Our Team

Rotjanee (Daphne) Larsen Founder

Daphne was born in Indiana to an American father and Thai mother. At barely a year old, they moved to Bangkok where she grew up. Summers with family in the poor Northern Provinces left a lasting impression. At age 13 she moved back to the US and chose to stay when her mother returned to Thailand. With a BS in Chemical Engineering and a successful career, Daphne formed Thainitiative as way to give back to the country she grew up in.

Eric Larsen Co-Founder

Eric’s grandmother taught him to read before he entered the first grade. This wonderful gift opened up the world for him and cemented his belief that a basic education is the key to success. When he and Daphne formed Thainitiative they both agreed that academic support was the best way to help poor children in Thailand get the best start in life. It is also Eric’s way of honoring his grandmother.

Dr. Pimonpan Raper Director

Dr. Pimonpan Raper is a native of Thailand. She received her Master’s and PhD in the US and currently serves as special assistant to the president of East Asia University in Bangkok. Dr. Raper loves teaching and is a strong advocate of education as a way to improve the lives of all Thai people. She currently acts as our Director of Education Programs.

Siri-on Sophon

Siri-On (Nancy) is an instructor at the Kumon Siwalee Learning Center in Bangkok. This school was founded in Japan in 1954 and has been hugely successful throughout Asia. Nancy brings this expertise to our organization along with a heart of gold. She loves children and is a major member of our network that travels rural Thailand selecting and vetting the schools we help.


Nok is our key volunteer in Nan, where she lives on the family farm with her mother and father. She’s heavily involved in the local community and helps us monitor progress on our projects in the region. As our “eyes & ears” in northern Thailand, she is an invaluable member of the team.

Bonnie Franz

Retired from Idaho State University, Bonnie has been a huge help to our organization. She is in charge of domestic fundraising and does a lot of legwork in the U.S. to make our events successful. She also joins us in Thailand when she is able. In 2015 she joined two other volunteers in Nan Province to teach English and she was our primary oral hygiene instructor for the Thai Smiles mission. We love Bonnie!