The SET Foundation has four main programs ...
The Scholarship Program
SET’s primary aim is to award long-term study scholarships to needy youngsters at high school, vocational college and university. Currently, the foundation is supporting 1,400 students throughout their studies.
Students are very carefully assessed for support by more than 70 professional educators and student guidance officers, all of whom give their time voluntarily. Students receive their scholarship money at the opening of each of the two annual Thai semesters and every scholarship is presented personally by a SET trustee.
A milestone for SET: In early 2014, SET awarded its 5,000th scholarship. The scholarship was presented to a high school student by SET’s very first student, Seckson (on left) and SET founder and director Peter Robinson.
Peter and Seckson met in 1994 when Seckson had just finished his high school studies. He had gained a university place to study Physics but his impoverished parents could not afford the fees. Peter and his friends in the UK created SET specifically to help Seckson through his studies. The charity grew from there and in the UK eventually evolved into a separate charity - the Students' Education Trust. Seckson gained not only his Bachelor degree but also a Masters and then a PhD in Physics. Dr Seckson is now director of the Institute of Fundamental Studies at a leading Thai university.
The Welfare Grants Program
Some students may not quite qualify for a full scholarship but still need occasional financial support for education-related expenses. Unlike SET’s long-term scholarships, grants are given on a ‘one-off’ basis, usually to buy uniform, books and tools, to pay for bus fares, dormitory accommodation, canteen lunch or even spectacles. Over 1,000 students receive welfare grants of varying values every year.
Kiriwong Novice School
SET has no religious agenda but helps support a high school for Buddhist novice monks. The 100 students at the school are all from very disadvantaged backgrounds with parents who could not afford to send them to government schools or even care for them at home. Many are orphans or have been abandoned or abused in some way. Without ordaining as novices, these boys have little opportunity to study at all. By ordaining, the boys study entirely free without the cost of uniform, books, bus fares, food or accommodation. They study a normal high school curriculum and when they finish their studies and disrobe from the monkhood, they’re guaranteed a SET scholarship to take them to vocational college or university.
SET first became involved with Kiriwong in 2005 when the school was about to close through lack of funding. Since then, the foundation has entirely refurbished the school and has installed an excellent library as well as IT and Science classrooms. Kiriwong is now better equipped and has higher standards than some rural government schools.
Saengsawan (‘Light of Heaven’) Orphanage cares for about 80 children, aged from just a few weeks to 18 years old. SET helps keep the orphanage in good repair and well-equipped but mainly brings joy into the children’s lives by sponsoring annual day-trips, special dinners and many other fun activities. When they get older, every Saengsawan child is guaranteed a SET scholarship to study at vocational college or university.