A guide to women’s groups in Bangkok
Formed in 1969, the British Women’s Group Bangkok (BWG) consists of a voluntary committee of around 20 women. The group organizes a range of activities and services for both its members, and newcomers to Bangkok, including monthly gatherings, and excursions—such as a recent day trip to Khao Yai Wineries—along with regular weekly activities, such as golf outings, art and crafts groups, book club, and tennis. In addition, the BWG is also involved in supporting a large number of Thai charities, including Helping Hands, Soi Cats and Dogs, and the Bangkok Refugee Centre. The next major fundraising event, ‘Night of Music on the River’, will be held on March 18th. All events are advertised in the bi-monthly Contact magazine and on their website.
First formed in 1954, the Australian Women’s Group (AWG) officially merged with the New Zealand Women’s Group (NZWG) in 1983 to become the ANZWG. The group’s primary goals are to promote friendship amongst its members, and to encourage and support each other. This is done via the organization of regular weekly activities, monthly excursions within and beyond Bangkok, as well as through social and fundraising events that fill up the group’s social calendar, the highlight being the annual Melbourne Cup Charity Luncheon in November. The luncheon and the sale of the group’s two publications—The Bangkok Guide: The Essential Guide to Living in Bangkok, and The Bangkok Guide: Relocation Essentials (eBook)—provide a major source of funds for welfare and community projects, which range from educational scholarships, renovation of bathrooms, kitchen and bedrooms at an orphanage, to the provision of beds at a school.
The American Women’s Club (AWC) was first organized in 1955, and is open to all woman living in Thailand (not just Americans). By organizing different activities, including mahjong, tennis, yoga, and cultural excursions in and around Bangkok—as well as monthly membership gatherings—the AWC helps its new and present members to meet, and get to know Bangkok and the Nichada Thani communities (expat towns). In addition, the AWC also supports the Thai community with its primary target being women and children. “AWC’s core focus is our Scholarship Program,” explains president Lauri Barrett. “We raise funds and solicit scholarship support from individuals in the sponsorship of one Thai girl from rural Thailand with limited resources, providing her with the funds to allow her to continue her high school education.” To date, the scholarship committee has supported 7,000 underprivileged women to complete their last three years of school.
The Soroptimist International Club of Bangkok (SIB) is the local branch of a global volunteer organization working together to transform the lives of women and girls. Consisting of five federations, the SIB, as well as their second Thailand club—SI Dusit—are part of the federation of SI South West Pacific, with chapters in 12 other countries in this region. The organization was established in 1977, and currently consists of 24 active members from six nationalities—both Thai and non-Thai. Over the past 40 years, SIB has sponsored different annual projects to improve lives women and children in Thailand, ranging from scholarships and construction projects, to workshops at a women’s prison, and child care support. To raise funds for these projects, the SIB organizes an annual gala fundraising event, which, in 2017, will be the Combined Women’s Luncheon event, hosted in collaboration with the SI Dusit on June 17th.