Tragic Accident in Bangkok

Around 8:00 o’clock this morning, Tara and Karissa eagerly flagged down a motorbike taxi, asking to go to a nearby park where they would meet their father. As the girls and their motorbike driver were rounding the corner to turn onto Sukhumvit (the main road that runs through downtown Bangkok), a car suddenly crashed into them from behind, throwing both of the girls to the pavement. Tara’s leg and pelvis were crushed by the car of the offending driver, while Karissa was run over by another car, badly injuring her arm. Unable to move, Tara watched both drivers speed off as her sister Karissa lay next to her, unconscious.

A nearby shopkeeper saved both girls’ lives by pulling them out of the street and calling for help. They were rushed to different hospitals. We know that both girls will survive, but it appears that they will face a long, expensive recovery.

You can read more about the family here.

 

Update:

Both girls have had to undergo several major surgeries, but Karissa will need more if her arm is going to be saved. Their total medical expenses are expected to exceed $22,000. Without insurance, they are relying on the help of friends and family. If you would like to contribute to their medical expenses, please contact Chris@LifeRaftBKK.org.

 

Written by Tim Lefevre

 

A look back at 5 years: Numbers and Highlights

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About 5 years ago, my friend Mike and I had the idea of starting an organization that would enable ordinary people to transform refugees lives in Bangkok, Thailand. As I imagined the model in my head, I remember thinking that if people’s heartsopened to refugees, we could change the world.For the past 5 years, it has been my joy to see so many people’s hearts open on a scale I never imagined. We now support approximately 300 refugees, provide about 40 educational scholarships, and partner with 5 different churches in Bangkok. We also currently have approximately 90 refugees on our waitlist. (Click here to see how We Want to End the List)

Check out the numbers and highlights below to see the difference people are making. (We use June to May, since that is our fiscal year, for accounting purposes)

June 2009- May 2010

Highlights:

  • Mike and Chris meet Dilan
  • Newsong community helps to provide food and shelter to Dilan and his family
  • Chris leaves Bangkok

Numbers:

  • Bangkok Church partners: 1
  • Refugees: 4
  • Educational scholarships: 0

June 2010- May 2011

Highlights:

Numbers

  • Bangkok church partners: 1
  • Refugees: 12
  • Educational scholarships: 0

June 2011- May 2012

Highlights

  • Life Raft is officially incorporated in Virginia
  • Life Raft obtains 501(c)3 status
  • Life Raft gets a website and a logo

Numbers

  • Bangkok Church partners: 1
  • Refugees: 12
  • Educational scholarships: 0

June 2012-May 2013

Highlights

Numbers

  • Bangkok church partners: 1
  • Refugees: 60
  • Educational Scholarships: 2

June 2013-May 2014

Highlights

Numbers

  • Bangkok church partners: 2
  • Refugees: 100
  • Educational Scholarships: 7

June 2014-May 2015

Highlights

Numbers

  • Bangkok church partners 5
  • Refugees: 250
  • Educational Scholarships: 30

Since the end May 2015, we have supported around 50 new refugees, and provided 8 new educational scholarships. Thank you all for enabling us to make this difference! We would love to have you join us, as we take more steps to transform lives in Bangkok.

A Reunion 5 Years in the Making

Dilan
Dilan

This morning, Jade and I were standing in a train station in Europe, eagerly waiting for Dilan, who was traveling three hours, one-way, just to see us. I had met Dilan 6 years ago, at my church in Bangkok. When my friends and I found out that Dilan and his wife were going to sell their wedding rings to pay for one more month of rent, we came together and made sure the family would be provided for while they were in Bangkok. About a year after we started helping them, Dilan and his family were resettled in Europe. Our friendship with Dilan inspired us to found Life Raft, but I hadn't seen him since he left Thailand. (You can read more about this story here)

As my eyes wandered around the station, I finally saw him, looking around the train station for us. I waved to him, and before I knew it, we were giving each other bear hugs. Seeing him, after more than 5 years was exhilarating. We left the station and walked around town, and he told me about his time in Europe. He was now fluent in his new  country’s language, and was an elder at his church. For his children, their new country now felt like home, and he loved that his kids could get a quality education, and walk the streets in safety.

But in the midst of this, he told me that he desperately wanted to return to his home country. As soon as it was feasible, he planned to move back with his family. The fact that his family’s lives had been threatened did not steal his love for his country, or his hope for its redemption.

Midway through our walk, We went into a coffee shop, and ordered some coffee. Over his objections, I tried to pay with my credit card, but the old-fashioned machine did not accept it. He jumped in and paid with cash. As I apologized, and thanked him, he held up his hand, pointed to his wedding ring and said, “No, I would not have this without you. It is my pleasure.”

(This post was written by Chris Woodruff, our founder and executive director)