Action4Diabetes Brings Renewed Hope to Impoverished Children With Type 1 Diabetes
On 16 November 2022, Shrewsbury International School Bangkok Riverside granted a 273,000-baht
donation to the Action for Diabetes (A4D) Foundation to support their mission in aiding disadvantaged
children across Southeast Asia suffering from Type-1 Diabetes (T1D), an incurable genetic disease that
can be fatal if left untreated. Shrewsbury feels extremely grateful to support A4D as most children they
help come from underprivileged families who have trouble getting affordable health care, let alone have
access to proper education. The children that A4D supports come from various Southeast Asian
countries such as Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Laos.
Shrewsbury made the donation through their Outreach Department that encourages student leadership
and an entrepreneurial spirit. The Outreach team also had the opportunity to interview A4D Co-Founder
Mr. Charles Toomey as well as Ms. Tyla Martin to get an idea how the funds would be disbursed across
the foundation. With a keen interest in student affairs, Shrewsbury is confident that the donation could
garner a positive impact on A4D’s ASPIRE Scholarship programme as well as their Diabetes Family
Camp (DFC). ASPIRE focuses on supporting academic education and vocational training to students
with T1D. DFC, on the other hand, is a two-day camp where A4D partners with clinics and invites all
young people along with their families to get an intensive education about diabetes. The course includes
workshops facilitated by a trainer as well as allowing students to engage in games as part of ice-breaking
DFC has been a great help to children with T1D, as they come back with renewed confidence by
becoming less afraid to express themselves in public. For such a debilitating disease that instills a feeling
of isolation and hopelessness, many children are now willing to make more friends as they have greater
support from their peers who are fellow T1D sufferers. Over the past years, Shrewsbury students from
the Community Engagement Team (CET) have also helped facilitate DFC camps in Borneo, Cambodia,
and Myanmar. Shrewsbury feels thankful to be a part of a community that makes a difference to the
world. Many children also have their own social circle where feel accepted without being shunned by the
public. After all, in some cultures it is considered a social stigma to admit you’re diabetic so that prevents
diabetes sufferers from speaking out about their condition.
Laos would be a clear example of such a case. When Mr. Toomey visited the country, he was surprised
to find out that T1D was not being recognized. Ever since the foundation was set up, Mr. Toomey has
helped local people get exposure for treatment. A4D has partnered with local public hospitals in giving
out medical supplies and blood transfusion kits, but their foundation’s programmes are also not limited to
providing healthcare. Communication is important as well, and another example is the foundation’s Hello-
Type 1 program, an online platform providing young people with Type 1 Diabetes and their families with
accurate information in their local language about the disease.
T1D is a disease that strikes indiscriminately, even for physically fit people like A4D co-founder Jerry
Gore has climbed mountains from all over the world. Famous people like Hollywood celebrities Halle
Berry and Tom Hanks as well as former British Prime Minister Teresa May also have this condition.
Hence, it is essential to raise awareness and connect people together as a community. Shrewsbury’s
Outreach team are grateful to have partnered with A4D and converted our relationship with them into a
firm and stable partnership to empower the lives of young people and our students in the coming years.