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Home > What We Do > Thailand
First Tsunami Orphan Awarded a KIRF University Scholarship

Mark Kirwin and Thai Senator Khun Mechai"I cannot express the amount of joy I have reading your report. We are so very glad that KIRF was able to help," Mark Kirwin said upon hearing that the first tsunami orphan will get a scholarship to college. A few days ago the Population and Community Development Association (PDA), a renown sustainable development and public health organization based in Bangkok, Thailand, announced that the first tsunami orphan received a scholarship to the Rajabhat Phuket University, courtesy of KIRF. The selected scholar is a 19 year old girl from the Phang Nga province. She lost her father and the sole family wage earner at the time to the tsunami. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree.

It has been about three years since Mark's brother Dr. Paul Kirwin of Yale University began raising funds for an educational scholarship to benefit tsunami orphans. After many negotiations and trips back and forth to Thailand, a young women will get a better chance at life and go to college this Fall. More information about the KIRF Fund for Tsunami Orphans >
Senator Viravaidya and Mark Kirwin in Bangkok at PDA's headquarters setting up the KIRF Educational Fund for Tsunami Orphans. Photo: KIRF Collection


Assisting refugees with medical supplies donated by Ventura dentist

Ventura attorney and KIRF founder Mark Kirwin delivered thousands of dollars worth of medical supplies donated by local dentist Dr. Phillip Kroll to aid refugees from Burma in May. Both men are local business owners and feel they are just average people who can help others in dire circumstances have a better future. Kroll said, “If everybody does a little, it ends up being a lot.”

Mark Kirwin and Karen refugees in refugee camp in northern ThailandKirwin, who pays for his own travel expenses and volunteers through his non-profit Kirwin International Relief Foundation (KIRF) delivered donations and locally purchased items needed by several non-profit clinics and children’s safe houses that serve refugees from Burma.

Karen children who are safe in Mae SotIn addition to Kroll’s donation of medical supplies Kirwin delivered Water Girl brand t-shirts donated by Patagonia for the refugees. With cash donations to KIRF, Kirwin purchased needed supplies for the refugees locally. He purchased needed items like futon-style sleeping mats, sarongs, and mosquito nets, school supplies and sports equipment. Supplies were delivered to a local boarding school/safe house that serves 400 refugee children.

Mark Kirwin in prosthetic limb workshop at Mae Tao ClinicKirwin purchased additional needed surgical supplies and medications for the non-profit Mae Tao Clinic.The Mae Tao Clinic's volunteer craftsmen in the Clinic's prosthetic limb workshop have been more busy then ever this year.

Mark Kirwin in May of 2007 in a refugee camp and with refugees in Mae Sot, Thailand. Photos: Stephen Kirwin.


Helping Chiang Mai's AIDS orphans

photo courtesy of Support the Children, Chiang Mai, ThailandOur goal to help AIDS orphans in Thailand in December was to raise enough money to purchase food, clothing and medical supplies for a year of care for at least ten AIDS orphans served by Support the Children Foundation (STC) in Chiang Mai. Support the Children Foundation is a medical and child care non-profit started byvolunteer physicians, and husband and wife, Dr. Vicharn and Dr. Prakong since 1992. Support the Children currently offers loving care, supervised HIV treatment, healthcare and foster care that currently benefits 471 orphaned children.

Due to the generosity and support of faculty and students at Ventura College we were able to meet our fundraising goal by December 11, 2006-- the week before we left for Thailand. It was quite rewarding to take the donations directly over to Chiang Mai and be able to tell our donors that their generosity really made a difference in only a week!

Please click here to read about how KIRF helped the AIDS orphans >

Above photo of girls is courtesy of Support the Children Foundation.

KIRF Educational Fund for Tsunami Orphans

Student and tsunami survivorfrom ThailandWhile in Bangkok during our December 2006 relief trip we met with our local tsunami relief partner organization the Population and Community Develepment Association (PDA) to finalize our educational fund for tsunami orphans. Our meeting with with Assistant to the Chairman at the main office of the PDA in Bangkok resulted with the final legal document needed for them to administer the $7,000 USD in educational scholarships. Now the next step can begin of notifiying the schools and the orphaned children and their caregivers of this opportunity for a free college education courtesy of donors to KIRF.

Check out our February Field Report for more information about the scholarships for tsunami orphans >

Photo of student and tsunami survivor was taken by Stephen Kirwin, August 2005.

Summary of 2005 Tsunami relief Achievments

Mark Kirwin in May 2005 with some children from large community of Moken boat gypsies stranded on island after tsunami destroyed boats.
  • Provide assitstance to survivors in hospital, delivered food and water to survivors immediately after tsunami, returned one month and five months later to provide food and water to devastated villages
  • Island village of Moken, left with no tsunami relief, received 3 new fising boats, engine, petrol, nets and nutritious food for families suffering from malnutirition
  • Sustainable Development : Fishing boats, fishing supplies and built fish farm that supports 32 families
  • Educational Scholarships for tsunami orphans : KIRF sponsored 54 tsunami orphans through Thailand's Population & Community Development Association (PDA)
  • Conservation: eco-lodge guesthouse built in Bin Bang Bang estuary
    Photo of water containers for a rain catchment system purchased by KIRF for the Moken tsunami survivors. Photo by Stephen T. Kirwin

KIRF helping children in Thailand orphaned by AIDS and the tsunami disaster
February 2, 2007
by Mark and Angela Kirwin

Thank you to everyone who helped with this most recent KIRF humanitarian relief trip.  Our trip was a great success! Click here to read how we were able to help AIDS and tsunami orphans in Thailand >

KIRF Fund for Tsunami Orphans Established!
June 3 , 2006
by Angela Rockett Kirwin

Mark has returned from a successful trip to Thailand where he established the KIRF tsunami orphan scholarship fund with the Population & Community Development Association.  Click here for information about our tsunami orphan scholarship fund >

Tsunami relief success tracking down orphans in Ranong, Thailand
July 30, 2005
by Stephen Kirwin

A quick update on the continuation of the KIRF tsunami orphan support in Ranong ,Thailand. Read about Stephen Kirwin's adventures tracking down tsunami orphans in Ranong Province, Thailand>

Helping Moken sea gypsies recover from the tsunami after being abandoned on an island
May 17 , 2005
by Mark Kirwin

Mark Kirwin met his brother Stephen Kirwin in Ranong, Thailand to help tsunami orphans and ended up at an island of stranded Moken (Sea Gypsies).
Read about KIRF's tsunami assistance to a Moken village >

Tsunami relief field report: re-building a fish farm co-op, eco-lodge, boats, safe drinking water for a school, medical supplies and the list goes on...
February 11 , 2005
by Mark Kirwin

Mark Kirwin returned to Ranong Province with his brothers Dr. Paul Kirwin and Stephen Kirwin, volunteers Richard Turlington and Steve Buttling to help survivors of the tsunami. They visited the devasted beach where they nearly stayed at in December and funded a fish farm and other recovery efforts.
Click here to read about the families they helped in Thailand recover from the tsunami disaster >

Tsunami relief news article published by the Ventura County Star
January 14 , 2005
by Mark Kirwin

"Concert to help Thai victims: Ventura man who survived launches tsunami effort " Click here to read about our tsunami relief effort published by the Ventura County Star>

Email: "Kirwins are okay in Ranong, Thailand! - big earthquake, tsunami hit"
December 26 , 2004
by Angela Kirwin in Ranong, Thailand

Here's our first email from Thailand. It was written by Angela Kirwin about 6 hours after the tsunami hit and killed over 200,000 people along the many national coastlines of the Andaman Sea. When it was written we didn't know the scale of the disaster. Click here to the reassuring email of December 26, 2004 >


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  Most important of all is poverty alleviation, which is number one, and then the role of women. Women are very, very important in the development process.

– Mechai Viravaidya
Thailand map

2005 KIRF Thailand Tsunami Relief
KIRF's 2005 web video presentation of Tsunami Relief work in Thailand. Download the Windows Media Player file by clicking here. (PC only)
Photo of tsunami survivor Moken girl by Stephen T. Kirwin


May 2006

KIRF Fund for Tsunami Orphans set-up at Prince of Songkla University, Phuket Campus, with administration done by local ngo partner PDA

July 2005

Bio's and photos collected of tsunami orphans at their schools by Stephen Kirwin

May 2005

Moken people stranded on island after the tsunami were given 3 fishing boats, engine, petrol, water storage tanks, sarongs, cooking supplies and nutritious food.

February 2005

$7,000 - Fish Farm rebuilt with KIRF supplied building supplies and locally purchased lumber and aquaculture equipment. Building tools, water and donated Patagonia and Water Girl clothing given to devastated village on Ko Sin Thai. Soccer balls and school supplies given to school that was destroyed by tsunami at Bin Bang Bang estuary.

85,000 bht wood
64,000 bht net, nails, roap
41,000 bht foam fishing floats
20,000 bht eco toilent >> total 175,000 baht cost to build fish farm, 20 people from community built it

35,000 bht for new boat + engine
3,000 bht cost of two long boats filled with water bottles for school on Ko Sin Thai

December 2004

About $500 was spent by us (Mark and Angela Kirwin) to purchase and deliver disaster relief (food staples and water) to people who lost their homes in the tsunami disaster. We purchased clothing for tourists injured by the tsunami at Ranong Hospital and donated cell phone time. Food and water care packages-- enough to fill up a government truck -- was purchased and bagged for local tsunami survivors along coast of Ranong Province.