In 1990 when AIDs spread into Thailand, a group of individuals campaigned for solution of this problem until Thailand was an example of success in the control of HIVs.
UNAIDS concluded that within 12 years (1990-2002), there was a 90% decrease of newly infected patients. The campaign resulted in the 7,700,000 Thai people not being infected. Dr. Mechai Viravaidya was in that group and has taken a major role in family planning.
Khon Kaen University Council agreed to present the “Golden Kalapaphruek Award” to Dr. Mechai Viravaidya to honor him and to disseminate his concepts, and educational ideas for the rural areas. Khon Kaen University assigned Faculty of Education and College of Local Administration to organize the “Golden Kalapaphruek Award” presentation to him at Saisuree Jutikul Room, Faculty of Education on January 9, 2017. The event was honored that Dr. Mechai Viravaidya on this occasion gave a special talk on “Direction of Thai Riral Education”. Dr. Surapon Petwara, a qualified member of Khon Kaen University Council Khon Kaen University Council, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kittichai Triratanasirichai, Khon Kaen University President, deans, administrators of KKU and over 600 teachers and educators from schools and KKU students attended.
Dr. Surapon Petwara, a qualified member of Khon Kaen University Council Khon Kaen University Council conveyed an appreciation address towards Dr. Mechai Viravaidya, “Dr. Mechai Viravaidya is a modest person who never stops working. He always sacrifices himself for others and so has been accepted worldwide. He has been working on 4 jobs, namely, decreasing Thai’s birth rate, decreasing AIDs mortality rate, decreasing poverty in rural areas, and decreasing social imbecility. He has founded Meechaipatana School to increase potentiality and qualities of people.” Dr. Surapon Petwara also thanked Khon Kaen University for awarding the prize to a person who deserves it.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kittichai Triratanasirichai, Khon Kaen University President read the announcement of the renowned deeds of Dr. Mechai Viravaidya on behalf of Khon Kaen University, “Over the past 42 years, he has carried out the work for the society, especially the Northeast. That was why he was granted honorary doctoral degrees from many universities in Thailand and abroad as well as different honorary awards such as Prince Mahidol’s Prize in public health, the Magsaysay Award in public services, Inspirational Innovator Award from the National Innovation Office and Gates Award for Global Health 2007 from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. With his virtue, competence and outstanding work beneficial to the upgrading of Thai peoples quality of life, Khon Kaen University agreed to present him the 2016 Golden Kalapaphruek – Individual Category.”
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Chanchai Panthongwiriyakul (MD), Dean of Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University expressed his feeling towards Dr. Mechai Viravaidya, “Dr. Mechai Viravaidya is highly competent in analyzing and synthesizing of social problems. His capacity in educational reform to raise the qualities of Thai people can be seen from Meechaipatana School that he founded. The 2016 Golden Kalapaphruek of Khon Kaen University is a great award and Khon Kaen University is honored Dr. Mechai Viravaidya receives this award from us.”
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Maitree Inprasitha, Dean of faculty of Education of Khon Kaen University said, “The prizes that Dr. Mechai Viravaidya has received in his life cannot be compared to the great benefits he has done to the country and also other countries. Today, I’ve learned from the real experiences of Dr. Mechai Viravaidya, which made me realize how education can make a person a valuable person who can extend the values to others just like Dr. Mechai Viravaidya, who has done this all his life. As the co-host of this ceremony, I apologize should there be any errors. Thanks all the guests who participate.”
Dr. Mechai Viravaidya also founded another Meechaipatana School in Lamplaimas District, Buriram with an aim to have a life-long learning resource and a center for community development. With this aim, the school is an education institution and a place to instill honesty, public-mindedness and charity as well as a place that trains students life skills, occupational skills and how to do new businesses. Now, a lot of people agree with the concepts of the school and join in developing small schools according to Meechaipatana School’s concept.
Miss Anatta Chaikhot, a 3rd year student majoring in English language teaching and a quality product of Meechaipatana School or bamboo school said, “Meechaipatana School taught me to be a good person and respect every one. People are equal no matter what age and sex. Instruction at the school emphasizes participation, looking beyond the normality, practicing and learning from doing.
Apart from knowledge, Meechaipatana School taught me to learn from mistakes and success until I obtain life skills. I obtain experiences from doing and use life skills in real life. I’m proud to have a good chance such as waived tuition. Students are taught to sacrifice and think of the others more than oneself.”
News: Boriphat Thasi
Photographs: Watunyu Chuemthaisong, Boriphat Thasi