If you google Klong Toey in Bangkok, Thailand – you’ll soon find out that it is home to a huge market, a port, a football team, and a ‘slum’ community. I visited the so-called ‘slum’ back in April and walked around the area throughout the day meeting and photographing its wonderful residents.
Through western eyes Klong Toey is a ‘slum’, but to the upwards of 80,000 people who live there it’s a proud and caring community. Local businesses on the ’slum’ thrive meeting the daily needs of residents, and many people find work on the nearby port and market. Klong Toey is full of energy and a strong sense of achievement of what the people have created for themselves in the face of poverty and adversity is evident and widespread.
The people are Klong Toey’s real asset. The residents I encountered were friendly and extremely hospitable, offering me food, drinks, and stories. I felt welcome and at ease during my walk around the huge area and couldn’t help but notice the flow of positivity, pride, and happiness that encompassed the people and their homes.
With the support of charities and organisations, such as the excellent Duang Prateep Foundation, most children are able to attend school and access healthcare services. In addition, the foundation also supports a range of projects that improve the lives of residents, including a kindergarten program, a lunch and nutrition program, an aids project, as well as disabled and senior citizen services.
When the weekend hits, football is the order of the day – and the people of Klong Toey are fanatical in their support for their local team – Port F.C. Every home game sees thousands of residents flock to the nearby PAT stadium.
Towards the end of my visit to Klong Toey I met a gentleman who lost his house to a recent fire which destroyed many dwellings in the area. He had only managed to save a few belongings from the fire, one of which was a clock featuring the recently deceased king. He spoke of his determination to rebuild, so he could hang his clock back in its rightful place.
You can support some of the organisations and charities doing great work in Klong Toey by finding out more and clicking on the links below.
- The Duang Prateep Foundation
- Second Chance Bangkok
- Helping Hands Bangkok
- Playing For Change Foundation
Read about an Australian couple living and working in Klong Toey here.
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