Chairwoman’s Report 2018
Published on: May 01, 2019BAMBI enjoyed a great 2018, expanding into new playgroups and initiating new workshops for the whole family to enjoy. By Akiko Cayne and Emma McNerlin 2018 was another year of rapid growth for BAMBI, with expansion in Playgroups, Bumps & Babies, and Activities for kids over tBAMBI enjoyed a great year of 2018, expanding into new playgroups and initiating new workshops for the whole family to enjoy. Here is a Chairwoman’s report for the year 2018!hree, as well as the launch of new initiatives like BAMBI Me-Time workshops. We also continued to bring to you yard sales, parties and events, New Members Coffee Mornings, Pop-Up Playgroups, WOMBLES dinners, and BAMBI Pattaya activities. We opened new playgroups in both Sukhumvit and Sathorn areas, and continued to diversify our locations beyond kindergartens and schools to other family-friendly locations. Most weekend non-regular events remained free to members. Membership and volunteer numbers continued to grow this year, reflecting the increase in BAMBI activity across our services. In recognition of the marvelous efforts of our volunteer families—without whom we could not offer our services to members—we continued to organize biannual volunteer appreciation events exclusively for families of BAMBI volunteers. We keep growing and becoming more fun and energetic each year, thanks to the enthusiastic volunteers and their families. We couldn’t do all that we do without the dedication, energy, and commitment of our wonderful team of committee members and wider volunteer family. We thank you all for making BAMBI the great organization that it is. As BAMBI membership continues to grow, we acknowledge and appreciate everyone who has joined us this year, and everyone who has renewed their membership with us. We thank you for your continued support of BAMBI and look forward to serving you in the upcoming year. 2018 was a year of consolidation for the Bumps & Babies team. We were sad to lose Fran after two years of wonderful leadership, as her family relocated from Bangkok. The team grew overall, however, to include two new volunteers, Sheena and Anfisa, bringing the total to five. At the beginning of 2018, the Small World Baby Playgroups were moved from the Bumps team to come under the control of the Playgroups team. For that reason, the number of Bumps & Babies sessions fell from the previous year, from 141 to 110. We provided support to 709 families in 2018, comparable to 2017 when adjusted to remove Small World Playgroup attendees. Core Bumps & Babies offerings of weekly information sessions for expecting and new parents, as well as the New Moon Postnatal Support group, remain popular. Due to low attendance, the weekend Bumps session at Steps with Theera was suspended in January 2018, to be re-launched in November 2018 as a monthly session at Antique Café. Early indications show that the change of venue has contributed to better attendance numbers. Sathorn Bumps reduced to bi-weekly sessions in April 2018 and closed completely in November 2018 as the venue closed. The team continues to look for a suitable alternative location in Sathorn. Other special activities:
- Splash Bash with Bangkok Dolphins x 2 special water playgroups for babies
- IAIM (International Association of Infant Massage) Training in Infant Massage for 2 Bumps team members
- Diaper drive for Khlong Toey moms and baby carrier collection in association with ANZWIG
- Purchase of four new TENS units for rental
- Continued cultivation of good relationships with both Samitivej and Bumrungrad hospitals to affect positive change for families birthing and accessing pediatric care in Bangkok.
2019 Plans for Bumps & Babies
- Provide continued support to pregnant and postpartum moms at Antique Café.
- Launch a new 5-week Baby Bonding and Massage Course to help build confidence for new moms in February 2019, following the IAIM curriculum.
- Introduce short circle-time baby activities at the beginning of New Moon Postnatal Group, including baby songs and rhymes, and informal drop-in massage sessions to improve the attendees’ experience.
- Restock the BAMBI Library with more relevant and recent titles. We will source these secondhand where possible to reduce waste and keep costs down. A budget for this restock has yet to be agreed at committee.
- In June, the Sathorn playgroup at La Petite Ecole closed at the school’s request. The school required that numbers be limited at the playgroup, presenting administrative challenges for the Playgroups team.
- Small World Sathorn at Jumping Bean was popular throughout 2018 until the café closed in November.
2019 Plans for Playgroups
- Improve quality and quantity of snacks at playgroups. This remains a challenge, as it is often difficult to predict numbers attending the playgroup. During 2018, efforts were made to have host venues increase the quantity, but getting better quality snacks still remains on the Playgroups team’s agenda. Suitable vendors and suppliers will be trialed in 2019.
- Focus on improving the quality of our existing playgroups, rather than on further expansion. BAMBI playgroups expanded rapidly 2017-2018, with an average of two playgroups on every weekday. We have reached full capacity of what can be run with the current volunteers.
- Provide organized training for Playgroup Leaders. Playgroups have been training volunteers one on one during the playgroup. We hope to instead have group training sessions outside of playgroup time, thus allowing the coordination team to train more volunteers more efficiently.
2019 Plans for BAMBI PattayaFinding volunteers remains a challenge for the Pattaya team, and any expansion of our current twice-monthly offering will depend on growing the team of volunteers. It is hoped that the successful mommy social nights can continue and that the baby playgroup can return once a suitable venue is found. BAMBI afternoon Activities for over-threes continued and grew in popularity throughout 2018. In total, 35 after-school activity sessions were offered, and the variety of classes doubled from three to six, including Football, Yoga, Dance, Cooking, Explorers Club, and Imagination Land. These structured sessions were facilitated by external providers. The upper age limit was reduced to 6 years old, to allow activities to be more age specific. The booking process for Activities has been streamlined this year with the introduction of an online sign-up form. In the last quarter of 2018, BAMBI Activities operated without an Activities Coordinator and the cooking club was discontinued. A new Activities Coordinator has been identified and she will start in early 2019.
2019 Plans for ActivitiesBAMBI Activities plans to continue with the current offerings and, depending on demand, may increase the frequency of existing activities to more than once per month. Any expansion either in frequency or diversity of activities will rely on the recruitment of sufficient suitable volunteers to the Activities team.
EventsIn total, BAMBI Events Team organized six large-scale events in 2018.
|January||BAMBI 35th Anniversary Charity Concert in aid of the Immanuel Orchestra (Khlong Toei), at St. Andrews International School Bangkok The concert was a great success with almost 100 families coming to the event.|
|May||Splash Party, at Wells International School on Sukhumvit Soi 51, with support from Bangkok Dolphins The annual event was held at Wells for the first time. In addition to the water fun provided by Bangkok Dolphins, we also offered different sports activities, such as tennis and soccer, with support from Spin & Slice and Kiddy Kicks. Stage performances included ukulele, hula dance, and sing-along with Anette. It was a huge success, with almost 600 people coming to share the fun morning.|
|August||BAMBI Chocolate Workshops at Sofitel Bangkok It was a sweet month for the events team with not one, but two sold-out BAMBI Chocolate Workshops at Sofitel Bangkok. The children enjoyed decorating their own chocolate sweets, and, once the workshop was done, they, along with their parents were treated to a special sweets buffet.|
|November||BAMBI Halloween Party at Novotel Sukhumvit 20 This year saw the welcome return of the BAMBI Halloween Party! In a departure from previous years, the event was hosted at a hotel and took place in early November to account for Halloween falling in the middle of school half-terms. Thanks to our activities supporters, there were many fun and ghoulish activities for the children, including a Spooky Maze, where children got to do some trick-or-treating. Stage performances included magic shows, spooky dance performance, Snow White show, and of course a sing-along with BAMBI’s resident songstress Anette. It was a spooktacular success with over 250 families, almost 700 people in attendance!|
|BAMBI Loy Krathong celebration at My Food Restaurant The first-ever BAMBI Loy Krathong celebration included a krathong making workshop and krathong floating in the swimming pool at My Food Restaurant on Sukhumvit 31. Nancy Language gave a talk on how to make the krathong and the meaning of Loy Krathong. The place was packed, with approximately 50 families attending the event.|
|December||BAMBI Christmas Party and tree lighting ceremony at IPC International Kindergarten December was time for our annual Christmas Party and tree lighting ceremony at IPC International Kindergarten. Despite a last-minute rescheduling due to Bangkok weather, the event remained successful with 476 people joining in the festive fun. It was filled with unique experiences for the children, such as gingerbread house cookie decoration, tree lighting ceremony, real gingerbread house, Christmas sensory area, lego building area, and of course, Santa’s Grotto together with Santa James from Bangkok Dolphins. In addition to these events, BAMBI also had a presence at the 2018 Family Christmas Party at Bumrungrad Hospital.|
2019 Plans for Events
- In a joint collaboration among Events, Pop-Up, and Charity teams, BAMBI will support our first Chocolate Ville Charity Carnival, on February 2nd, 2019, to aid refugee charities working in the north of Thailand.
- Splash Party is confirmed for Saturday, April 27th, at Wells International, with a Pirate and Mermaid theme.
- Hallowe’en Party (TBC)
- Christmas Event (TBC)
2019 Plans for Pop-up and New MembersThe Pop-up team recognizes the value in providing a weekend offering for the BAMBI community and as will aim to provide one monthly pop-up playgroup per month throughout 2019. This will be dependent on volunteer availability and interest from schools. It will complement regular monthly weekend playgroups held at Storytime Pre-School and also Daddy’s Playgroup at Bright Skies. Eleven issues (including a July/August combined issue) of BAMBI News magazine were published in 2018 for delivery to members’ homes and distribution at BAMBI playgroups and events. Our print distribution increased to 935 copies per month by the end of 2018. Most of the PDF versions were available for download by members via the BAMBI website, and some articles were shared on Facebook. In December 2018, the magazine increased from 60 to 64 pages per edition. On average, 11 contributors provide content for BAMBI News each month. The content has been designed to be more inclusive, with more contributions from dads offering new perspectives. A new collaboration was formed with Steps with Theera, promoting inclusivity and drawing on their vast network of family support groups. The BAMBI News team retained 50% of its 2017 editorial team throughout 2018. The Editor, Donna Dias, and two long-standing Assistant Editors stepped down from the team; Abbie Wailes, previously Assistant Editor, stepped up as Editor in November 2018. Three new members joined the editorial team.
2019 Plans for BAMBI News
- Themes for 2019 issues, corresponding to relevant international celebrations such as ‘international day for families’ combined with Thai celebrations, aim to help us to share our common bond of parenthood and living in Thailand.
- A kids corner featuring pictures, poems, and writing by kids will be trialed in 2019 to increase inclusivity.
Charities Supported in 2018
May 2018Second Chance Bangkok The Charities team visited Second Chance Bangkok to see how they support women from Khlong Toei, through employment creating beautiful gifts and upcycling donated items to sell. We provided ฿24,000 to purchase new sewing tools and equipment. Total donation: ฿24,000 Central Thailand Mission On May 3rd, Central Thailand Mission and Ramayana Water Park Pattaya sponsored 80 children of Thanksgiving Home & House of Blessing to enjoy the biggest water park in Thailand. They also provided a special lunch meal. BAMBI’s donation covered transportation expenses: a double-decker bus, two vans, and gas. Total donation: ฿15,000 Friends of Thai Daughters Friends of Thai Daughters is a non-profit organization in Northern Thailand providing education, safe shelter, and emotional support to girls at risk of being trafficked. BAMBI purchased a table at their annual gala dinner; seats were offered to the committee, volunteers, and members. Total donation: ฿33,000 Baan Luk Rak Children’s Home Baan Luuk Rak (‘Home of the Beloved Children’), in Khon Kaen in northeastern Thailand, was established in 2000 by Khun Noi (who passed away in 2015) and her husband Kru Ya to care for orphaned or abandoned children. Others at the home have been withdrawn from abusive situations or poverty. Around 40 children live there at any one time. BAMBI funds rebuilt the kitchen and built rainwater collection and an onsite motorcycle repair shop where children could learn the trade. Total donation: ฿100,000 Central Thailand Mission Once a month, Central Thailand Mission sources food for three communities from a Rangsit wholesale market and a chicken factory in Lumlooka. BAMBI supported personnel and transport costs for the trip. Total donation: ฿14,000 Central Thailand Mission Central Thailand Mission delivered mattresses/beds, donated to them by a hotel, to various Pakistani refugee families, including pregnant women, mothers, and children who have been sleeping on thin floor mattresses or the city’s hard pavements. BAMBI helped cover the cost of delivery. Total donation: ฿18,000 Charis Project The Charis Project provides nutrition support for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and provides emergency food aid to families in crisis, those who have disabled children, and single mothers. Total donation: ฿100,000
June 2018Prakkesamai School, Samut Prakan In a joint venture with the Samutprakan International Ladies Club (SILC), BAMBI provided funds to to this small preschool to purchase school bags, supplies, underwear, socks, raincoats, shoes, and personal care items for each child at the school. We also purchased fans, sports equipment, a printer, and supplies. Total donation: ฿50,000 Baan Dek Foundation Baan Dek foundation works in migrant worker camps around Chiang Mai to enroll children in school and provide after-school activities so mothers can work. BAMBI’s donation built new toilets for a poor public school in the suburbs of Chiang Mai. Total donation: ฿50,000
September 2018Phuket Has Been Good To Us Phuket Has Been Good To Us Foundation, set up in the aftermath of the 2004 Asian Tsunami, runs an afterschool and weekend program for underprivileged students. BAMBI’s donation was used to purchase teaching supplies (whiteboard, projector, paper cutter, books) for 175 children, who are orphans or whose families are not able to look after them. Total donation: ฿50,000
November 2018Emergency Home “Discovering the Diamond within” partner with CTM Central Thailand Mission’s annual event “Discovering the Diamond within” celebrates the beauty and value of each woman at the emergency home, many of whom have been violated and victimized. BAMBI sponsored a memento booklet for each woman, including a portrait shot taken by a BAMBI photographer. We also provided cash prizes for the fashion show, lunch, and a special banner for the event. Total donation: ฿15,500
December 2018The Giving Tree Foundation Each year around Christmas, The Giving Tree arranges to send gift bags for children in Karen villages in the mountains of northern Thailand (Tha Song Yang District). This year, BAMBI families donated 87 bags filled with a warm jacket, T-shirt, school supplies, and a special gift requested by the child, such as a football, football shirt, shoes, or a watch. Additional cash donations from BAMBI families and BAMBI Charities funds were used to purchase special gift bags and to fill 10 extra gift bags. St. Andrews International High School students and Faye, former Charities Coordinator, helped gather 55 bags and load them all onto a van to be delivered to the children in the villages. Total donation: ฿18,069 Always Reading Caravan Always Reading Caravan, founded by Yoshimi Horiuchi, a blind woman passionate about reading, provides mobile library services visiting schools, villages, and homes across Phrao District in Chiang Mai. Yoshimi came to a BAMBI playgroup at Bright Skies International to share her experiences. BAMBI supported the organization’s Universal Design Picture Book project, to create picture books that can be enjoyed by all children, including children with low vision, autism, intellectual disabilities, and blindness. Total donation: ฿50,000 Sr. Joan’s Milk Run in Khlong Toei Sr. Joan’s mission has been supporting families in the Khlong Toei slums for over 30 years, providing powdered milk to babies of HIV-positive moms and those unable to breastfeed. BAMBI gifted 20 cases (100 packs) of diapers for distribution to families in the scheme. Total donation: ฿14,430
Plans for Charities for 2019
- Continue to develop relationships with existing benefactors and work to identify new causes worthy of BAMBI support.
- Invite causes to apply for funds for specific projects, to be considered by the BAMBI Charities team and Committee. To this end, a new policy document and an online application form will be developed.
- Work with BAMBI News magazine to raise the profile of the charities that we have supported.
Media & E-NewsletterBAMBI Media continued to perform well under the stewardship of our Media Coordinator. Facebook became the principal tool for communicating about BAMBI events and meetups, while the new BAMBI website remained under construction. At the end of 2018, BAMBI’s Facebook page had 8,817 ‘likes’ and 9,126 followers. Ten admins/editors from among the committee members help update Facebook. However, with growth in activity across all areas of BAMBI this year, there was a significant increase in workload for our Media Coordinator. In late 2018, recruitment began for Media Assistants to support the promotion of BAMBI events and to answer queries on Facebook messenger. To get the word out on BAMBI events, paid advertisements for selected events like Yard Sales, Splash Party, and Halloween and Christmas parties were placed on Facebook. BAMBI e-newsletters were sent out to subscribers. The Media Coordinator also sent details of upcoming events to various Women’s Clubs in Thailand by email, which these clubs then repost on their e-newsletter and/or Facebook. These have resulted in satisfactory turnout at all events.
Membership and DatabaseThe year 2018 saw a significant increase in the membership numbers at BAMBI, up from 964 at the end of 2017, to 1,182 at the end of December 2018. This was due in large part to the increased number of playgroups and also the continued success in last year’s revised donation structure, which raised the value of membership in monetary terms. Renewals this year accounted for 30% of our total memberships, with new memberships accounting for 70% of all members. This ratio has remained consistent with previous years. The Playgroups team has been making a great effort to register the members correctly and help us communicate with them, where required. There are now three members on the Database team: one Database Coordinator, mainly responsible for reports, and two Database Assistants responsible for processing new members and mailing cards.
2019 Plans for Database
- The Database team are eagerly awaiting the launch of the new BAMBI website, which should make the online sign-up process easier for members and less cumbersome for the Database team.
- As database processing becomes more standardized, further training sessions will be provided to new volunteers.
- There are also plans to improve reconciliation of database activity for new and renewing members with the finance reports from playgroups and online payment activity.
WebsiteIn 2017, we selected a website vendor to build our new website, which would include a renewed database system. Throughout 2018, the vendor worked on the design and functionality of the new website. However, there have been resourcing and communication challenges between BAMBI and the vendor; by the end of 2018, the project was 75% complete. A standard operating procedure has been set up to improve the usage of our email system, mainly concerning the handover from one volunteer to another. This has helped the Website team ensure that the BAMBI Gmail accounts are kept active and information within the organization is not lost during the course of the handover.
2019 Plans for Website
- Launch the new website. In early 2019, the new website development project reached user acceptance testing phase. The launch is expected by the end of the 2nd quarter this year.
- All volunteers who will be involved in updating the website will be trained accordingly.
- After the website goes live, we will look into the email system to accommodate the complexity of our communication requirements.
Member BenefitsThe year 2018 saw the current benefits offered to members maintained and an increase in new offers. By the end of 2018, member discounts increased by 10%, while Pattaya discounts decreased by 30%, due largely to businesses closing down.
2019 Plans for BenefitsBAMBI will continue to identify opportunities to increase member discounts. With a new WOMBLES Coordinator in May 2018, WOMBLES returned to its roots as a relaxed opportunity to meet and network with other busy parents in Bangkok. A total of 10 WOMBLES dinners were held in 2018. We started to invite fathers and prospective parents, in addition to mothers, and each dinner had between 4-12 attendees. Dinners will continue to be held on the last Tuesday of the month. Towards the end of 2018, the committee approved a small budget allowance for WOMBLES so as to have appetizers and one drink per guest upon arrival. So far this has been successful and will be continued into 2019.
2019 Plans for WOMBLES
- The majority of 2019 dinners will be themed to match significant international dates, i.e., Chinese New Year in February, St Patrick’s Day in March, etc.
- We also hope to partner with small charity groups for a few dinners to raise additional funds for those groups.
Me-TimeBAMBI Me-Time was launched in June 2018 to give the opportunity to parents to socialize while exploring new skills and expressing creativity through various workshops held during school hours. These workshops have been a phenomenal success and included activities ranging from jewelry designing to cocktail mixing, to beach bag embellishing, and yoga surfing! In total, there were eight workshops in 2018 which welcomed 94 participants. Open to anyone, workshops are subsidized with a discount for BAMBI members, making them a fun and affordable way to try new experiences. 2019 Plans for Me-Time
- Explore set-ups that enable socializing before or after the workshops.
- Workshops in 2019 will likely include painting, cake decorating, clay sculpting, and cooking.
- Conduct a survey to seek members’ views on what Me-Time events they would like to attend.
- With workshop partners, coordinate with the Member Benefits team to identify new discounts for BAMBI members.
Committee ManagementSince Emma and I took on the Chair and Vice-Chairwoman roles in May 2017, BAMBI has experienced rapid growth with membership almost doubling in that time. This growth is a reflection of the energy and commitment of the wonderful team of now 90+ volunteers, who provide such great service to the community in Bangkok and Pattaya. We could not do it without them, they really are the beating heart of BAMBI. The bi-annual volunteer appreciation events have been well received by volunteers, with return visits this year to both Funarium in September and Sofitel in December for Christmas reading with Santa. The latter event had to run over two weekends, as there were too many of us to fit in the venue at one time! There was also a committee luncheon held in Rembrandt Hotel in March 2018 to thank the committee for their continued efforts in running BAMBI. We also launched our silver BAMBI card for volunteers, ensuring their free entry into all BAMBI playgroups and events. This made it easier for playgroup leaders to recognize BAMBI volunteers at sign in, and the cards have helped to further the feeling of team spirit. Following feedback from the committee, we made Antique Café our permanent home for the monthly committee meetings. This provided continuity, simplified commuting, and removed the responsibility of catering by committee members. As BAMBI has grown rapidly in the past two years, so too has the administrative and leadership burden on volunteers. With increased growth and profile among young families, expectations from members and the wider business community have also grown. We recognize that being a BAMBI volunteer should be a fun experience that fits in with life and family demands and should not pose an unnecessary burden on any post holder. For this reason, supporting roles were created or increased in many areas to help share the workload and streamline processes. These areas included Treasury, Database, Secretary (now two), Bumps and Babies, Charity, Events and Yard Sale, with plans to also increase the Website and Media team in the coming year. Following the return of ฿5 million to the BAMBI bank account from the successful resolution of the fraud case, financial rigor remains a priority for the BAMBI management team. The Chairwoman, Vice Chair, and Treasurer now retain read-only access to the online bank activity, which is regularly reviewed with the Treasurer. Payments to suppliers remain only by cheque with two approved signatories. Whilst online banking facilities would reduce the workload for the treasury team, it provides too great a risk of repeat fraud. In 2019, current financial processes will be documented to ensure continuity as key roles move between volunteers. We now have stewardship of over 90 regular volunteers at BAMBI, and with the transient nature of expat life, the total number of people throughout the year holding various posts is closer to 100. The recruitment and training of new volunteers remain a challenge as an increasing number of our members are working moms. While it is hoped that BAMBI can continue to operate at its current level, this is only possible if suitable volunteers are found to fulfill all the available positions. In 2019, we would like to focus on ‘quality’ rather than quantity. We hope our members will recognize the difference and enjoy our activities more. Thank you for your support all these years.
BAMBI Financial Summary 2018By Mari Someya, Treasurer
|Unit: Thai Baht||2017||2018||% Change|
|Gross Income (A)||2,346,938||2,735,393||17 %|
|Expenses (B)||(1,780,539)||(2,786,857)||57 %|
|NET SURPLUS (A-B) *||566,399||(51,463)||-109%|
|Special Inflow **||4,198,558||0|
|Net Surplus (Expense) Classification|
|PG attendance (no. of families)||7,806||10,061||29%|
|Committee/ BAMBI Expenses||(480,579)||(630,496)||31%|
|Others (special inflow)||4,198,558||0|
|Closing Bank Balance (31st December)||6,712,352||5,818,351|
|* Net Surplus does not include charities contributions.|
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.