The Khlong Toey Slum
With over 100,000 inhabitants spread over a densely populated swathe of Southern Bangkok, Khlong Toey slum is the largest of its community in Thailand. The area was initially developed in the early 20th century around an enormous slaughterhouse, and is now home to Bangkok’s primary shipping port along the Chao Phraya River.
Some Bangkok residents try to avoid the area due to its notorious reputation for crime. Many of the children who grow up here face daily challenges relating to poverty, domestic and gang violence, teenage pregnancy, drug addiction and alcoholism, just to name a few.
Many kids are abused, neglected, abandoned and/or forced to choose between running drugs and living on the streets. Though loving families support and encourage some, a large percentage of children from the Khlong Toey slum encounter obstacles that a child should never have to face.
Foundation of the school
Established in October 2012 by a pair of lifelong musicians – Geraldine “Gigi” Nemrod, a French resident of Bangkok, and Siriporn “Amm” Pomwong, a Thai native – KTMP is a non-profit organization born out of a passion to create positive social change through music.
Inspired by the Playing for Change (PFC) movement and related Playing For Change Foundation (PFCF), Gigi and Amm began by arranging music lessons for underprivileged kids in Khlong Toey. Soon after, PFCF offered its support, and in June 2013, KTMP became the 9th music program to be officially endorsed by Playing For Change Foundation.
The school is currently opened five days a week, on weekday evenings and weekend afternoons. Children are taught an array of instruments and voice, as well as visual arts and English. Ranging from very young to teenage, roughly 60 kids attend the weekly lessons.
The organization continually evolves to provide music and arts education to as many underprivileged kids as possible.
Music is my happiness.
– Benz, student