Everton-Chang Village Visited
Blues delegation and sponsors return to village affected by 2004 tragedy.
A delegation from Everton and its main partner Chang returned to the village named after the Club to meet with the community affected by the Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004.
As part of the Club’s trip to Thailand, the group travelled to the village of Ban Naan Khem which has since been renamed the Everton-Chang village, to donate much needed football supplies and check on the progress of the villagers. Academy Manager Ray Hall, Head of Partnerships Phil Brining, Head of Sponsorships Lorraine O’Brien and Academy Coaches Mick O’Brien and Robbie Anderson met with the local community including the village leader, security leader and wellbeing officer.
The Everton-Chang village was set up following an appeal by Everton and Chang in the aftermath of the tragic events of Christmas 2004 which devastated the region. The appeal raised in excess of £100,000, which funded the building of 50 houses and a football field.
During the group’s visit to the village, they met with survivors of the Tsunami to talk about their experiences and remember those family members who were lost in disaster. The party then visited boats that were washed up to one kilometre inland, which have remained where they lay as a memorial to all who perished.
The delegation also visited the village school where money from the appeal was used to build a football pitch. The Academy Coaches ran a session with the local boys, who wasted no time showing off their football skills. At the end of the visit, the head of the Ban Bang Muang School was presented with an Everton shirt and an Everton pennant.
Ray Hall, Everton Academy Manager, said, "Visiting the village really brings home how devastating the tsunami was. Lots of progress has been made since the Club's first visit back in 2005 but it is still very humbling coming here.
"When we launched the appeal in the days after the disaster we wanted to be able to support our partner Chang with their efforts on the ground in the affected region.
"The aim was to try and make a difference and help rebuild people's lives. Today we have seen first hand how we have been able to do that.”
Paul Choong, Director of the Thai Bev External Affairs Department at Chang, said: "Five years ago it was devastating, this area was the worst hit area of the whole tsunami region, the whole village more or less disappeared. People lost their loved ones and all their hopes. The Everton-Chang village has housed 50 families that we have visited today and they very much appreciate what Everton and Chang have done, now five years later although they have to live with the bad memories of the past, the hope is back, they have their livelihoods and their homes back.
"Football is for the children, the adults have to go through the trauma of the disaster, but the children have the nightmares and sport is very important to help them overcome their problems. Some have lost parents or brothers and sisters, but they have a common love of football and they play as a team which is very important.
”Everton is an inspiration to the people and they are so pleased the Everton are able to come back to visit them and care for them. Everton is the people’s club and Chang is the people’s beer and this is one way in which we can show to be helping society as it is in our hearts to try and help people."