The site of the 2004 tsunami and the hardest hit region of Southern Thailand, Khao Lak area is home to over 15,000 residents, including ethnic Thais, Chinese, Burmese migrants and sea gypsy tribes.
At the time of the tsunami, Khao Lak was Thailand’s fastest growing tourist destination, however following the aftermath the economy was devastated. Today, however, this global tourist destination is fully economically recovered and is thriving well beyond its pre-tsunami levels.
Since the tsunami waves devasted Khao Lak on December 26 2004, waves of encouragement and care from hundreds of volunteers helped make Step Ahead the major source of language training in the area, as well as, a strong encouragement to preschoolers and their families.
Further, the Thai Totes purse making program opened a way forward for local villagers by crafting beautiful ladies purses for local sale and export. This economic initiative was the beginning to the ITSERA purse program that now makes woven leather purses in the Northeast of Thailand.