Panthera Group builds new homes for Bangkok’s slum residents

Supoj lost his job and is losing his vision. His wife, Wilai, is already blind. Their new home, however, is a sight to see, thanks to Panthera Group.

Residents of one of 29 slums in Bangkok’s poor Thung Khru District, the couple didn’t have a house. They lived amid piles of scrap and garbage, a tarp doubling as a roof and gaping holes in the walls serving as windows.

Paul Hayward, co-founder of Panthera Group, a diversified management company with investments in hospitality, food and beverage, property management and law, was shown a video about the couple’s plight by Kiiran Shanker, head of the the Kiiran Care Foundation. Hayward knew instantly he had to build them a house.

The 250,000-baht house wasn’t large. By law, slum houses are limited to 25 sq. meters. But it’s clean, secure and protects the elderly couple from the elements and other dangers.

“They were living amidst compacted garbage. Now, thanks to Panthera Group, they have an adorable house,” said the foundation’s Shivam Shanker.

It was not the first home Panthera Group built for impoverished residents of the slum near Bangkok’s main airport. Earlier this year, the company funded the construction of a house for Khun Tachang, an elderly grandfather who, despite being in poor health, was caring for two grandchildren, ages 7 and 9.

“Everything was broken,” Shanker said of their ramshackle hut. “And Tachang’s eyes are bad and he falls down and gets hurt often. This was a critical situation that his grandsons also were facing. Panthera’s help was so important. They are no words to describe how much they have helped people.”

Hayward said he was instantly touched by Tachang’s sacrifice. “This brave, sick man has been taking care of these children all on his own. He is a superhero!” he wrote on his Facebook page.

The houses built this year are just two of many Hayward hopes to build for the homeless during his lifetime. To accomplish that, he plans to partner with reputable charities such as the Kiiran Care Foundation, which has constructed 40 new homes in Bangkok slums since 2016.