Bangkok, 15 January 2024 - Happiness and warm smiles abound at the New Year's Festival and Children's Day celebrations. When the time comes, Central Group and its associated companies, in collaboration with the Royal Thai Army and network partners, arrange an annual present procession for children along Thailand's southern border as part of the "Million Gifts, Million Smiles—from hearts for smiles" project. The project is in its 14th year this year. The gifts that were provided to children included bicycles, school supplies, toys, sports equipment, stationery, and scholarships from Thai people all around the country. These gifts are helpful and will motivate students to utilize their imaginations further, which is in line with Children's Day 2024's motto, "Have a broader perspective. Think constructively. Respect differences. Join forces in building democracy.”

Busaba Chirathivat, Executive Vice President, Corporate Communications and Relationships of Central Group, stated: “Central Group believes that despite our geographical separation, happiness can be shared. This faith motivates us to continue spreading love through gifts for more than 14 years in collaboration with the Royal Thai Army and network partners via the Million Gifts, Million Smiles. It is a part of Central Tham, the sustainable initiative of the Central Group aimed at promoting happiness.”

Central Group is the only private sector that has collaborated actively and consistently with the Royal Thai Army to deliver gifts and scholarships from customers, people, associates, and business partners to children in the southern border provinces. This year, more than 19,000 gifts were collected and more than 1,500,000 baht was donated to the campaign, bringing the total value of gifts and donations to more than 10 million baht. It also received donations for 217 scholarships for underprivileged children. Over the duration of Million Gifts, Million Smiles' 14 years, it has raised over 12 million gifts for children living along the southern border. Together, the volunteers from Central Group and the soldiers of the Royal Thai Army sorted the gifts into age categories and then transported each one to the border provinces in the south.

General Charoenchai Hinthao, Commander in Chief, Royal Thai Army, said: “With great pleasure, the Royal Thai Army has joined the Central Group in arranging Children's Day and been the main force in distributing gifts under the Million Gifts, Million Smiles to children along the southern border. This activity not only brings happiness and smiles to the children but also creates mental happiness for us Army members. We believe every gift given out of the kindness of the Thai people will impact the lives of young people. On behalf of the Army, we really hope that the children at the southern border had a great time and enjoyed the activity. We want children to have all the help they need to develop into decent, moral, and creative adults who can live together harmoniously in a multicultural society. Furthermore, we want to support them to live together despite their different cultural and religious backgrounds. They will develop into well-mannered, globally-minded adults with a positive outlook and an ambition to stay up to date with the changing times.”

In addition to carrying out the Million Gifts, Million Smile project in the southern border provinces, Central Group brought a unique dimension to the effort by providing over 2,500 Mister Donuts to children in Bangkok as part of the celebrations for National Children's Day. Representatives of the Central Group, Somkamol Chirathivat and Sukulaya Uahwatanasakul, gave the donuts to General Charoenchai Hinthao, Commander in Chief, Royal Thai Army, to give to the children at the 2nd Cavalry Division King's Guard in Phaya Thai District, Bangkok.

All gifts, in the opinion of Central Group, are symbols of care and optimism, opening doors to learning and limitless imaginative world exploration. Since smiling is a good gesture returned to the Thai people, the Central Group would want to see more smiles from the children in the hopes that they will continue to grow into decent persons for their families and society. They also want to express their gratitude to everyone who has helped the Million Gifts, Million Smile project.

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