Heartwarming story of Muslim volunteer team who helped to feed the Thai cave rescuers


17 July 2018|03 Dhul Qa’dha 1439

The story of the Thai cave rescue made headlines for 2 weeks and by now, the world is relieved and elated over the unbelievable and heroic rescue of the 12 footballer boys and their coach in Thailand after they were trapped in a flooded cave for 18 days.

The members of the Wild Boar football team were trapped deep inside a labyrinth of cave networks, after heavy rains and flooding forced the group to enter deeper into the cave on June 23. It took the world’s best divers, cave explorers and rescuers to carry out the miraculous rescue.

However, behind the international spotlight aimed towards the brave rescuers of the Thai Navy SEALs, were countless Thai volunteers who did what they could to contribute to the whole rescue operation.

This group of Muslim women teamed up when they realised that the Muslims in the rescue team would need halal food.

Sophia Thaianant led the Muslim women rescue volunteer team, who cooked about 200 halal meals a day during the operation and delivered them to the rescue site, according to a BBC video.

Sophia received donations not just from Muslims in Mae Sai but throughout Thailand, and said the unfortunate event had united Thais regardless of their religion.

Another person that worked tirelessly behind the scenes was Rawinmart Luelert, who voluntarily collected the kits of the rescue workers and took it back to her laundry facility to be cleaned.

She was touched after she saw photographs of the rescuers wearing their dirty clothes after four days of non-stop working. She would collect the rescuers’ clothes at night and deliver it the next morning.

“Luckily, we have employees, volunteers and friends who can work throughout the night,” Rawinmart told BBC.
Suwan Kankeaw was one of Rawinmart’s helpers in washing the clothes of the US Navy divers that assisted in the rescue.

“I don’t have the ability to get the kids out directly, but what I can do is to wash these clothes,” the young man said.
Doonnia Kakakhen, another volunteer that prepared food for the rescuers, began preparing around 100 meals during the early stage of the rescue. Later, she doubled her cooking efforts after she realised there were Muslim personnel among the rescuers and decided to cook halal meals for them.

In the video, one of the volunteers said that on the days she made special meals such as curry or biryani, she made extra so that “everyone can eat, not just the Muslims.”

Also doing his bit, was local villager Sitthisak Sawanrak. Sawanrak volunteered to transport people to and from the cave for free using his trusty motorcycle.

The man personally knew one of the trapped boys, so he decided to help in whatever way he could to see the boys rescued from the cave.

Extracts: My Salaam|Malaysian digest