Chino-based software engineer and carpenter, Chai Hansanuwat, started building free desks for students in need after he was recently laid off from his job in technology. With the massive shift to at home learning, desks are often out of stock, increasingly overpriced from the demand, and many families with multiple children can’t afford the cost of buying desks for each child. In response, Hansanuwat began building and donating desks to families, and created a network of other carpenters willing to donate time and supplies to help reach more families.
“I had no idea how big the need was until I started building free desks for local families,” said Chai Hansanuwat. “What started as one request for a family in my community grew to 20, which then grew into 250 requests and counting.”
Hansanuwat was inspired to start the initiative after learning about a family in his community with four students, and without access to a table or desk large enough to fit them all. The family had recently relocated to California to live with their grandmother following a job loss caused by the pandemic. Hansanuwat, who has been a hobbyist carpenter for over 12 years, built four free desks for the family. Word spread about his good deed and he received hundreds of requests from families in the area in need of desks, and without the means to buy them.
Hansanuwat continued: “These desks give students a space that’s just for them and it helps make paying attention a lot easier, especially when kids are sharing rooms with siblings and parents who are also working from home. I’m calling on other carpenters with the tools and resources to join me, and build desks for kids in their own communities.”
Donate to “Help me Build Desks for Kids” GoFundMe
To date, Hansanuwat and his new network have built over 100 desks. He launched a GoFundMe campaign to purchase wood and building materials in an effort to build 400-500 new desks. Each desk costs between $20-$25 and by giving, donors are buying a desk for a child who needs it.
Calling all Carpenters
Since launching the initiative, Hansanuwat has received requests for desks from families across the state. He is now calling on other woodworkers and carpenters to get involved, volunteer their time and ensure all students adjust to distance learning. To get involved, sign up on this Google Form.
Additionally, he recorded a YouTube DIY tutorial video for other carpenters to learn how to build the desks from their own homes.
Requesting a Desk
After receiving 250 inquiries for desks, Hansanuwat has created a Google Form that parents can fill out to request a desk for their child. As new volunteer carpenters join the initiative to build, more families in other areas will become eligible for desks as well.