On June 26, 2015, Khun Prombun Panichaphakdi, Executive Director of the Raks Thai Foundation, Khun Chalerm Mahakitsiri, Board member and Management President of Thoresen Thai Agencies Co. (TTA), and Khun “Taew” Nataporn Temirak, celebrity actor, joined the press announcement of the launch of the Dare to Be Good Project of Raks Thai.
The main goal of the project is to combat childhood bullying and promote a volunteer mindset as the model of being a hero. This is a continuation and expansion of Raks Thai’s work in 84 schools in commemoration of the 84th birthday anniversary of King Rama IX, which encourages students to serve the public good. That project exposed the need to address school bully among students. Accordingly, Raks Thai decided to launch a separate project to address this problem. The project is named “Kla Tham Dee” (Dare to Be Good), and aims to mobilize students and schools to prevent or combat any kind of bullying, including physical, emotional, or verbal abuse. Being opposed to bullying is a life skill, which children need to learn from a young age. Bullying can interfere with development and learning, and the adverse effects of being a bully victim can last well into adulthood. The project strategy is to motivate youth to change abusive behavior and maintain civil behavior among their peers in the school setting. The project also tries to boost self-esteem among students and to help them understand basic human rights and principles of equality. All students should expect to be able to co-exist peacefully with their classmates. The project also works with onlooker groups who don’t intervene when they observe bullying. The goal is to motivate these bystanders to become involved when they see signs of bullying and help stop it at an early stage. This initiative also builds leadership skills and a public-service mindset. In the words of Khun Prombun:
“Bullying behavior is pervasive in all regions of the country. The bullying can be as insidious as abusive speech, relentless teasing, shaming others, scorning others, or discriminating based on ethnicity or skin color. Other types of more physical abuse include extorting lunch money or possessions of weaker students, threats of violence, or actual physical abuse. In general, boys practice bullying more than girls.”
Currently, the Dare to Be Good project is being implemented in 61 schools in nine provinces of all regions of the country. The sites include smaller schools (60-100 students) in lower-income or remote areas, such as the northern mountainous areas, the three southern border provinces, and border areas of the northeast. In 2017, it was estimated that 1,860 students were being reached by the project. Again, in the words of Khun Prombun:
“The Raks Thai Foundation expresses its gratitude to TTA for recognizing the importance of the problem of childhood bullying, and promoting a more civic and volunteer mindset in youth at an early age. In addition to its financial support for the Dare to Be Good Project, the TTA plans to mobilize its experts to speak to groups of children as a form of motivation and inspiration. We would like to thank TTA on behalf of the thousands of students who are benefiting from the project.”
The project has also received the honor from Thai performing artists and celebrities, such as “Taew – Nataporn Temirak” who is a goodwill ambassador (Angel) for the project. Raks Thai believes that the project will encourage youth to become more involved, especially with these stars and celebrities as role models.
Khun Chalerm Mahakitsiri of TTA added that he hopes that the project interventions will be sustained and replicated wherever needed. That way, a new generation of Thai youth will grow up with civic-mindedness, and dare to intervene when they see bullying or other injustices. This will create a youth-friendly atmosphere in schools so that no student should be afraid of attending school. TTA has faith in Raks Thai because of its track record of success in this area. TTA plans to continue to partner with Raks Thai on this and other endeavors as appropriate. TTA also hopes that its staff will understand more about corporate social responsibility by collaborating with Raks Thai.