Siam-Care Foundation

Siam Care takes a biblical approach to strengthen marginalized and at risk children, families, and communities through psychosocial support, health access, educational scholarships, family reconciliation, legal rights and HIV awareness raising, advocacy, and spiritual transformation.
Dec 12, 2013

A difficult Christmas for a ex-prisoner

The Christmas-season is about to start. December is always an extra difficult time for the prisoners of the prison-hospital of Bangkok. Where other people come together to eat and celebrate Christmas, the life of the prisoners ‘just’ continues. Therefore in December the Siam-Care staff brings them an extra visit to sing Christmas carols for and with the inmates, to let them know they’re not alone. We try to encourage them to not lose hope.

Life after being released
This story is about someone for whom we have always sung for in prison previous years. This year he will not be there. Prem is in fact released after more than 10 years in prison. Whether he will be happy this year with Christmas? That is highly questionable. After he was released, the contact with the Siam-Care prison-workers was diluted. Last week, he suddenly rang. Despite his freedom he got in trouble and he didn’t see an outcome anymore.

Not able to support himself
Even after being released, an ex-con can always come to Siam-Care for moral support. Two days after Prem called us, we visited him. Unfortunately he was suddenly suffering from paralysis on the left side of his body and he could hardly walk. He was in quite a lot of pain and wasn’t able to work, according to himself. In his livelihood Prem completely depended on his elderly mother, who sells fried bananas. Unfortunately, she doesn’t earn enough to cover all their expenses. All charges of Prem's medications could hardly be paid for and eating three meals a day was absolutely no option. Prem felt so depressed that he was seriously considering putting an end to his life.

Small things with big influence
What do you do when someone like Prem calls you and asks for financial support? We are more or less the only people he knows, there is no one looking after him. Basically Siam-Care never just gives money to people. We always encourage people to take care of themselves as much as possible. So we spoke with Prem and gave him moral support. Together we thought about what kind of work he could be doing to support himself. We showed him that there are enough options, even for a physically disabled person. Besides this we have made a small donation to his mother, so that she can improve her food stall and hopefully earn more money in the near future to support herself and her son. The things we did were just small things. But for Prem and his mother is meant the world. Prem regained faith in a good future. And he knows that his life is valuable, that there are people who care about him and want to inspire him to do something with his life.

Sep 20, 2013

Life in the slums of Lad Prao 80

Bell (r), Bam(l) and their twin brothers
Bell (r), Bam(l) and their twin brothers

Densely built homes along the Lad Prao 80 river, tons of garbage floating in and out. Conditions are dreadful and disturbing in the area. So many families live here, all affected by poverty, each of them carrying their own story about life in the slums.

Making ends meet

Siam Care is on its regular visits, meeting the sisters Bell & Bam. They are both sponsored, making it possible for them to go to school and to work on a better future. Together with their grandmother and younger twin brothers they live in a small wooden house, which is not more than a little hut at the waterfront. The floor of the “hallway” we walked on, is made of loose wooden planks, hold together by a few nails. It is amazing  how welcoming they are, offering us a fresh bottle of water, while they can hardly make ends meet. Bell & Bam’s grandmother does different things to earn money; one of them is selling grilled pork on the streets of Bangkok. The money she earns is just enough for the family to live on.

Receiving guidance in difficult times

Bell & Bam’s father left the family long ago and their mother lives in the south of Thailand together with her new boyfriend. It’s heartbreaking that the sisters have to grow up without the presence and love of their parents. Especially since they are in their puberty, they need proper care and guidance that help them to make the right choices and decisions in life. Siam Care listens to their concerns and provides them the psychological help they need.

A better future for Bell & Bam

Because grandmother works all day, Bell has been the one taking care of her little twin brothers. Because of this she had a hard time to manage her schoolwork and the chores at home. Now that the twins are old enough, she can focus more on her education and enjoy some free time for herself. Bell is 17 years old and will start vocational school this coming year. She has chosen to learn about computers, because this is what attract her the most. She still doesn’t know what kind of job she wants to have later, but she says she will be thrilled when she will receive her diploma. Her 13 years old younger sister Bam, knows exactly what she wants to become after she finishes her education. She says: “I want to be a kind and gentle teacher, like the teachers at my school” Bam is doing very well at school and it is very clear that she enjoys her classes.

Although both sisters have different ambitions, they have one thing in common; a strong personality and the will to move on! With your donations we can guide them in their journey and make  it possible for them to reach their  goals. Every child deserves a chance to be happy, don’t you agree?

Inside Bell & Bams home
Inside Bell & Bams home
Sep 19, 2013

The power of a loving family

Once again the support of the Siam Care staff is tangible and lively during the monthly visit in the prison hospital. The prisoners are already sitting and waiting for Siam Care to arrive. It is obvious that they are happy to see us. They are all smiles and having a small talk together. For the prisoners, especially those who are terribly ill and weak, Siam-Care’s visits offer a moment to escape the hard reality and to connect, to develop friendships and to experience a sense of hope. Ard and Leng, two well trusted and longstanding employees of Siam Care are well known among the prisoners and their attendants. It is heartening to see their glowing faces when Ard and Leng are listening to their stories and comforting them. Stories that are heartbreaking and overwhelming but everyday reality for the men who are locked up inside of Bangkok’s prison hospital.

Meet Chatchai, a prisoner who is highly affected by HIV/AIDS, emaciated and weak. Some time ago his condition deteriorated en he couldn’t feel his legs and feet anymore. He was tied to the bed, not able to move around. That made Chatchai very sad.  “Before I came here I was very active in sports, like Thai volleyball. I really enjoyed doing that, it made me feel alive”. Standing at his bedside we were very pleased to note that the feeling in his legs improved. Slowly he was able to move them and even stand a little. He still has a long period to stay in prison, but what keeps him going are the visits of his wife and son. Although they came only twice in the ten years of his imprisonment, it gives him a lot of joy and strength…… Because his wife is not earning enough money to come and visit Chatchai, Siam Care provides for her and their son’ s travel expenses, so they can visit. Thankfully Siam Care was there to witness their precious reunion. The whole ward brightened up and this gave a tiny ray of hope for all the prisoners who were present. Chatchai hopes to see his family again soon and to be able to walk again.

Aun, a 40 year old prisoner lying next to Chatchai, has trouble moving the lower part of his body. His legs and feet are numb, making it hard for him to stand and move around. Because of good behavior, Aun will be released earlier from prison and he is very excited and making plans for his future. He wants to go back to his home village and set up a fish farm together with his brother and sister. Aun told us that he had a hard time accepting the visits of his sister, he felt very ashamed and sorry for the pain he had caused his family. He is now determined to make the right decisions in life, to restore his family ties and take care of his loved ones.

Many sick and weak prisoners come from far places outside Bangkok, making it hard for the families to come and visit. In order to make this possible, donations are needed. With your gift we can help restore the ties with their families and provide them with hope for a better life. Would you like to be part of that?

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