The Australian Connection

Back in 1989 Brian Haffenden, the former International Co-ordinator and current Vice Chairman of the Foundation, having just retired after major eye surgery, was invited to go to Thailand to assist in the establishment of a Dairy Farm for a group in Central Thailand. The client was Luangphaw Chamroon Parnchand, the Abbot at the Thamkrabok Monastery, and his followers.

For a variety of reasons the concept of a Dairy Farm did not eventuate.

Whilst at Thamkrabok discussing the Dairy Farm Project, the Australian group were shown the Detoxification Wing. They also witnessed a demonstration of the drinking of the Herbal Medicine. A full explanation was given on the course of detoxification and the fantastic results achieved.

A young Australian, just about to depart the Monastery, had just completed the course. He had become addicted to heroin for sixteen years, and told Brian that he was now free of his addiction. That he was ready to return to his wife and children and become a good husband and father. He also related the problems he faced in transit, and that withdrawing on arrival in Thailand he had made his way into Bangkok to seek out a fix before heading to the Monastery. Ten years later John is strong and healthy with a very happy family.

Luangphaw Chamroon saw the interest emerging from Brian who, by his own admission, has never been involved in the field of Substance Abuse.

After a series of talks with the Abbot, Brian was invited to return to Australia and, as best he could, let Australia know of the services available at Thamkrabok for those desirous of quitting their addiction. Also, and equally as important, to facilitate the journey - given that withdrawal after a long flight was to say the least, very dangerous in a foreign land.

For seven years, literally as a "one man show" Brian made countless journeys into Thailand escorting groups of addicts. Along the way mistakes were made, but he learnt from those mistakes and strived to improve the services offered. Speak to him today and he will tell you that each day is a new experience, and that we never stop learning. Quite often he thought about withdrawing from his commitment, and seeking a life of peace and quiet in his retirement years. The records show that he remained with his commitment and that 180 addicts and alcoholics travelled from Australia to Thailand with him. All that completed the course went home free of their addiction. Sadly though about 35% reverted to their former habit within one year.

This equates to 65% staying free of drugs in excess of one year.

Throughout those seven years the Australian and International media have covered the story many times. Without exception all gave a very positive report to their respective communities.

International enquiries came forth, and these were all handled by Brian. But it was becoming impossible for one person to control.

A small group of businessmen in Perth met Brian. The result of that very first meeting was the formation of a Steering Committee who agreed to attend to the legalities of creating The Thamkrabok Foundation Incorporated in Australia. They did their work well.

The Foundation, now established, conducts its affairs from a fully operational Administration Office located in Western Australia. A Management Committee, committed to assisting folk trapped into addiction, is in place.

Other organisations, both Government and non-Government, in this field have been offered the hand of friendship and co-operation. The policy of the Foundation being to network with all Agencies.

Thanks to the Lotteries Commission of Western Australia the Foundation has been able to fully equip the Administration Office. This includes the Website that you are now reading, which draws up to 1000 visitors per month from all parts of the world. Those who make contact receive a reply.

The work of the Foundation in sending Australian addicts to Thailand continues. But the initial commitment has now extended to other activities. Concentrating on Counselling, Awareness and of course Detoxification.

Also we are continually exploring other steps that could be taken to bring the escalating problems of Substance Abuse under control.

By prior arrangement we are available to speak on Substance Abuse and Related Matters to Service Organisations, Colleges and Universities, Schools, and Action Groups. No fees are called for. All we ask is that expenses be met, and that any donations made will be channelled into the work we do.

Other nations interested in forming a similar Foundation are encouraged to make contact. All that ask will be helped.

Within Australia the Foundation enjoys the status of being a Public Benevolent Institute. This means that as a non-profit and charitable organisation we obtain certain tax benefits. It also means that any donations of $2 or more made from within Australia to the Foundation are tax deductible.

Nonetheless, wherever you are in the world, should you wish to support our work and continuing commitment by making a donation, it will be gratefully received and faithfully applied. Should you wish to make a donation, please mail your cheque direct to the head office. An official receipt will then be mailed out to you. Your cheque should be crossed and made out to "The Thamkrabok Foundation".

Mailing Address:
Thamkrabok Foudation
P.O. Box 139 Osborne Park, W.A. 6917 Australia

For further contact details, visit the CONTACT page