Group to host Small World Festival in Thailand as well as local fundraiser in Encinitas


Toys for Thailand, an all-volunteer team that has been providing tangible goods and services for disadvantaged children in Thailand since 2005, is hosting two fundraising events this fall, one in North County San Diego and the other in Northern Thailand.

From 1-4 p.m. Nov. 8, T4T is hosting a Tribal Fashion and Gift Bazaar at the Seaside Center for Spiritual Living in Encinitas. The event will feature a Hill Tribal fashion show, ethnic handicrafts, tribal embroidery and unique holidays gifts for fashion, bath, body and children. A variety of noodle, rice, salad, and curry dishes prepared by Chef Saranya will be available for purchase. Thai tea and Chang Beer, the No. 1 brand in its home country, will be offered, as well as Thai massage by Pure Life Thai Spa.

This is a free cultural event and no tickets are needed. The proceeds will support an Eye Clinic for children in Northern Thailand.

Toys for Thailand orchestrated The Small World Maehongson Festival in 2010 to bring together hundreds of isolated village hill tribe schoolchildren to the city to celebrate their cultural traditions and bring awareness of their needs. Forty tribal schools will come together on Dec. 24 on Jong Kum Lake in Maehongson, Thailand, for the fifth annual Small World Festival. The Shan, Karen (White, Red and Black) Lawa, Lisu, Lahu, Hmong, Pao, Akha and Long Neck Tribal groups will be represented.

At the festival, the children will share their indigenous music, dance, handicrafts and food with Thais, tourists and other members of hill tribes. At school booths, children display and sell their products, wearing their beautiful and intricate weaving and colorful customary dress. More than 100 scholarships will be awarded, and the ChiangMai International Rotary will be hosting an eye clinic for the children and their parents. For information about the festival, contact Maria Miller at or Bundit Ninudomsak, (Thai/English).

About Toys for Thailand

In the wake of the 2004 Asian Tsunami, Sasha Bilar founded Toys for Thailand. Sasha and her friends collected 700 pounds of stuffed animals and hand-delivered the toys throughout the tsunami zone to children who were orphaned or abandoned in the disaster. Thai Airways International provided free cargo shipping.

Bringing “toys to Thailand” began in 2005 as a quest to give comfort to Thai children but quickly expanded. The group evolved from providing toys to children in the southern tsunami zone to supporting underserved hill tribe schools in the rugged North: Maehongson Province is the poorest area in Thailand where 70 percent of the population are hill tribe people. These children face overwhelming difficulties and risks, including HIV/AIDS, sexual exploitation, child labor, drug and alcohol abuse, malnutrition and erosion of cultural traditions.

Over the past 10 years T4T volunteers have made more than 20 humanitarian trips to the “land of smiles” providing $200,000-plus in resources to hill tribe schools in northern Thailand. The resources included rice husking and soy milk machines, agricultural supplies, water systems, solar panels, vocational and instructional tools. School playgrounds and barber shops are among the most popular donated items.

Toys for Thailand has forged powerful partnerships to stretch resources and build a support network for the children and schools they serve including the Maehongson Education Association, U.S. Navy Project Handclasp, Childline Foundation, Chiangmai International Rotary, AmigoVisionThailand and San Diego Lions Club. Web: