Isara Foundation Bottle Boat Project

This is a rather different type of project than you normally find me blogging about, but I am very excited to be a part of it.  I have blogged about the Isara Foundation before on my other Nong Khai Website -  I also display a free advert for Isara in the navigation column to the right on this blog.  However, I have never actually blogged here about what the isara foundation does.

Isara Foundation is a registered charity based in Nong Khai, determined to make it easy AND FREE for everyone to help others. Simply use their website ( as your browser homepage or for your Google searches and you will help to fund Isara charity projects… FOR FREE!

Isara started in 2005 with a campaign to provide free motorcycle helmets to school children, but since then they have expanded by opening a free learning centre where children and adults can come to learn English, providing scholarships and educating students about environmental concerns. Isara creates its own projects together with volunteers, sponsors and clicks to its website ( 100% OF ISARA’S REVENUE GOES DIRECTLY TO CREATING AND MAINTAINING ISARA PROJECTS.

Isara Foundation believes that volunteering should be free and that nobody should profit from charity. That is why they created one of the only free volunteer programs in the world. If you are interested in volunteering in Thailand, India or Nepal, I would personally urge you to take a look at Isara first. You can apply online and before you know it you could be making a difference as an Isara volunteer.

Isara Foundation also has an active online forum where visitors, supporters and volunteers post about everything from Isara’s charity projects to the latest movies, books and music. So don’t just take my word for it, go in to the forum and see what past and present volunteers at Isara have to say.

So, that is a little bit about Isara Foundation, but what is the "Bottle Boat Project"?  Well, it is the brainchild of the founder and driving force behind Isara, Kirk Gillock.  Having recognised the fact that the Mekong river is becoming ever more polluted with everyday household waste such as plastic bottles and bags and tin cans etc... he plans to travel down the Mekong River by boat from its highest point upstream in Thailand all the way down to where it leaves Thailand in the south, and hopefully even through Cambodia and on to where it meets the sea in the gulf of Thailand.  Along the way, he will stop at the many towns and villages on either side of the river and educate people about the benefits of keeping the river clean and free from trash, by giving lectures in the local schools and village halls.  This is a wonderful and commendable idea in itself, and certainly a step in the right direction towards changing the behaviour of those with whom we share the Mekong.  However,  more than this he also plans to design and build an eco friendly boat in which to make the journey !

The boat will be  a catamaran of wooden frame construction but unusually, all of it buoyancy will be obtained solely from over 5000 recycled plastic bottles strapped within its wooden frame structure.  The boat will be powered by electric motors with a bank of batteries on board, charged through a combination of wind and solar power generators.  The point of using such an unusual craft is to attract the attention of the locals wherever it goes and enthuse the local children and adults on the benefits of recycling and of taking care of the environment.  It really will be quite a sight to see, as it cruises down the Mekong river, and I am sure they will have no trouble in attracting attention!

The national Thai media has already begun to take a big interest in the project, as have numerous local businesses, such is Kirk's passion for this and, indeed,  all of the projects he undertakes.

So, why am I posting about this here?  Kirk had come up with the basic drawings and had a clear vision of what he wanted to achieve.  I have merely been spending a little time helping to work out some of the finer structural details and producing the 3-D rendered drawings and plan drawings from which the carpenters will work.   The drawings below are a work in progress.  Once I have the completed drawing s I shall also post them here.  I shall also post some pictures of the finished boat on its launch in the Mekong. You can also follow along with the progress of this project and with the many other fantastic projects that Isara is involved with at  If anyone is interested in sponsoring this project or Isara, in general, you can do so by visiting their website where you can either make a one-off donation or become a full time sponsor, donating just a little bit each month.