Hand to Hand by Kevin Cain
By Kevin Cain
PATTAYA TRADER WERE PROUD TO BE ONE OF THE SPONSORS OF THE RECENT SOULED OUT EVENING AT ACCESS INN. HOWEVER, RATHER THAN JUST SEND YOU MORE PHOTOS OF US ALL DRINKING AND HAVING FUN, WE THOUGHT YOU MIGHT LIKE TO SEE WHERE THE MONEY RAISED GOES AND SO WE SENT KEVIN TO HAND TO HAND TO INVESTIGATE.
When first meeting Margaret Grainger or Margi as her friends know her, I became drawn to her magnetic personality and the obvious vim and vigour that is her driving force. Margi has been one of the main beneficiaries of the money raised from the fun evenings of Soul. Motown and Northern Soul Music that have been taking place in Pattaya over the last four years.
Not all the punters that attend these brilliant nights realise that all the proceeds are donated to local charities, the Hand to Hand Foundation Pattaya being the recipient of a mavellous 61,000 baht from the most recent event.
The foundation was formed to help underprivileged children from all backgrounds with everything from education to clothing and even shelter. Margi is the founder and Vice President of Hand to Hand and the ticking heart of the whole operation. When I asked what her motivation was for doing all this she simply said: Come with me.
I then began an extensive tour of the new building and went to meet the children. Margi wanted to explain to people where the money donated by Souled Out, had gone to and how important their continued support was. I could not fathom why an explanation was needed, after all the night was a cracker and everybody got plenty of value for their entrance fee. But Margi knows that making people aware of what Hand to Hand is all about is vitally important.
Before I arrived at the Foundation from even a Soi away, I could hear the babbling excitement of young voices. Margi had previously warned me that I would hear the Foundation long before I could see it and she was spot on. There is something about the sound of children's laughter that cannot fail to bring a warm glow to a person and a smile as big as a Hollywood dentists's. No wonder Margi enjoys her vocation as much as she does, it certainly is an enviable environment for anyone to work in and a tonic for the soul.
All the children attending were from local slums and Margi was at pains to explain that their care was totally free. She told me people had brought more privileged kids to her and offered to pay for their education and she had turned them down. If you have money you don't come here, she explained.
The children were all busy in their groups either playing, studying or brushing up on their musical education in the new music room. I was surprised that nearly all the kids, even the smallest ones could speak some English. Margi informed me that the children are educated in both Thai and English as soon as they arrive, I was staggered that these unfortunate tots would soon become bi-lingual.
The services Hand to Hand offer for the kids are considerable; from baby care, pre-school, scholarships, a kid's club and ministry duties. All the children are from low income families, one parent environments or victims of domestic abuse and nearly all plucked from severe poverty. Hand to Hand gives them a chance in life and a break from the difficulties they all have at home during the time they attend.
The Foundation exists totally by the generosity of donations; either food, toys, clothes, stationery or even the sponsorship of a child. Margi will accept any second hand toys that you may have and they will be especially valued at this time of year by the children. Info at www.handtohandpattaya.com
Leaving such a wonderful, inspiring place I could not help but think Thank God the world still has people in it like Margi Grainger and all her voluntary colleagues. They make such a difference to so many lives and some that are so small, tiny and fragile they can't even understand the work that is being done for them. But to look at their smiling, beaming faces it seems that they do know that somebody special cares for them.
“Souled Out” is an excellent vehicle to drive awareness and contribute well needed cash to such worthwhile causes. Soul music has always been driven from the heart and as it's very name suggests it has a conscience. And nothing could be more apt than this music providing much needed help.
So pour more talc on the floor, crank up Frank Wilson and get yourself to the next night, not only will you have great fun but also you will be helping the children of Pattaya.
The next Souled Out event is scheduled for March 2016 at Access Inn on 3rd Road Pattaya. Check out their Facebook page and of course notifications from The Pattaya Trader to make sure you attend have a fun evening and raise money for worthy causes.