Unique Event Raises Over a Million Baht for Worthy Causes
In early November last year, the Areca Lodge in Pattaya hosted the third annual Ladyboy Water Volleyball Competition, a charity event supported by the Pattaya Rotary Club and believed to be the only tournament of its kind in the world.
The brainchild of Tony Sales, a man who is keen to show ladyboys (transgenders/transsexuals) in a positive light, the 2014 tournament generated donations of over 1.4 million Baht. Less tournament expenses and a deduction set aside towards the staging of the 2015 event at the end of this year, in practical terms the initiative raised just over a million Baht for local charities, including main beneficiaries Camillian Home and the Heart 2000 Foundation.
The St. Camillus Foundation’s Camillian Home is a registered non-profit children’s charity operating in the Latkrabang area of Bangkok. It was founded by Father Giovanni Contrain, an Italian priest who has worked extensively with Thailand’s poor and disadvantaged for almost 30 years. The home provides a refuge for orphaned and abandoned children living with disabilities and serious illnesses, including HIV/AIDS. Children at the home are brought up in an atmosphere of love and are taught to overcome their disabilities so that they can be valuable members of society. The home receives very little government support and instead survives on generous donations from individuals, corporations and initiatives such as the Ladyboy Water Volleyball Competition.
The Heartt 2000 Foundation has also been working for a number of years to support those suffering from HIV/ AIDS. Established in Pattaya in 1998 by French national Dr Philippe Seur, to date Heartt 2000 has assisted many thousands of patients by raising funds through private and corporate donations to purchase anti-retro-viral drugs that combat the disease. In line with Dr Philippe’s mission, in addition to providing free medical care, the foundation’s volunteer doctors and supporters also fight to dispel the social stigma, ongoing discrimination, ignorance and nonchalance that surrounds HIV/AIDS.
In spite of a rainy November day, more than 350 people turned up for the third Ladyboy Water Volleyball charity tournament, which featured teams from eight bars: Temptations and Check-In from Bangkok, and Baby Boom, Kings Bar, La Bamba Bar, Sensations, Stringfellows and TJ’s from Pattaya. An exciting day of watery fun ended with a close-fought final match victory for Sensations over Baby Boom. Following the sporting action, the indomitable competitors swapped swimming costumes for glamorous stage outfits to become graceful musical entertainers at an event-closing gala dinner.
Staging such an occasion involves many people and takes around 6 months of planning. Many aspects can be managed by volunteers as a sub-project of the overall event. If you live in Thailand and would like to contribute your time and skills, the organizers are always on the lookout for volunteers willing to help with; artwork and design – posters, tickets, flyers, score cards, banners, coupons and certificates; logistics management – equipment check and set-up; refereeing (4 referees required for the tournament); admin and accounting; ticketing; team liaison; event photography; and the prize raffle – securing prizes such as hotel/restaurant vouchers, perfumes, alcohol, jewellery and so on.
The date for the 2015 Ladyboy Water Volleyball Competition will be posted in February/March on the lbwvb.com website, where contact information for the organizers can also be had.