Tul Pinkaew, 32, reported on politics for the Bangkok Post before working with several NGOs. Now serving as campaign director of Change.org in Thailand, Tul has helped concerned Thai individuals voice issues they feel passionate about. The international social enterprise aims to empower ordinary people to bring about change through online petitioning. The Thai chapter of Change.org will be officially launched in Dec but you can start your own change now at www.change.org/th.
WHAT IS A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE?
WHAT IS A SOCIAL ENTERPRISE?
We are a business that gives back to society. What we do has to make society better and our income has to be used to expand our business so that we can serve the people and society better. Advertising is our source of income. Say someone starts an online petition to help change the environment for the better. When someone signs the petition, they will see ads of global organisations such as Greenpeace and WWF. Then they can also choose to support them if they want.
HOW DOES CHANGE.ORG WORK?
We are an online platform for people to start campaigns to improve society. You can be a 14-year-old who wants magazines to stop using Photoshop or someone campaigning for women's rights in Saudi Arabia. In Thailand, there have been some successful campaigns, for example, to stop showing violent movies on tour buses. The petition creator is a mother who was worried about her son being exposed to violent movies. She had campaigned on her own by sending letters to the transport company to no avail. I advised her to create a petition via our website. It is designed so that every time someone signs her petition, an email will be sent to those in the right position of power to execute the change. In this case, the director of the company received a lot of emails and they knew there was a problem and had to respond.
DOES ONE PARTICULAR CAMPAIGN STAND OUT TO YOU?
I am proud of all of them. There was a recent one about a picture of several ladyboys in a school textbook. In it, the ladyboys are shown with their eyes blacked out as if they are criminals or shameful. Such a portrayal is inappropriate and offensive. Most of the time big issues are already covered while small ones such as this are overlooked and I think Change.org is a tool to get them out there. It has been widely used around the world.
BESIDES ONLINE PETITIONS, WHAT OTHER KINDS OF HELP DOES CHANGE.ORG OFFER?
We also teach people how to build a campaign, contact the media, use social media, gather names for the petition and so on. My role is basically advising people on how to make a successful campaign. For example if there was an organisation that seeks this kind of knowledge, we would do a workshop for them.
DO YOU HAVE A MESSAGE FOR ASPIRING CHANGE MAKERS?
I want changes to be a normal part of everyone's life so that when something goes wrong they feel that they have the power to change it. I want people to try out Change.org to start a campaign and, with the help of their friends, help change things for the better.
About the author
- Writer: Pornchai Sereemongkonpol
Position: Guru Reporter