In the sea gypsy village in Rawai, an area known for great seafood and beautiful sunsets, kids run through muddy (and sometimes, flooded) waters just to score a goal while others just sit and watch.
This is one of the reasons the Mushy Peas, the Rawai-based supporters club of Phuket FC, donated dozens of sports equipment to the village. A caretaker will make sure the equipment will be distributed in a central location and available for children all over the area.
“We mainly did this to keep them in sports, keep them doing some exercise, and keep them away from the dangers on the street,” said Richie Dell of the Mushy Peas.
The group regularly raises money through the “Mushy Peas Fund” to benefit a local kids charity. Back in April, the group partnered with Phuket FC and G.O.M.S. (Grumpy Old Men Society) to hold a football clinic for underprivileged Burmese children at the team's training facilities. At the end of that day, the kids were even given new pairs of football boots.
This time, as Dell explains, the aim was to help a group closer to home.
“Everyone here is committed to Rawai so everyone wants to give something back to Rawai,” he said. “All these kids go to the local temple school and there's not a lot of money down here but apparently the sea gypsy teams are the best teams in Rawai, at all age groups.”
Dozens of footballs, takraw balls, jump ropes, frisbies, and other equipment was donated to the village. Football goalposts were even erected so the children – and perhaps their parents – could play.
In addition, Phuket FC president Pariyawit “Benz” Achariyachai donated just under 100 tickets to the Thailand vs Myanmar match on August 31 at Surakul Stadium, for both Burmese and sea gypsy children.
The Mushy Peas, meanwhile, plan to continue to raise money and help local kids whenever they can.
“This fund is only going to get bigger each month,” Dell said, “we'd like to grow it gradually and try to cover as many good causes in Rawai as we can.”
This article originally appeared in the September 5, 2014 issue of The Phuket News.