On December 26th, 2004, a devastating tsunami hit Asia, causing the death of thousands of people; among them were 12-year-old Jan and his 8-year-old brother, Oscar. In the immediate aftermath of this tragic event and in an outpouring of solidarity, a humanitarian project in memory of the two children was born. The Swiss Jan & Oscar Foundation was therefore founded on June 29th, 2005. Since its beginning, the main aim of the Foundation has been to promote the education of Thai disadvantaged children. The Foundation actively contributes to this mission through the construction and renovation of Thai schools, scholarship grants and supporting educational programs on sustainable development by promoting waste recycling. The Foundation’s goal is to foster awareness amongst young students and to help them realize the importance of environmental protection. By doing so, they can set an example for their families and therefore bring the positive change to their community.
Michel Pardos received a PhD in Sciences with an interdisciplinary mention (Geology, Chemistry and Biology) and worked for several years as a scientist in the management of aquatic ecosystems both in Switzerland and Canada. He then had the opportunity to join the financial industry in Switzerland as a portfolio manager and headed an international management company in Singapore. He explored the complexities of international markets as well as the behavior of investors. Along with the Jan & Oscar Foundation he is eager to pass on his know-how in the fields of environment and finance.
The Foundation is promoting the idea of turning waste into economic value and is starting a project in Thailand’s southern province of Ranong with semi-nomadic Moken (sea gypsies) fishermen living on the Andaman Sea. The Foundation’s objective is to collect and valorize ocean waste by turning it into clothes and accessories as a way to support the Moken and facilitate their integration into Thai society. Cleaning the ocean for plastic may give some Moken the opportunity to live more like their wish, roaming the seas as they once used to.