Khun Udom Vichayabhai, the Chairman of the Thai Pestalozzi Foundation (TPF), passed away on 5th June 2022 at the age of 87.
Khun Udom will be sadly missed by all of us at Pestalozzi World UK who always admired him for his dedication to the Thai Pestalozzi Foundation, nurturing it since its inception in 1990 to the well-established and excellently organized entity we find today.
Khun Udom’s example spreads far beyond Thailand to the Pestalozzi World organizations in India and Nepal; he made an excellent role model not only for the Thai Pestalozzi Board members and all the students it has supported and continues to support, but also for the other Asian Pestalozzi organisations which have been established over the years.
Tribute below from Vice Chairman, Chaiyan Tippayosot:
He became Chairman of TPF, which was established in January 1990, through the invitation of Sir Richard Butler as they were acquainted personally and professionally. At that time, Khun Udom was the Managing Director of MFC Asset Management PCL, a well known and respected firm in the financial circle of Thailand.
The story goes back to the year 1966 when 12 young Thai students were selected for sponsorship by the Pestalozzi Children’s Village Trust, UK, which provided a Head, Heart and Hands education based on the approach of Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. 12 more Thai students followed two years later and all in all about 87 Thai students had their secondary level education at local secondary and grammar schools while living at the Sedlescombe Village. After graduating with diplomas or degrees in various fields, most of the Thais returned home to their families.
There is a special indescribable bond between those who have spent time in the Pestalozzi Village where they met and lived among friends from Tibet, Jordan, India, Nigeria, Vietnam and Nepal. The bonds and memories stay.
On return home, the Thais wished to do something in return for the gift of education that they received from the Pestalozzi Village. They decided to work within Thailand helping young Thai students from poor families lacking the resources to go into the higher education they were capable of.
So, TPF was set up in 1990 under the initiative of Sir Richard Butler and with the acceptance of Khun Udom as Chairman. Khun Udom was safe to say an outsider among us, but he was willing enough to unselfishly accept the role on the understanding that it was for a very good cause and that he could be of help.
During the 32 years that TPF has been in operation, Khun Udom has seen it provide education to more than 350 Thai students with 100 currently being supported. TPF has grown from initially receiving all its funding from PestalozziWorld until three years back when TPF became self-funding. A large number of our students graduated with bachelor level degrees but some went on to receive masters and doctorates. Amongst other professions, they have gone on to become doctors, dentists, accountants, architects, interior designers, engineers, civil servants and teachers at school and university level. This is an achievement that Khun Udom was very much proud of. He has also been our principal fund raiser through his many connections.
Needless to say, we are much saddened by Khun Udom’s passing as he has been with us and connected to PestalozziWorld for so many years and we will greatly miss his kindness and his unselfish contributions.
Khun Udom has left his mark on our Heads, our Hearts and our Hands to carry on in recognition of his good name.
Vice Chairman of TPF