If you’re born into a Thai village, chances are you’re in a fight from the moment you enter the world. You’re fighting fate – a merciless opponent who’s defeated generation after generation before you. A fate that offers a childhood of drugs, alcohol, gang violence and even rape. And if you make it to adulthood, fate then offers you menial employment or a life of crime. Very few children have the strength to defy the odds and change their fate. But that’s what people like Frances and Boom want to change.
Both professional Muay Thai fighters, Canadian born Frances and Thai local, Boom, met over a decade ago in Bangkok. On a visit to Boom’s village, Issan, the two witnessed all the negative influences engulfing the lives of local kids. This experience wasn’t forgotten. After five years away from Issan, Frances and Boom realized nothing was ever going to change unless someone made it happen. So, after first uniting in marriage, the two joined forces for another cause: to change young lives forever.
Frances and Boom moved back to Issan, and in Boom’s Dad’s garden they created a safe space for kids to learn Muay Thai and channel their energy into something positive. The impact echoed through the village. And when Frances and Boom took to a crowd-funding campaign, those echoes were heard worldwide. Their story captured imaginations and raised enough money to build the Wor Watthana Muay Thai Gym.
Today, kids all over Issan are learning new skills, feeling a sense of purpose and dreaming of a future far beyond the sport of Muay Thai. Here, they’re given the opportunity to play, laugh and have fun – to just be kids. And importantly, they’re afforded the chance to forget about their troubles, even if it’s just for a few hours. This initiative has even had a profound effect on its co-creators. Just from the way Boom smiles around the kids, Frances can see the genuine happiness in his soul and the pride he has for his humble village. It’s clear that Wor Watthana has become so much more than a gym. It’s a community centre, a playground, a safe haven, and to many, a second family.
With your help, we can give village kids all across Thailand the strength to dream of a happy, fulfilling life – a fate we all deserve.