RePlanetMe started as an idea from a niece and her aunt:
16-year-old Léya, who dreams of studying marine biology and has been volunteering since the age of 11; and Pattratip, the founder of Nitade Chula R-Sa (the Chulalongkorn University Alumni volunteer group), who has been volunteering to improve children’s education and the environment for more than 7 years.
Every year, Léya, who is half French, half Thai and lives in Toronto, Canada, eagerly awaits the summer school holidays to return to Thailand in order to join the annual Nitade Chula R-Sa volunteer camp held by her aunt.
Léya has loved animals since childhood, and when her aunt organized a project called “Temple Dog Duty”, to help care for stray dogs through flea removal, vaccinations, and turmeric baths, Léya was thrilled to participate. Since then, she has looked forward to finding out what Nitade Chula’s next volunteer project would be and how she could help.
Whether it was making signage, coordinating via walkie talkie, taking on bigger tasks such as painting a building, or even just running back and forth between schools, Léya never hesitated to help the team whenever anyone needed anything.
Even though she grew up comfortably in a Western country, Léya never complained, hesitated, nor fussed, like many kids of her Millennial generation might, if they were to spend their summer holidays in remote rural areas of Southeast Asia. Whether helping to wash and cut children’s hair in a school in Ranong, the least populated province in Thailand, or teaching kids from the Karen minority how to properly separate waste, North of Nan, near the Burmese border, Léya has always lived and loved to help.
Her devotion to helping out volunteer causes really shone through no matter where Léya was. Back in Canada, in 2017, after several years of volunteer experience, Léya surprised friends and family when she decided to help fundraise for her aunt’s next volunteer camp.
She lovingly baked cookies, packed them up by herself, and sold them at her school’s Annual Fair. Even her parents had no clue about her intentions. The cookies sold out very quickly thanks to the posters she made explaining all the money would go to help schoolchildren in remote areas of Thailand. She had made the first earnings of her life: the equivalent of 9,000 Baht… and she donated every last baht to charity.
During the Summer of 2018, Léya sparked the start of RePlanetMe. As soon as she returned to Thailand, Léya shared the heartbreaking story of a sea turtle with a 12-cm plastic straw lodged deep in its nostril. She came up with the idea to find an alternative to disposable plastic straws –stainless steel ones– and to make them available for sale.
She was hoping that through this first small project, she could spark some change in our society and at the same time earn some summer income. Part of this money would then be donated to her aunt’s volunteer camps, and part of it would be saved towards her goal of studying to become a marine biologist.
Léya has grown up, and is now a teenager, but she is still very much a kindhearted child at heart.
Within the first week of the project being launched via a solitary post on Léya’s aunt’s Facebook page, more than 500 sets of straws had been sold, and it eventually turned into a full-time passion project. RePlanetMe was born.
Pattratip (Oup), is a former advertising executive, a business owner, and a social entrepreneur. In 2011 she founded Nitade Chula R-Sa, Chulalongkorn University’s alumni volunteer group, and has led it since its founding in an unpaid volunteer capacity. The Group’s mission is to raise funds and organize annual projects, or “camps”, that will contribute to the development of Thailand and its people.
These camps are held annually in schools in remote and border areas of Thailand, to help benefit nature and improve the environment and the quality of life for the schoolchildren, in a multitude of ways.
Oup has committed to dedicate her life to improving social, environmental and sustainable natural development.
She is also a loving aunt and mentor to her niece Leya.
OUP’S VOLUNTEER AND SOCIAL PROJECT EXPERIENCE
Oup raised funds for, coordinated, and organized the following projects:
- Organized a team of 40 volunteers to prepare and distribute 2,000 survival bags to help victims of Thailand’s big flood in Ayutthaya, Bang Len, and Lamlukka, in 2011.
- “Computer Camp” for the Baan Kratai Nonsawat School in Mahasarakham in March 2012
- Computer Camp for the Baan Huay Poo School in Mae Ai, Chiang Mai in 2013
- “Garbage Separation and Making Money from Waste” Environmental Camp for students of the Baan Huay Poo School in Chiang Mai, 2013.
- Computer Camp for the Baan Na Pru (Thairath Wittayakom) School in Ranong, in 2014
- Computer Camp, School Development, and “Garbage Separation and Making Money from Waste” Environmental Camp at the Baan Klong Kum school, Lopburi in 2015
- “Mae Wang Sustainable School Stay” Project, in cooperation with the Group Independent Study Travel (GIST) team, part of the Asia Pacific Leadership Program (APLP) in March 2015
- “Mae Wang SchoolStay” Opening Camp at the Lion Rattanakosin School in Mae Wang, Chiang Mai in September 2015. Mae Wang SchoolStay was the first “homestay in school” project in Thailand. The income generated directly benefited the students of the school. The funds were used to purchase learning equipment, pay for extra teachers’ salary, and improve other infrastructure in the area. It also benefited the minority Karen hill-tribe through the development of and the continuation of the children’s education.
- Computer Camp, School Development, and “Garbage Separation and Making Money from Waste” Environmental Camp at Lion Rattanakosin School, Mae Wang, Chiang Mai in May 2016
- “Dormitory Improvement Camp” for students living at the Baan Sapun School in Bo Kreua, Nan in July 2017
- Baan Huay Ma-O School Building & Library Project (Border Patrol Police Learning Center) in Mae Hong Son, May 2018
- “New Library Move” Camp at the Baan Lan Aeuang School, Sukhothai in June 2018
- “Temple Dog Duty” projects to help stray dogs through flea removal, vaccination, and medicinal turmeric baths in 2012, 2013, and 2017.
When she is not volunteering, or working, Oup spends her time practicing yoga, trekking and SCUBA diving around the world, caring for stray cats, and cooking home-made pasta for her friends.