On Tuesday, 6th of September, the Stockholm International Rotary Club together with the Vita Nova Foundation held a golf tournament at the International Golf Club, Arlanda in aid of a home for Karen orphans in Hua Hin in Thailand run by the Connect3e organisation there. The event raised a total of 14.710 SEK which will go towards providing a kitchen at the orphanage.
Despite the bad weather in the early part of the day and the fact that the tournament was being held in the middle of the working week, quite a lot of people and players turned up. Not all took part in the tournament, some just went along to support the cause and participate in the prize giving ceremony and buffet afterwards.
Rich Lively, the Thailand National Director of Connect3e in Thailand flew over for the event and delivered an inspiring speech on the plight of the Karen people in Burma and on the work carried out by Connect3e. He also explained what the 3e’s in Connect3e stand for – Embrace , Educate, Empower. Rich is not just fantastic fundraiser and a good preacher but also a very good golf player with a handicap of three! So he took the opportunity to participate in the event, spending time with each team as they went around the course.
Golf is like no other sport. Everybody, whether they play golf or not has an attitude towards the game. There are just as many reasons to play as not to according to Olle Reimers, one of the co-owners of the International Golf club, Arlanda where the tournament was held. Olle and his partners generously offered us a discount on the course & buffet which helped us maximize the amount of money raised for the cause.
The Karen ( pronounced Kar-an) people consists of many different subgroups not understanding each others languages. Their origin is obscure. According to one legend they crossed a river of sand (Gobi?). Or maybe they are indigenous to Burma. Anyway they arrived before the Burmese people who are now oppressing them. They did not have a written language. That was lost to them but according to legend one day it would be returned to them. Maybe this is one of the explanations as to why Christianity was so readily accepted by many of them. About 30% of the Karen people belong to different Christian denominations while the rest lean towards Buddhism and Animism. The Karen people have for decades suffered forced resettlement and labour, incarceration, denial of political representation and citizenship in Burma among other human rights. Violations that have led thousands of Karen to move or flee to Thailand. Many are refugees displaced from their burning villages. Among them the orphans that now will have a new kitchen thanks to SIRC and the Vita Nova Foundation fund raising activities of the last 12 months.
Vita Nova is a small society of only six people that believe that small projects can go a long way and make a big difference. If you want to know more about them click on www.vitanovafoundation.org. They have so far built houses, classrooms for homeless people in the Philippines, contributed to an Indian school for the blind and an orphanage in Nicaragua. It takes very, very little to go a long way.
The prize list for the golf tournament was very impressive indeed with ten different categories and eight lucky draw prizes .So just about every participant went away with one prize. A great thank you to all those organisations and individuals who donated the prizes.
All in all a very successful fund-raising event held jointly between SIRC and The Vita Nova Foundation.
Helen Vitell & Nick Thompson