Khru Noi and her Thai speaking colleagues are serious about care. Seeing the need to look after the orphans in Bangkok, they opened Ratburana Orphanage. Premises were run down, but provided a home to 30 orphans, and were where 70 others came for their only meal of the day.
When Mohamed Al Fayed visited in 1998, he was shocked by what he saw, and resolved the ACF would help. Determined to improve the children’s quality of life, a doctor was flown in from England to tend to the children’s medical needs, and an architect working on a Harrods project in Bangkok, was asked to take on the renovations.
They proved their worth. While the doctor focused on the children’s heath, training up a local helper in the process, the architect, Khru Noi and her colleagues put their heads together to draw up concepts for a new building design.
Stripping away the old, the orphanage was reconstructed piece by piece. In just three months it boasted segregated, tiled bathrooms and shower units, and a covered area for teaching.
A brand new, fully-equipped dormitory was next on the list, followed by a roof refit complete with solar panels to heat the water and reduce electricity bills. A commercial washing machine and dryer was installed, and the courtyard – once covered in rubbish and debris – was transformed into a clean, fun, safe environment.
In May 1998 the renovated Ratburana Orphanage was blessed by Buddhist monks.