BAMBI Annual Report 2021

Published on: June 13, 2022

BAMBI’s outgoing committee, 2022

This report was presented at the annual general meeting held on 20 April, 2022.

Chairwoman’s report

When the world was ready to move on and thought the COVID-19 pandemic was coming to an end, we could not have been more wrong. BAMBI had to once again close all of our activities from April until the end of the year, including membership registrations and renewals. This resulted in a major decline in our income, and while we didn’t have major expenses, we still had fixed costs to cover. 

At the beginning of the year, BAMBI was just starting to recover from the closure in 2020. Attendance numbers were picking up, even with strict government restrictions in place. People were used to wearing a mask (even younger kids wore masks), booking a spot, and using hand gel. 

We moved our booking system from Google Forms to the paid application Typeform due to a lack of reliability from Google. 

We introduced a new type of playgroup, which we named ‘Premium Playgroups’. These playgroups offered better facilities and a greater variety and number of toys. They were held at Playville and Plantoys. 

In total, we ran ten playgroups, two Bumps activities (Baby Massage and Baby Rhyme Time), six activities for older kids, and one pop up playgroup, which were very successful. We had just enough time to hold our Yard Sale, from which all the proceeds went to support Home of Grace. A total of 2,092 families attended our events. 

Unfortunately, we were unable to organize our famous volunteer appreciation day, Halloween, and Christmas events.

2021 saw the departure of many of our volunteer families, bringing about the challenge of keeping BAMBI afloat. Our volunteers are the core of BAMBI and without all of them, there is no way for us to survive. 

At the beginning of 2022, we reached out to the community to find new volunteers and I’m happy to announce that we managed to form an executive board to manage operations while the chair position remains vacant, and fill many of our vacancies. This will help us to continue offering opportunities to bring the community together. 

This year we will be celebrating BAMBI’s 40th birthday. Mark your calendars! 

We are hoping 2022 will see, if not the end of COVID-19, at least the normalization of it, and we will be able to go back to offering you our full calendar of events by the end of the year. 

Thank you for your continued support. 

Gloria Pino
Former Chairwoman

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An address from BAMBI’s founder, Mel Habanananda

I am so sorry not to be able to join you all today especially as it is BAMBI’s 40th Birthday.

Forty years! I never dreamt all those years ago, when seven new mothers and myself got together to form ‘just a little support group for new mums’, that forty years on we would still be around as a somewhat bigger group, but still supporting new mums. 

In spite of BAMBI’s growth and development we still adhere to our ‘roots’, to our identity and values of  ‘Support and Friendship through the Common Bond of Parenthood’.

This has been our strength especially during the last two difficult years. During this time BAMBI has been able to continue thanks to our wonderful volunteers whose dedication and determination has been to ‘see us through and keep us going’.

To the ENTIRE committee and all of our wonderful volunteers I would like to quote Gloria when she wrote in 2021: 

“Thank you, each and every one of you for all your hard work, commitment and effort”.

I am filled with admiration for all that you have achieved through such difficult times. 

However, in spite of the difficulties, the last two years have given us the time to assess our weaknesses and strengths and to plan changes that will help us move forward and meet new challenges in the coming years. 

Today is a very important day for BAMBI because if it is to continue to develop, grow, and meet these future challenges, it needs help, it needs volunteers, it needs you, our members, to help to forge BAMBI’s future. 

BAMBI will always remain close to my heart; it has been a privilege to be part of a community of women who give friendship, love and support to each other. I have met many amazing women over the years and enjoyed many friendships, some that have endured to this day, and I hope that it will be the same for you. 

Thank you all for attending today and I hope that I’ll be able to meet you later in the year when we can get together to celebrate BAMBI’s 40th. 

With many good wishes and love,

Mel

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Bumps & Babies

2021 was a challenging year for the Bumps & Babies team. We only operated for six weeks from mid-February to late March due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

Emma remained in the voting position as Bumps & Babies coordinator. Yaz remained on the team as an assistant. 

The Bumps team facilitated a total of nine sessions in 2021, down from 37 sessions in 2020. This reflects the continued impact of COVID-19. During our limited run in 2021, the team welcomed and supported 94 families, down from 554 in 2020. Bumps processed 34 new memberships and two renewals in 2021. 

Jo joined the team in January 2022 and will take over as coordinator. Emma, Yaz and Sheena remain as assistants to Jo.

New Moon Postnatal Group

The New Moon postnatal group remained the cornerstone-offering of the Bumps team. The Baby Massage session held immediately before New Moon every Thursday was especially popular, consistently booking out within minutes each week. In three sessions we welcomed 29 families. 

Small World

Small World baby playgroup returned briefly in 2021 after being suspended in 2020 due to COVID-19. In 2021, we welcomed 58 families in four sessions. Baby Rhyme Time moved to a new slot prior to Small World on Tuesdays and remained popular. 

Bumps & Babies Support Group

The Bumps pregnancy advice and support group relaunched in mid-March 2021; however, we only managed to hold two sessions before lockdown. We welcomed seven families. 

Other Bumps Activities

  • 11 Bumps articles were published in BAMBI Magazine with contributions from all members of the Bumps team.
  • BAMBI Bumps found a new home at Bumpsy Daisy Café and renegotiated reduced rates for venue hire.
  • The Bumps team maintained contact with both Samitivej and Bumrungrad hospitals throughout 2021 and were effective in disseminating advice and support to families birthing during the lockdown. 

Plans for 2022

  • Recommence activities from March 2022 following an updated schedule.
    Baby Massage alternates with New Moon on Tuesdays, Baby Rhyme Time with Small World takes place on alternate Mondays, and Bumps & Babies (pregnancy advice) is held bi-monthly on weekends. This schedule remains under review subject to demand and COVID restrictions. 
  • Create more awareness about what Bumps & Babies offers as there are a lot of new mums in Bangkok who are not familiar with our support and services, especially after the lengthy suspension of all Bumps activities. We will aim to do this by promoting on social media platforms and in women’s groups. 

Playgroups

Playgroups were only operational between February and April 2021. These included: 

  • British Club playgroup  (British Club)
  • Saturday Ekkamai playgroup (Bright Skies International School)
  • Novotots playgroup  (Novotel Sukhumvit Soi 20)
  • Thonglor playgroup (Bangkok Prep International School)
  • Saturday Nana playgroup  (Storytime Preschool)
  • Riverside playgroup  (Darunbannalai Children’s Library)
  • Kiddieville playgroup (Playville)
  • Sunny Kids playgroup (Sunny Side Up)
  • Sathorn playgroup (PlanToys)

 In 2021, we opened two new playgroups:

  • Kiddieville playgroup (Playville)
  • Sathorn playgroup (PlanToys)

One playgroup was closed in 2021 as the venue was shut down for good:

  •  Sunny Kids playgroup (Sunny Side Up)

BAMBI playgroups were suspended on April 19th 2021 for the remainder of the year. We were able to resume operations on March 1st 2022.  

In total, 1,123 families attended the various BAMBI playgroups in Bangkok throughout the year. This reflects a decline of  53% on last year’s figure of 2,385. This is because playgroups were held only from February to mid-April due to COVID-19.  

At the end of 2021, the playgroup team had 24 volunteers, without whom all of these playgroups would not have happened. Unfortunately, in 2021 we were unable to hold our playgroups leaders breakfast meeting where all the volunteers can meet, socialize and share information.

Plans for 2022

  • Focus on finding new venues such as hotels and outdoor cafes to hold our playgroups. Schools are largely not available at the moment due to COVID restrictions.
  • The plan is to run profitable playgroups and to eventually move away from booking forms when the COVID-19 situation improves.
  • Recruit more volunteers to be able to reopen more playgroups.
  • Hold training sessions and breakfast meetings for our playgroup volunteers.

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Activities for older children

In 2021, five activities for children aged three to six were active between January and April 2021.

  • Creative Movement and Dance at RumPuree Dance Studio  
  • Football at Soltilo Familia Soccer School
  • Kung Fu at Thai-Chinese Shaolin Kung Fu
  • Toddler Music at Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok
  • Toddler Tunes at Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok

Our Play-based Nature activity at Bambini Villa was suspended during 2021 due to consecutive loss-making in 2020.

Due to COVID-19, BAMBI had to suspend all activities from April 2021 for the remainder of the year. Despite the lengthy closure however, we had over 800 participants for the activities in 2021. Before closing down in 2021, BAMBI activities had eight volunteers leading the activities.

We were able to resume activities in March 2022. We managed to reopen our Play-based Nature activity in March of this year at the new venue of Patom at Sukhumvit 49. We have also recruited a new teacher for our Toddler Tunes and Toddler Music sessions as the former teacher has left Thailand.

Plans for 2022

  • Recruit more activities leaders.
  • Open one new activity for older kids and one new activity for toddlers.
  • Look at possibilities to expand activities to the Sathorn area.
  • Reopen Kung Fu when we are able to adhere to the COVID-19 policy of the school.
  • Look at closing consecutive loss-making activities, e.g. dance.

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Events

In March, we held our Yard Sale. This sale included vendors who had booked to attend the sale postponed in February and new bookings that came through. We decided to move away from the school location after receiving feedback that it was difficult to access. The sale was instead held at Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok, and they generously gave us the space for free. We were thankful to receive 81 families eager to shop at our sponsored venue.

The total amount earned from the entrance and vendor table fees at the Yard Sale was ฿10,841.79, which we chose to donate to a local organization, Home of Grace. All the remaining items from the ‘swap shop’ were sent to the Home of Grace Community Store at the end of the event. We also sent on a generous number of material donations received from Yard Sale attendees. 

Due to COVID-19, our events plans were put on hold. We were forced to close BAMBI events between April until December, meaning that the Splash Bash, Halloween and Christmas  parties had to be canceled. 

Total income: ฿10,841.79 (47 member families, 34 non-member families) 

Plans for 2022

  • Recruit a new events coordinator
  • Yard Sale 
  • 40th birthday celebration 
  • Volunteer recruitment event

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New members and pop up playgroups

New Members Coffee Morning

Despite the COVID situation continuing, the new members/pop ups team managed to organize two New Members Coffee Mornings and one Pop Up Playgroup in 2021. 

We had our first New Members Coffee Morning at Honey Bear Bistro in Sukhumvit Soi Ekkamai in February. 15 new members along with their children joined and had the chance to get great styling tips from Miss Victoria Aramburu, who has worked to style many busy moms with simple, ready-to-go looks. Mon Panama, a well-known brand for one-of-a-kind, hand-woven hats and handbags brought along their beautiful accessories as props. Bringing guest speakers helped increase the number of participants and encouraged the people who attended to join BAMBI on the spot. 

In March, the New Members Coffee Morning was held at Melodies International School Kindergarten at Sukhumvit Soi 38. 25 new members came to our meeting to connect with other moms and discover what BAMBI has to offer. The school provided each family with individual toy boxes so that their children could play freely while they chatted with other moms. A number of participants signed up to become BAMBI members at this event. 

At a total of two coffee mornings, we received nine new member registrations and one membership renewal, which was a great result for the team. 

Pop Up Playgroups

Our popular Saturday Pop Up Playgroup was held on March 20th at Kids’ Academy International School Sensory Campus in Sukhumvit 63, Ekkamai Soi 2. We had a great turnout with 101 families joining us. The school provided us with an array of fun sensory activities for all children, such as arts and crafts, learning activities, water planting and circle time for babies led by a school playgroup teacher. The huge garden became a nature playground filled with different activities, and indoor classrooms became fun craft activity rooms. 

A total of seven new members signed up, and we received two membership renewals. We also had 30 non-members join this playgroup, which made this event a financial success.

Plans for 2022

  • Explore alternative venues to international schools such as outdoor cafés for both coffee mornings and pop up playgroups.

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BAMBI Magazine

In 2021 we published 11 issues of BAMBI Magazine. Copies were distributed to members and supporting organizations, including all playgroup venues. 104 articles were written by 85 individuals who donated their time and expertise to write articles of interest for our members. The number of articles was lower than in 2020 due to the COVID-19 lockdown. We had to reduce the pages in our issues in response to a drop in advertising but still managed to cover a wide range of topics for our readers. These included parenting tips, child development, disability, personal experiences from mothers and fathers, adoption, gender equality, racial diversity, mental health, crafts, education, Thai language and culture, expat life, and pre-and postnatal support.

We had numerous photo features, book reviews, children’s games, interviews, and content to support and inform members.

During 2021, together with the media and photography team, the image of BAMBI was redesigned in the magazine, creating a fresh and innovative brand that will connect with our new generations.

The BAMBI photo team led by K´Lee produced a diverse range of covers for the 11 issues. 

The editorial team remained stable with just a few changes. Francine stepped down as deputy editor, and Liz stepped into the role. Rina stepped down as editor, replaced by Eunice. One volunteer left the team, and three new members were welcomed.

While the magazine team did not meet as regularly as before as most members were busy with homeschooling duties, regular communication was maintained through the team chat and emails.

Plans for 2022  

  • Continue to source content that supports our readers by maintaining liaison with existing contributors and connecting with potential new contributors. This will also incorporate readers’ requests from the 2020 member survey. We aim to continue delivering content that is accessible and inclusive for all our members. 
  • Involve the BAMBI community in BAMBI’s 40th birthday celebrations. This will be the primary focus in the April 2022 issue, but the editorial team will try to feature content showcasing BAMBI’s journey over the years in each successive issue. 
  • Bring a fresh update to the magazine with a new editor.
  • Update the editorial style guide to ensure consistency and ease in the work of our assistant editors. 
  • Continue receiving additional editorial support where needed from our publisher, ScandMedia. 
  • Provide team members who wish to expand their skills with more development opportunities, and get everyone together more regularly to plan BAMBI Magazine’s next steps and strategies.

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Media activities

In 2021, Facebook continued to be the main stream of communication with our members in terms of promoting our playgroups and events. We invested a great deal of time in planning and implementing new strategies to ensure this communication was effective and clear. 

A content calendar was created to help plan all the social media posts across the organization and ensure that we were promoting and featuring all venues fairly while making sure they were clear to our members. We aimed to post five to six times per week.

A brand guideline was also developed to ensure that moving forward, all communication platforms look the same and there is consistent branding. This brand guideline is being used on Facebook, the website and the magazine. Color palettes, fonts, layouts, and logos are a few of the things that can be found in the new brand guideline. The media team also worked closely with the photography team to ensure the look and feel of all creative and member-focused material were aligned, and this task is ongoing. 

With the importance of and focus on improving the BAMBI brand, we also created a new logo for BAMBI, which will be rolled out in 2022. When designing the new logo, the brief was to ensure that it stayed true to the BAMBI brand but added a modern edge.

Plans for 2022

  • Roll out the new logo across all platforms and launch it side by side with the 40th birthday. This will also involve updating all elements and creative content that currently have the old logo on it. 
  • Launch an Instagram account to give our existing and new members a snapshot of what it is like to be part of the BAMBI community. 
  • Increase promotion of the BAMBI Magazine on Facebook with weekly article features. 

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Membership and database

At the start of 2021, Liz stepped down from the role of database coordinator. She developed extensive training materials and provided one-on-one training to Briana, who took over the role in March 2021.

Due to the suspension of BAMBI offerings during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, new and renewal membership registration was suspended in January and again from April until December. 

In the months that operations were open, 215 families became new members. 80% of the total membership registrations were new members and 20% were renewals. 

To support our members and families, a ten-month complimentary extension was granted to all members who were active mid-April 2021. Including the complimentary extensions, BAMBI ended 2021 with 1,070 active members.

Plans for 2022

  • Ensure current memberships are valid and updated following automatic extensions.
  • Return to processing new and renewal memberships.
  • Continue supporting playgroups and activities volunteers in membership and database-related processes.

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Member benefits

In 2021, the list of members’ discounts did not change significantly as many businesses were closed during the lockdown of Bangkok. 

Plans for 2022

  • Update and expand the current list of discounts.
  • Continue promoting on Facebook to raise awareness of member benefits as the majority of our members don’t know about all the discounts they can have.

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Website

In 2021, we organized the system to reduce the workload of volunteers and to make it more user-friendly.

We made four major updates:

1. The expense report and the expense form, which were launched in 2020, were finalized. These enable volunteers to submit financial information easily. Furthermore, the finance team can check the information that they need quickly, which also reduces their workload.

2. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all events required pre-registration. We moved to Typeform to create booking forms to limit the numbers of attendees in an organized manner. Using Typeform allowed us to make the registration form easier to manage. The form closes automatically when the participant limit has been reached, and the data can be tallied and managed automatically. Additionally, Typeform provides our members with a better user experience when making their booking.

3. We worked with the media team to change the font on the web page and ensure consistency with content posted on our Facebook page. This helped to make our content easier for people to recognize, regardless of the platform used. We also created some logos and images for playgroups, activities, and Bumps & Babies on the website to make the information posted even more accessible.

 4. We updated all QR codes in order to reflect the new price structure.

Alongside these updates, the website team was in charge of maintaining the website so that it remained up to date. This was—and continues to be—an extremely important task as it is the number one source of information for our members.

Plans for 2022

  • Begin the process of digitizing our membership card.
  • Update all content on the website in line with the new brand guidelines.
  • Find a solution to the challenges faced when installing website updates.
  • Continue supporting all the different teams while interacting with all the different systems created.

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Charities

A review of BAMBI’s strategy conducted in 2020 resulted in a significant reduction to the charities budget for 2021 compared to the year before. The annual budget for 2020 was ฿400,000. A budget of ฿100,000 was approved by the committee for 2021. There were a number of factors behind the decision to reduce the charities budget:

1. A large sum of surplus money refunded by the 2017 Tribunal had been digested.

2. We had experienced a sharp drop in income from members and new members due to the restrictions placed on all BAMBI activities, including playgroups, by the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. The retention of the previous budget amounts would put pressure on BAMBI’s own finances and make it difficult to achieve the objectives of its activities.

In 2021, we supported two organizations/projects: 

  1. Tchin Tcho Nursery/Baan Dek Foundation

Total donation: ฿100,000

Baan Dek Foundation works to support children living in construction site camps in Chiang Mai by providing access to education, health, and safety services.

Tchin Tcho Nursery is a registered critical care nursery for vulnerable children aged 1.5–4 years who are at risk of neglect and/or abuse, or living in unsafe environments. They provide children with a safe environment and the opportunity to develop essential skills. BAMBI has been supporting the nursery since 2019.

In addition to monetary donations, BAMBI Charities also organized a donation of material items through a ‘toy drive’ in July.  Many BAMBI members participated by donating used toys, educational materials, and children’s clothing. The items were delivered to Tchin Tcho Nursery and to the young children in construction site camps in Chiang Mai. 

  1. Terres Karens Association/ Giving Tree Project

Total donation: Non-monetary donation of 59 gift bags from BAMBI members

Giving Tree is an annual year-end charity project organized by the Terres Karens Association which arranges end-of-year gift bags for children in Karen villages in the mountains of northern Thailand (The Song Yang District). These children are living among less privileged families and communities. The bags provide each child with clothing, school essentials, books, and toys in the spirit of the year-end festive season. Following on from 2020, a basic hygiene kit was also included in each bag in 2021 to assist with COVID-19 prevention.

BAMBI Charities appealed for members to support the program, and a total of 59 bags were donated and handed to the project organizer on 30 November 2021 at Bumpsy Daisy Café and Community.  Through the project, more than 500 children from nine villages were supported. All bags were successfully delivered to the children by February 2022.

Plans for 2022

  • Continue to work with the ฿100,000 budget and either pick one charity or split amongst a couple. 
  • Increase focus on non-monetary donations through charity drives at events and playgroups.
  • Continue support of the Giving Tree project at Christmas time.
BAMBI’s incoming committee 2022

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BAMBI financial summary 2021

Unit: THBJan to Dec 20Jan to Dec 21Percentage change year-over-year
Revenue
Playgroups395,050.00333,350.00-16%
Events46,020.006,327.74-86%
Memberships528,650.23239,800.00-55%
Misc. Revenue11,200.551,453.30-87%
Total Revenue980,920.78580,931.04-41%
Expenses
Advertising15,824.001,601.00-90%
Office Expenses47,301.7115,305.04-68%
Meeting Expenses225,072.0138,806.80-83%
Maid/Cleaning26,740.0026,740.000%
Transportation/Parking90,770.0930,545.53-66%
Vendors at events68,150.000.00-100%
Supplies62,490.062,844.00-95%
Gifts to Volunteers114,809.3125,000.00-78%
IT, Computer, Domain527,312.32258,649.24-51%
Professional Fees205,900.0090,200.00-56%
Rent and Rates (Venues)556,673.00253,205.59-55%
Donations (Charities)328,740.00110,841.79-66%
Non Deductible & Depreciation223,384.77163,132.10-27%
Total Expenses2,493,167.271,016,871.09-59%
Profit (Loss) for the Year-1,401,801.49-435,940.05-69%
BAMBI financial summary 2021

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Treasurer

In 2021, BAMBI’s treasurer team experimented with a new team structure of treasurer, financial analyst, and bookkeeper, plus treasurer assistants. This was successful until half the team returned to their home countries. Ai stepped up as treasurer for several months until she returned to her home country, after which Jex, the financial analyst, resumed the treasurer duties. 

Significant achievements for 2021 include a new volunteer reimbursement system, successfully navigating a bank merger, processing more than ฿1 million worth of payments, and maintaining a detailed handover file for future treasurers.

In 2021, the website team and treasurer finalized the new system and reports for volunteer reimbursements. This has made it much easier and faster for volunteers to submit their expenses for reimbursement, and it has also streamlined the workload for the treasurer team.

BAMBI’s bank accounts were previously held at Thanachart bank, which merged with TMB to form ttb in July 2021. This affected our bank account numbers, our online account access, and our checkbooks. We were able to retain enough access to keep operating, and we are currently working to regain all of the access we had previously.

Plans for 2022

  • Farewell the former treasurer and current financial analyst, Jex, as she prepares to return to her home country.  
  • Welcome new treasurer Sanam to lead the team.
  • Outsource backend record checking and documentation management to an administrative accountant at SAS Group to provide increased continuity and assist in keeping our overall accounting costs lower. 
  • Further research the process to move BAMBI’s payments from a hard-copy check-writing process to a digital payment system to reduce the treasurer’s workload and BAMBI’s payment processing timeline.

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Financial analyst

BAMBI has spent more than it has earned for the last several years, so we identified a need for a financial analyst. Jex stepped up and created a detailed annual budget and a transaction tracking system. 

The budget was created by the financial analyst to help BAMBI rein in spending. At the beginning of 2021, at BAMBI’s current rate of spending, it was projected that the organization would run out of money by mid-2023. Despite the lengthy closure due to COVID-19, which meant no income, our work over the year has pushed that event out to early 2025.

At the beginning of 2021, BAMBI was two years behind with its annual audits. With the help of a new auditor, Khun Tan at S.T. Accounting & Taxation, Jex was able to close out the audits for 2018, 2019, and 2020. The accountant remains Miyuki Taniguchi at Almet Asia Co. Ltd.

Plans for 2022

  • Continue to increase revenue and decrease expenses to further postpone our ‘go broke’ date.
  • Utilize the 2022 budget and make spending adjustments throughout the year as appropriate.
  • Continue developing a strategic plan for sustainability. This will include a series of ‘trip wires’—financial benchmarks that will indicate that certain budgetary adjustments must be made. 
  • Continue to monitor spending and use more recent data to influence current and future projections.
  • Complete 2022 audit on time to avoid late fees.

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Event photos by Sayuri.


We welcome any questions you may have on the above information. Please write to us at treasurer@bambiweb.org or chairwoman@bambiweb.org.

The views expressed in the articles in this magazine are not necessarily those of BAMBI committee members and we assume no responsibility for them or their effects. BAMBI Magazine welcomes volunteer contributors to our magazine. Please contact editor@bambiweb.org.

 

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