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.
Aug 20, 2014

Dream to survive

Last Wednesday the prison staff invited us to visit them more often. You need to know that we are the only NGO in Bangkok that is allowed to go into the hospital section of the prison. Just once a month. But if we are allowed to go twice a month we can build better relations with the prisoners. And that is really important. An example what will affirm this, is the story of Derek.

Derek
We just met him for the first time. It is easy for our English speaking colleagues to talk with him because he speaks English. He is from Nigeria, and sentenced for dealing drugs. After they found out he was HIV positive he had to go to the prison hospital. He tells us that the circumstances in the prison are unbearable. The hospital section is a bit better. He also tells us that he feels very lonely. Because he is from Nigeria he does not speak any Thai, while his inmates only speak Thai. He is so happy he can talk to us in his own language.

HIV medicins
We talked about HIV medicines. Because some of the prisoners do not know anything about medication, our guest speaker first explains the basics. He interacts with the inmates about what sort of infections they have besides HIV and the side effect of the medication. After that there is still time to talk about other things. The prisoners are asked to sit together and draw a picture of their ideal future. Most of them made pictures of the rural areas of Thailand, with a house, wife and some cattle.

Throwing your dreams away
When they are finished they are asked to tear up the drawing. They obey and there is nothing left of the drawings. We ask them why they tear up their dreams. Only because we tell them? We want them to always remember that whatever they are told to do, they should keep their hopes and dreams. Having dreams is important. It is the way to survive.

(For security reasons the names used in this article are not real.)

May 29, 2014

Friends in prison

“My name is Joseph and I’m from Liberia. The last 6 months have been the most terrifying months in my live. I’ve been so stupid to smuggle drugs to Thailand. I was desperate for money and then you do unwise things sometimes. I got caught by the police and ended up in one of the most notorious prisons worldwide: The Bangkwan Central Prison in Bangkok.”

“In the Bangkok Hilton – a nickname for Bangkwan Central Prison – you have very little space for yourself. I share my room with about 30 other prisoners. We even take turns sleeping for there is not enough room to sleep at the same time. Did I tell you already we don’t have a toilet in our cell? You won’t be surprised that after a couple of weeks I started to feel weaker. After visiting the prison doctor and waiting for the results, I discovered something awful: I was Hiv-positive.”

On one speaks English
“Of course I was shocked by the news. They immediately transported me to the prison hospital where I at least had my own bed. But all the other inmates were Thai en no one could tell me what I should do. The nurse gave me some basic information about my medication but I didn’t quite understand what she was telling me. Thankfully the nurse told me about Siam-Care. This NGO visits the prison hospital twice a month. I was very happy to see them for the first time; finally someone who spoke English and could tell me more about my infection.”

More knowledge about Hiv
“I spoke with one of the staff members of Siam-Care for quite a long time. He gave me more information about Hiv and about how and when I should take my medication. He also explained why it is so important for me to take my medication. I know a lot more about Hiv and that gives me more peace. Of course my situation is still very bad and I’m not even sure how much longer I need to stay in prison. It might be 20 more years. But at least I know there is someone I can talk to about my situation, someone who’s really listening. Siam-Care has been a great help for me in prison and I’m definitely more relax now.”

Would you help us to keep on supporting people like Joseph? Please donate money, so that we are able to keep on hiring someone to visit the prison hospital as much as possible.

(For security reasons the names used in this article are not real.) 

May 29, 2014

Girl on her own: the future is wide open

A girl on her own
A girl on her own

My name is Fluk and I am 22 years old. I live in Bangkok and just finished university. But this story starts 22 years before today. Back then no one expected me to finish university. They didn't thought I would be able to go to school at all. I was living with my old grandmother who was too old and sick to take care of me. But then Siam-Care showed up and my life changed drastically.

July 1992, Mukdahan
I was born in the northeast Thailand, not to far from Mukdahan, a medium-sized city, in the province Isaan. Isaan is considered one of the most poor areas in Thailand. Most people are farmers and grow rice or sugarcanes. Just like my parents. They were both Hiv-positive, already before I was born. I was my parent's first child and also the last one. My mother would have loved to have more children but her physical situation didn't allow her.

May 1995, Mukdahan
After my birth my mother's body got weaker and weaker. When I was only 3 years old, she died. I was to young to understand what was going on. I don't really remember what my mother looked like, to be honest. Thankfully I still have some pictures of me and my mother. After my mother died, my father took me to Bangkok, because there he would have a better chance to find a job. He ended up working as a construction worker, for about 12 hours a day. He made around 250 baht a day (8 USD).

November 1997, Bangkok
The health situation of my father was not improving. Despite the fact that he used medication to suppress his HIV infection, he became weaker. In the end of 1997 he died in Bangkok. I was only 5 years old but already an orphan. I moved back to Mukdahan to live with my grandmother. She was almost 80 and too old to work. Hence I wasn't able to go to school, because how would we ever be able to pay for the uniform and travel costs, to name just a few expences.

January 1998, Mukdahan
One of our neighbours brought us in conact with Siam-Care, a NGO that was working with Hiv-infected people. I'm not infected myself but that didn't matter for Siam-Care. After they heard my story Siam-Care found someone in Europe who wanted to support me. I was able to go to school and that made me so happy. I still remember the first day I went to school. I was so proud to wear my uniform. There was someone I didn't know who though I was precious enough to support. That made me feel so special.

May 2014, Bangkok
After finishing primary and high school I moved to Bangkok again to study at university. My grandmother doesn't live anymore, but because of Siam-Care's support I was able to study. I payed for my own food because I had a parttime job in a Thai restaurant. Now that I've finished my study to become a teacher, I can start working after the summer holiday. I am so proud that I can take care of myself now. Ofcource I miss my parents but atleast I know that my future is wide open. I can work, take care of myself and start a family one day. Thankfully my children won't need the support of Siam-Care, but I am so thankfull that Siam-Care was there for me!

Fuke didn't allow us to use her real name and picture. 

Writing letter to sponsor in Europe
Writing letter to sponsor in Europe

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