Are you a fan of bike rides, social enterprise, and getting your hands dirty? Then buckle up because we have an exciting story for you!
Let's take a journey to Baan Nam Khem, a small village in Thailand where a group of nine participants from Australia gathered last week for Taskforce 2023. Their mission was to establish Baan Nam Khem as the headquarters for our new social enterprise, Hands Experiences Thailand.
Leading the group was Bobby Cox, a long-time supporter of Hands and an expert in running bike shops and leading teams. Bobby was the perfect person to guide the group through everything that was required to accomplish our goals for the week. And let us tell you, there were quite a few milestones to hit.
So, what did the team manage to achieve in just one week? Well, a lot!
The front classroom has now been converted into an office and reception area that will double as a retail store for all of the goodies made by our sewing room at BTN. The team worked with the kids to build and test 75 Cannondale bikes that will be used for the day tours and multi day rides that we will be running. There were 12 kids from Home Hug, BTN and PAMA House who relished the opportunity to get their hands greasy and learn the in’s and out’s of the bikes. We have identified a handful of superstars who displayed interest and passion for learning more and potentially becoming bike mechanics down the track.
But that's not all! The Taskforce Team converted a kids' playroom into a bike workshop, removed all of the stickers and signage from the walkways (and there was A LOT), and repainted the walls and floors. They even sanded back the deck area and re-stained it bringing the space back to its former glory! And, if that's not enough, they transformed the sandpit and play area into a bike washing bay and a potential foot massage area for our day tourists who might want a foot massage post their ride.
At the beginning of the week, our CEO Claire Baines officially welcomed Juthathon Jaiodton (Nunn) to the team, who accepted the role of General Manager for Hands Experiences Thailand. While there is plenty for Nunn to do when he starts with us on 29th May, we think he will be pretty happy with the progress of the space.
Overall, the Taskforce accomplished a lot, breaking the back of major tasks and renovation projects to get Baan Nam Khem ready for use. This is an inspiring story of teamwork and community building.
This Taskforce was not only about renovating the facilities at Baan Nam Khem but it was also a new beginning for Hands Across the Water. The establishment of Hands Experiences Thailand will help create sustainable jobs for the communities we work with and allow us to continue our mission of helping at-risk children in Thailand. We're excited to see where this new chapter takes us and the positive impact it will have on the lives of those we support. We can't wait to see what Hands Experiences Thailand will achieve in the future!
Check out some photos from our progress below, as well as a Before & After Slideshow!