Sombat Boonngamanong

Director and Founder,
The Mirror Foundation

Sombat Boonngamanong is the director and founder of The Mirror Foundation, a nonprofit organization working in the northern Thai province of Chiang Rai. They operate programs that help the hilltribe people of Mae Yao sub-district to combat their everyday struggles with unemployment, poverty, drug addiction and lack of Thai citizenship. The aim of The Mirror Foundation is to promote social change, human rights and universal equality through mutual co-operation, self-education and an active community. Last year The Mirror Foundation celebrated its 20th anniversary and started more initiatives on tackling issues such as human trafficking, the environment, and disaster recovery.

Through the Foundation, Boonngamanong links the interests of children, teachers, and parents so that everyone can participate in the educational process. Using the Internet, he is also actively extending this community to the rest of Thailand, its government, and even international neighbors. In 2000, he was recognized as a Social Entrepreneur for Change and was awarded the Ashoka Fellowship.

He also established Bannok TV, a network that supports the hilltribe lifestyle in Northern Thailand through archiving traditional ceremonies, songs, customs, costumes, farming processes, weaving methods and hunting techniques. This initiative received recognition from The World Bank.