In 2018, BNK48—one of the most popular groups in the country—donated concert proceeds from its new song release, titled "Ten Thousand Journeys." That one gift brought in 1 million Thai Baht (approx. USD $32,000) to support Team Thailand’s journey to the 2019 World Games.
But that was just the beginning. Special Olympics Thailand National Director Nui Bulakul says the group's support really has been helping to create excitement and awareness about Special Olympics nationwide. And so have the lyrics of "Ten Thousand Journeys," she says. "Being 'brave' and trying one's best to pursue our goals resonates well with Special Olympics principles."
Special Olympics and BNK48 first connected last year, when Special Olympics Thailand was planning a fund-raising concert featuring a Unified dance performance with athletes and guest celebrities to mega-hit “Koisuru Fortune Cookie” by BNK48. It was a natural choice, since everyone of every age in every part of Thailand was either singing or dancing to this tune! So Thailand Board Chair Dr. Naris Chaiyasoot got in touch with BNK48's manager, who took one look at a video clip showing the Unified practice session and immediately gave his consent.
Members of BNK48 say they feel a kinship with Special Olympics athletes, because they all share ideals of inclusion and empowerment and “the will to make our dreams come true." They even volunteered at a Young Athletes Fun Day outside of Bangkok—attracting a huge crowd of new fans to see our youngest athletes in action! Organizers say no other Special Olympics event in Thailand has ever seen so many public spectators.
BNK48 went to perform at Special Olympics Thailand’s Charity Gala Dinner, giving Team Thailand a grand send-off before heading to the World Games in Abu Dhabi. See BNK48 perform "Ten Thousand Journeys" in this behind-the-scenes music video, which also celebrates the achievements of Special Olympics athletes.