Khun Saiyuud Diwong, affectionately known as Poo (short for "Chompoo" or rose apple), is a long-time resident of Klong Toey, the largest slum in Bangkok. In late 2007, as the price of rice in Thailand doubled, she found that she could no longer make a living selling food from her house.
One of Poo's neighbours and customers was Anji Barker, an Australian with Urban Neighbours of Hope who had been living and working in the slum for many years. She heard about Poo's situation and, together with some friends, supported Khun Poo to start her own cooking class.
For more than 5 years now Khun Poo's cooking school has been running in Klong Toey for tourists as well as local residents. She represents a remarkable model of success and positivity in an often stark and complex landscape of poverty and hardship and has trained up a stellar team of fellow residents.
From modest beginnings in the front room of Khun Poo’s house (with no English skills) the initiative has grown into a very successful cooking school. Khun Poo and her growing team have since mastered the English language and nowadays the team can accommodate up to 12 students, six days a week.