Wolfgang Illich

Coherent lasers support children in Thailand


By Wolfgang Illich, Product Line Manager, Munich


Thailand is one of the world main jewelry production regions. Our sales partner ProTechTransfer, owned by Ralf Oberg is successfully serving this market with imported high end machinery. Since 1995 ProTechTransfer is selling and supporting our manual welding systems “Performance” and marking system “EasyJewel”.


Picture: Performance Basic + EasyJewel


Focusing on customer service and support and with approximately 800 laser systems sold ProTechTransfer is one of our most successful sales partners for my product lines.


Besides running this very successful machinery import business Ralf lives for helping underprivileged children in the remote north Thailand mountain jungle. Since 1991 a large portion of the ProTechTransfer profit is used to initialize, develop and support various projects, organized under the roof of his charity organization RainTreeFoundation (RFT) https://www.raintree-foundation.org


·      Approximately 300 children in a total of 8 projects are currently taken care of


·      Support of today 131 foster children in rural Northern Thailand


·      Installed over 100 BioSand Filters per year


·      Annual harvest of currently 21.000 kilos of coffee cherries


·      Over 3.000 trees planted in 2018 for reforestation and farming


·      More than 2.000 pairs of donated second hand eye glasses found a new face


·      And much more …


The children´s homes are the core projects. Some children are orphans, have been abused, have parents that are terminally ill or have problems with addiction. Almost all of the children are from the Karen hill tribe. Since the Karen tribal people have a very different language and culture they have problems integrating into the competitive and materialistic Thai society. Therefore it is very important to provide these children with a proper education in Thai as well as in English.


RTF aims to provide the children with a safe and loving environment to grow up in and provide them with a good education to give them a positive outlook for their future.




The Foster Program helps children in difficult situations, where their families are unable to provide for their own basic needs and education.


RTF conducts the Foster Program in close collaboration with the German partner ThaiCare e.V. which manages the whole process and serve the child’s foster parents. With just 25 Euro per month one child can be sponsored to cover all expenses.


The RainTreeFoundation office team personally visits all foster children at least twice a year to ensure the proper care and education of the children.




Clean drinking water is another major project. The water crisis is very complex and has a massive impact on the lives of the villagers in those rural areas.


RTF aims to provide the village communities with sustainable access to a sufficient amount of water for their daily needs. Hydraulic ram pumps are used because they are extremely simple to use and maintain and they don’t need an external source of fossil power.


To clean the water before consumption locally produced BioSand Filters are used. One filter providing water for one family can be sponsored by 70 Euro each. There are already installed more than 2,000 filters to families and schools throughout Thailand.




Around these core projects some social enterprises have been developed. The Hot Coffee Guesthouse helps to finance the Mae Na Chorn children’s home which is located directly below the guest house which and also provides training for the children to work in touristic gastronomy.


It also cooperates with Karen Coffee, a social enterprise project initiated by RTF to enable local hill tribe farmers to gain access to a sustainable market and teach them organic farming in combination of forestation projects.


TUBe produces handmade bags made out of recycled inner tubes from bicycles and motorbikes. This upcycle project provides work for young hill tribe women giving them a much needed job with a positive perspective for their future.




I am very happy to work together with ProTechTransfer, Ralf Oberg and his RainTreeFoundation projects in North Thailand. I take it as a privilege to be able to combine my business-travels to drive the jewelry sales with visiting and supporting the various charity projects.


In the name of RainTreeFoundation I also want to say thank you for all support that already came from Coherent|rofin as a company and the personal involvements by volunteer work, foster child sponsoring and donations.


With the link between ProTechTransfer and RainTreeFoundation every laser sold to ProTechTransfer and every personal support provides a game changing opportunity for a better future in life for a child.