Chairwoman’s Report 2016
Published on: May 03, 2017
Every year, BAMBI looks back and remembers all that has been done and accomplished in the previous 12 months. Here is a summary of our activities and achievements in 2016 and a small look into our plans for 2017.
By Triin Kassis
Every year before the Annual General Meeting in March the BAMBI Committee takes the time to look back at the previous calendar year and remember all that has been done and accomplished. The following report will bring to you a summary of our activities and achievements in 2016 and will also give you a small look into our plans for 2017.
In 2016 we continued to bring to you our Bumps & Babies Sessions, Playgroups, Yard Sales, Party Events, WOMBLES dinners and BAMBI Pattaya activities. As new additions, the year 2016 saw the start of Bumps & Babies New Moon Postnatal Group, Small World Playgroup for babies 0-18m, Activities for older kids aged 3-6 years, and Pop-up Playgroups.
We also tried new events for our Committee and held a “Let’s Dream About BAMBI” Workshop where we discussed what to improve in BAMBI in the year to come.
In conclusion, we can say it was a busy year with quite some interesting changes. Throughout the year we have had fun serving you and we hope you have enjoyed what BAMBI has brought to you in 2016!
I would like to use this opportunity to thank the amazing team of BAMBI volunteers for all their ideas, time and effort they have put into BAMBI! We are fortunate to have so many mums (and dads) among us who, in addition to enjoying BAMBI’s services, also want to contribute to making BAMBI run and grow. Nothing in BAMBI would happen if there wasn’t a passionate and energetic volunteering member behind it. So a big applause to all of you!
Bumps & Babies (and BAMBI Library)
2016 saw a lot of new activity for the Bumps and Babies team as they took steps to improve the services offered to pregnant and postnatal mums in Bangkok.
In total, the number of sessions the Bumps team offered increased from 27 sessions in 2015 to 91 sessions in 2016. Total attendance rose steeply, increasing 5.5 times with the additional sessions on offer: from 169 session participants in 2015 to 932 session participants in 2016.
The Antique Café on Sukhumvit 31 has continued to be a comfortable and convenient location for our members and has been able to accommodate our growing sessions on a private hire model.
In February 2016, the New Moon Weekly Postnatal Group began on Tuesday mornings. It aimed to give postnatal mothers a safe and supportive environment to share their experiences and build their community and has been a big hit with our members.
Following requests from BAMBI members, September saw the launch of the weekly Small World Playgroup, BAMBI’s only playgroup for zero- to 18-month-olds. It has been incredibly well attended since it began.
November 2016 saw the first evening Bumps and Babies session run by midwife Emma on Labour 101, to give working families the opportunity to attend.
Bumps and Babies made several purchases this year to improve our services:
- Toys and mats for the Small World Playgroup
- Infant choking and CPR mannequin for first aid demonstrations
- 2 new TENS devices for rental, bringing the total up to 5 units – offering our members in the late stage of pregnancy an effective method of non-pharmacological pain relief for labor.
Other special activities:
Following feedback from our members about the inconsistent breastfeeding support on offer at local hospitals, Bumps and Babies conducted a breastfeeding survey about women’s experiences at Bangkok’s hospitals. The results were reported back to our members and to BNH, Bumrungrad and Samitivej Hospitals, to give them the opportunity to use this valuable feedback to improve patient experience.
The Bumps team have continued to meet with Samitivej Hospital to offer the feedback of our members in the hopes of improving the quality of maternity care offered there; this is still ongoing.
Due to the unsatisfactory results from the survey, BAMBI decided in September 2016 to stop accepting monetary sponsorship and magazine advertisements from hospitals.
By the end of 2016, BAMBI had running six steady and popular playgroups:
- Sawatdi Playgroup (IPC International Kindergarten)
- British Club Playgroup (British Club)
- Sukhumvit 31 Playgroup (First Steps International Pre-School)
- Riverside Playgroup (Shrewsbury International school), 1-2 times a month
- Bang Na Playgroup (Berkeley International School)
- Daddy’s Playgroup (Storytime Preschool and Bright Skies International School)
In total, 3,700 families attended the playgroups throughout the year.
During the year we opened one more playgroup at the Little Pea at the Commons, but this had to be closed a few months later because it was an afternoon playgroup and, due to heavy traffic in the area, it was difficult for our members to go there. 2016 also saw the closure of Nana Playgroup and Daddy’s Playgroup at Storytime Preschool, due to low numbers of participation.
At the end of the year, we added a new type of playgroup into our schedule: monthly pop-up playgroups/family mornings. These are non-regular playgroups that ‘pop up’ every month in different kindergartens/schools, and offer our members a chance to spend a fun Saturday morning with their families while at the same time getting to know different kindergartens/schools in Bangkok. The first one took place in November at NIST International School, and the next ones are already planned for the first half-year of 2017.
All these playgroups would not happen without our busy playgroup leaders. To thank them and for them to share information, two Playgroups Leaders Breakfasts were organized this year for all playgroup leaders and co-leaders (15 persons).
Activities for Older Kids
In 2016, BAMBI started a new service: Activities for older kids aged 3-6 years.
We started with BAMBI Amaze English class from April 2016 and held 11-12 sessions, but had to close it due to low attendance. It was a very useful experience, however, and we learned what we can we do more and better.
We opened BAMBI Football Classes at SP International School from October 2016. This class works well and we are happy to continue this sports activity on the 1st Monday of every month. In 2016, we had in total about eight sessions attended by about 120 members.
The newest addition to the older kids’ Activities is the BAMBI Explorers Club at Bright Skies International School. It is a special mix of different activities that encourage kids to explore.
In 2016 BAMBI held two party events. Another event was canceled:
- January: Holiday Party at Singapore International School of Bangkok, Ekkamai Campus. It was an active and successful event with 100 families attending. The highlight of the event was a real Chinese dragon and lion dancing/acrobat show.
- April: Splash Party at the British Club. The always-popular Splash Party attracted 65 families and offered lots of pool and playtime fun for the kids.
- October: Halloween Party. Due to the unfortunate event in Thailand in October, BAMBI joined the nation in mourning and our Halloween Party was canceled. But we kept all our great ideas and decorations for next year and are ready to do the party in October 2017.
In 2016 BAMBI held three Yard Sales, in March, May, and September. The sales were all successful with 30-40 vendors and on average 300 shoppers. All three events were held at the St. Andrew’s International School on Sukhumvit 71.
Unfortunately, we did not find enough volunteers this year to organize the BAMBI Bazaar, which usually takes place in November.
In addition to our own events, BAMBI participated in three events at Bumrungrad Hospital: Zumbathon and Bringing Up Baby events in March, and Living in Bangkok in September.
New Members Coffee Mornings
2016 saw the increase in the number of new members coffee mornings, from once a month to twice. One coffee morning is held traditionally at IPC International Pre-School. This coffee morning is very popular among Japanese members. Another coffee morning called the ‘Café Coffee morning’ is held at different cafes in Bangkok, to be closer to and attract new members from different parts of the city.
The New Members Coordinator has invited speakers every other month to the new members coffee mornings. Interesting topics have ranged from face yoga to kids football. This has helped to increase the number of participants as well as the number of new members joining.
This year the Member Benefits Coordinator moved also under the New Members team and has been working closely with the team. The list of benefits has been updated and BAMBI stickers made for the sponsors so that the BAMBI member discounts will be made more visible at the shops/playgroups/etc.
BAMBI News Magazine
Eleven issues including a July/August combined issue of BAMBI News magazine were published this year for delivery to members’ homes and for distribution at BAMBI playgroups and events.
Most of the PDF versions were available for downloading by members through the BAMBI website, although there were some glitches in getting those up in a timely manner.
Over 50 volunteer writers contributed to the magazine over the year, and the works of four photographers graced the covers. Topics covered included pre- and postnatal issues, education, health, recipes, crafts and activities, parenting advice, reviews, and more. Attempts were made to use online surveys to increase interactivity of the magazine, but with minimal success.
A total of two volunteers served as Editor, five as Assistant Editors, and one as Photo Editor throughout the year; at least four of these volunteers have been with the magazine for nearly two years so we are happy to have a strong and steady team.
BAMBI donated this year about 8% of its net income to charity. Charities money was raised through our Yard Sales entrance fees, charities table at the Yard Sales, rental service fees, paid website-classifieds. small activities at other events, and BAMBI Pattaya Playgroups.
In a new initiative, the BAMBI Charities Team worked in partnership with the St. Andrews 71 students involved in the Creativity Action Service (CAS) program at our Yard Sale in September. As part of the International Baccalaureate studies students are required to complete projects of community service and charitable enterprise. The CAS team collected donations of used baby and child goods and toys in the weeks leading up to the sale and ran the BAMBI charity table during the Yard Sale.
The team raised ฿15,000, which the BAMBI committee decided to double up, giving a total donation of ฿45,000 to Central Thailand Mission for their ‘Power of I Am’ confidence-building day for women and children housed at its emergency home. The money went to provide spot prizes on the day and to help cover material costs for photographers. Excess stock left over from the sale was also split between Central Mission Thailand and Baan Unrak Orphanage.
The BAMBI Pattaya Team donated ฿10,000 from their Halloween Bazaar vendor fees to Thrive Rescue, and ฿15,000 to Hand To Hand.
Our Charities Team kept the surplus of funds raised this year to be carried on to 2017 for new projects in the pipeline.
By the end of 2016, BAMBI had in total 23 support groups that we help to promote. Three are run by BAMBI (Bumps and Babies, New Moon and WOMBLES), and 20 are running independently, with BAMBI’s support. We served as a liaison between the support groups and the members.
In 2016 we helped add and/or restructure three support groups: Fertility Support Group, BAMBI’s postnatal support group New Moon, and the Parenting Support Group. The new support groups are now off the ground and are able to attract enough people to their meetings.
We encouraged support group leaders to promote their groups in the magazine by publishing articles to help educate members on topics relating to their group.
In 2016 BAMBI used Facebook as the primary channel to communicate our news.
By the end of 2016, the BAMBI Facebook page has reached around 5,400 “LIKES’, up from 4,200 likes.
BAMBI started boosting events by paid advertisements on Facebook. This has helped us reach out to members at large who have liked our page and also to their friends onward.
Members have found another convenient channel to keep in touch with us through private messages on Facebook. We are doing our best to immediately answer questions.
Besides Facebook, BAMBI has a large mailing list of all international schools in Bangkok, organizations, online expat groups, libraries, newspapers and magazines, who help promote our events either through their websites, newsletters or flyers posted at different places. Information goes out to this list as often as needed, with positive feedback.
BAMBI attends the quarterly InterClub meeting, where representatives of various women’s clubs in Thailand meet and exchange dates of events and other information.
Membership and Database
The year 2016 saw a slight drop in BAMBI memberships. We ended the year with 761 registered members, compared to 828 at the end of 2015.
As in previous years, we see a consistent status of 70% of our membership as new members, and 30% are renewals of membership.
As usual, new members mainly joined at our playgroups (47%) and via online/bank transfer (35%). Renewal membership was mainly done via online/bank transfer (69%) and at our playgroups (22%).
This year, we found that many of the members who renew their membership at the playgroups or events don’t finalize the renewal process on BAMBI’s website, where they need to enter the renewal code they received at the playgroup/event while renewing their membership. So there are many members who have an active renewed BAMBI membership, but it does not show up on our membership database and they don’t receive the magazine.
Therefore, at the end of the year, the Database Coordinator started manually entering the renewals to our database and will continue doing so until we will complete the new website and come up with an easier and more effective membership renewal process.
The Database Coordinator worked this year on an automated ‘Welcome email’. Previously, the Database Coordinator had to send out the welcome email manually to all new members, but now it is sent out by the system. Unfortunately, the message still often goes into the recipient’s junk email folder, so this is still something to work on next year.
In summer 2016, we started with enthusiasm the process of creating a new BAMBI website. A subcommittee met to agree on main goals, and a requirements document was created to use in requests for proposals. Unfortunately, the project went on hold for several months but will be continued as soon as possible in 2017.
In October we moved our email newsletter list from our Joomla website administration to a MailChimp account. This was done primarily to stop our e-newsletters and other emails from being classified as spam. It also made e-newsletter administration more user-friendly for our volunteers. We are enjoying being able to track e-newsletter statistics easily as well.
In 2016 we organized a new type of event for our Committee Members with the ‘Let’s Dream about BAMBI’ Workshop. We realized that we meet often to work on day-to-day topics and immediate projects on hand, but rarely have the chance to take time out, think what is going well/not so well and have a look also to the future, where we would like BAMBI to be in one year, five years.
So we got together in the beginning of December and did exactly that. We spent a fruitful morning together with post-its, drawings, brainstorming, and as an outcome realized that there were three bigger topics we would like to work on in 2017:
- The new BAMBI website: to have a more user-friendly and effective website and membership process.
- Volunteering: how to attract more volunteers and better show appreciation for the work done by current volunteers.
- Mommy events: events designed especially for mommies.
The third topic will be on hold for a while because it would require quite a few new volunteers to work on it and quite often we are struggling to even find volunteers to cover all the services we offer at the moment. But with the first two topics, we will definitely work on as soon as possible in 2017.
2016 brought big changes to the Pattaya Team as most of the coordinators changed. But the new team took over smoothly, has brought a lot of new energy, and BAMBI Pattaya had a great and busy year.
- The BAMBI Pattaya Facebook page was created and had a great response. It enabled the team to keep their members up-to-date with upcoming events and to share photos from the playgroups.
- The team started a ‘Mommies Night Out’ event, held at various locations throughout Pattaya every few months. In May, it organized a fun ‘Day at the Beach’, and in June, held a Healthy Baby, Dentist/Dietician event at Bangkok Hospital Pattaya.
- In the same month, it also introduced a new playgroup at The Amari Garden Hotel. BAMBI Pattaya has a playgroup every Monday, rotating between Holiday Inn and Amari Garden Hotel.
- The team spent many months planning the BAMBI Pattaya Halloween Bazaar, and although it was in the end canceled, many of the bazaar’s vendors generously donated their table fees and, combined with previously-made funds, BAMBI Pattaya donated ฿10,000 to the charity, Thrive Rescue.
- In November, nurses from Bangkok Pattaya Hospital joined one of BAMBI Pattaya’s coffee mornings to demonstrate child CPR to the group.
- In December, BAMBI Pattaya members enjoyed a fun-filled Christmas Party at the Holiday Inn. The charity Hand to Hand brought members of their team to do face painting for the children, and they collected charity gift boxes from the BAMBI members which were donated to the Mercy Centre Pattaya.
Plans for 2017
Bumps & Babies
The goal for 2017 is to keep running successfully the three weekly sessions (New Moon Postnatal Group, Bumps & Babies sessions and Small World Playgroup for babies) and monthly evening Bumps sessions at Antique Cafe.
At the same time, the Bumps team will continue offering direct feedback from our members to hospitals in Bangkok to help them improve their services.
Following the Breastfeeding Survey, the Bumps Team is also thinking about conducting a Patient Satisfaction survey later in the year.
From the beginning of 2017, BAMBI will change the entrance donations for all playgroups to ฿100 for BAMBI members and ฿300 for non-BAMBI members, so that our members can enjoy the playgroups at an even better rate and non-members would be more encouraged to join BAMBI.
We also hope to open several new playgroups throughout the year. In the beginning of 2017, already two new playgroups are opening, at Bright Skies International School and IPC Green International Preschool and Nursery.
We will continue developing the Pop-up Playgroups idea and will try at least every second month to have a Saturday pop-up playgroup at a different kindergarten/school in Bangkok.
Activities for older kids
In 2017 we are planning to have more different classes, such as music, dance, mindfulness sessions.
BAMBI Activities team is looking for ideas for nice venues, professional teachers and also more volunteers to their team.
In 2017 BAMBI is planning to hold three party events. In January we already held the Riverside Fair at Shrewsbury International School. This will be followed by Splash Party in April and Halloween Party in October.
While the Splash Party and Halloween Party have been our traditional events for several years, the Riverside Fair is a new addition, where for the first time BAMBI organized a small fair with activities designed for BAMBI-aged kids and vendors suitable for mommies-to-be and mommies of young children.
In 2017, BAMBI will continue organizing Yard Sales and the plan is to have again three sales – around February/March, May/June and September.
New Members Coffee Mornings (and Member Benefits)
In 2017 we aim to continue running New Member Coffee Mornings twice a month. At IPC Coffee Morning, we will continue to support our Japanese new members and bring speakers to share interesting topics with BAMBI members.
At Café Coffee Mornings, we will try to increase the number of participants and to have them in different parts of the city (Sathorn, Bangna, Sukhumvit, etc.)
In the Member Benefits department, we will distribute BAMBI stickers to all sponsors and make sure they use them. This will help with recognition of BAMBI. We will also continue finding new interesting sponsors for our members.
BAMBI News Magazine
Not all BAMBI members have registered their addresses on our website and are therefore not receiving their magazines. We hope that this will be improved when the new website is launched, with easier updating of personal data.
The new BAMBI website is also expected to make it easier for members to access the PDF versions of the magazine. We plan to make at least one article per month accessible to everyone, initially on Facebook and later possibly through the new BAMBI website.
Efforts will continue to make the magazine as interactive as possible.
The magazine also plans to occasionally print bilingual Japanese/English articles, for the growing numbers of Japanese members.
In 2017, we plan to first find a new coordinator for the Charities team, because our Charities department has been without a coordinator since the last months of 2016. The new coordinator will then build a new team and continue looking for suitable charities with whom BAMBI can work together.
In the meantime, we will continue partnering up with schools’ IB programs during our Yard Sales to raise money at the Yard Sale Charities table and donate the proceedings to different charities chosen by the students involved in the project and BAMBI.
We will keep updating the list of Support Groups available.
The WOMBLES team started in 2017 with a new face. The dinners will be for all moms, working or non-working, and, as a surprise, some dinners will also have a special topic, such as cooking class, make-up class, interesting performer, etc.
In 2017 we will continue using Facebook as our main media channel and will explore more how to use the paid advertisements in our favor.
We will also expand the role of our Media Coordinator. She will work more closely with our Events and other teams to establish Media Plans for the events, so we could promote our events in a more organized way.
Membership & Database
Plans for 2017 are to:
- Simplify and summarize ‘How to Become a Member’ instructions for website and magazine, together with the New Members team.
- Set the ‘Welcome email’ to directly reach member’s inbox instead of the junk email box.
- Improve the registration process together with the new website development.
- Define a more user-friendly process to activate memberships for all the people involved in registration (playgroup leaders, committee, event, etc.).
The big goal for 2017 is to finish the new website for BAMBI that is more user-friendly, and to have a more simplified membership registration/renewal process.
Regarding improving the inside life of the BAMBI Committee, in 2017 we are planning to concentrate on two topics:
1. How to make volunteering for BAMBI more attractive, to attract volunteers.
Many times we have great ideas on what to do for our members, but they do not get realized because we don’t have people to do it. Even worse, many current volunteers have too many tasks and nobody to share them with. In 2017, we will try to see if we can improve the situation.
As a first step, we have already organized in the beginning of the year a Volunteering Info Morning, an informal gathering for anyone who is interested in volunteering for BAMBI, where we give an overview of what BAMBI does, what volunteering for BAMBI means and what are the current available positions.
2. Appreciation of our current volunteers
The work done by our volunteers is amazing and we want to see how we could thank them and appreciate them more for the time and effort they put into BAMBI.
In March 2017 the BAMBI Pattaya Team is planning a charity event with Hand To Hand. It will be a fun morning for their children at a local playcentre, followed by lunch and a donation to the charity. The team also hopes to plan a bazaar later in the year.
And last, but not least, our biggest thank you will go to all the BAMBI Members for supporting BAMBI every year with your membership, feedback and participation at our activities.
A special thank you also to Mrs. Mel Habanananda, BAMBI Patron and Founder, the ‘mother’ of BAMBI – who keeps on supporting and inspiring us.
We welcome any questions you may have on the above information. Please write to us.
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 News welcomes volunteer contributors to our magazine. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.