role in a film directed by renowned film maker Steven de Jong and the use of a private jet for a day all came under the hammer of the auctioneer.

Sallo was deeply impressed by the evening: "To to get this kind of support is simply fantastic. It is heartwarming and very motivating. We can continuously do more, for more people in need ".

A great many thanks to the ‘Heeren van Sminia‘ and to all who have contributed!

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