PHUKET: The Phuket Gazette is delighted to announce that our 'Person of the Year' Award for 2010 goes to Khun Wipa Tanmanatragul of the Phuket International Women's Club (PIWC).
Khun Wipa, elected this year as the PIWC's first Thai President, has been selected for her embodiment of "charity for charity's sake" and her 15 years of quiet, low-profile dedication to the work of the PIWC.
Founded 21 years ago, the PIWC is for women of all nationalities. They share a common goal: to raise funds for scholarships for children from disadvantaged families. Currently there are more than 30 countries represented in the club's membership.
The club's support for education, ranging from junior school to university degrees, is legendary in Phuket. This year alone the PIWC granted 56 new scholarships, bringing to 628 the total awarded in the organization's history.
"Many foreign friends encouraged me to join, and I was really impressed by the voluntary nature and objectives of the group. I was involved in the Thai school system [as President of the Parent-Teacher Association of Satree Phuket School for four years], so I knew how important financial aid would be for qualified children and their families.
"And I had seen firsthand the benefits of community support. I was awarded a one year exchange student scholarship to study in high school in the US. Later, I was supported by Rotary when I went to Australia for five years to study and train as a nurse."
The annual 'Person of the Year' Award goes to "that person who in the opinion of Gazette editors stands out most for good deeds or excellence as a role model in activating people to work together toward a better Phuket."
That Khun Wipa meets the criteria for the Award is well born out by her reaction to receipt of it.
"I am really honored to be selected. It is so unexpected. There are so many others who have done more than I over the years, so I accept [the award] in recognition of their efforts as well. And for all those wonderful young people who have excelled with PIWC support."
Khun Wipa was born in Songkla and has lived in Phuket for 22 years.
She is the wife of renowned hotelier Khun Methee Tanmanatragul, long serving former President of the Thai Hotels Association Southern Chapter, and proud mother of a Chulalongkorn University graduate currently pursuing her master's degree at Kingston University in the UK.