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.
Oct 31, 2011

Prison flooded in Thailand

Siam-Care staff preparing emergency bags
Siam-Care staff preparing emergency bags

Siam-Care Thailand
October 2011 update on Prison Project
Prisons Flooded!

Many thanks to all of you who have support our prison project over the past months. With the persisting floods in central Thailand, we are all the more thankful and in need of assistance to help the many prisoners and their families in the flooded areas.
    As the floods started to rise, the prisons were affected as well. In the case of Ayutthaya prison the water came so quick that the move came too late and many had to wade through chest-deep water to get to the buses that brought them to other, mostly already overcrowded prisons.
    Phatum Thanee correctional Institute for female offenders is one of the places Siam-Care works, but we won't be going there for a while; now all that remains are the empty buildings as all 1200 female offenders were moved to the northeast. A good 6 hour bus ride  away from Bangkok. It is not difficult to understand that the receiving prisoners were not too happy; such a huge infulx in already overcrowded places is very difficult for all. We are happy to say that we remain in contact with the nurse who moved along with them all and is making sure all HIV positive women receive their medication.
    For many of the family members this is a real time of heart-ache; often they don't know where their loved ones are moved to an no one knows when they will be moved back and when visits will resume.
    From one of the main Bangkok male prisons, Bangkwang, many were moved over the past week. On Saturday busses left in the afternoon and a harrowing 19 hour bus drive followed; chained up two by two with only a little drinking water each and an occasional toilet stop, they arrived in the south the following morning. Then had to cue up for over an hour in the burning sun to receive a meager meal and find themselves in very overcrowded, and unhygienic circumstances. Many had not been able to inform their families they were moving and still many relatives remain in doubt as to the whereabouts of their loved-ones. Local embassies and the prison authorities can be called for this information.
    As the flooding is far from over, Siam-Care is working hard to let families know the whereabouts of their relatives and establish contact between them if possible. Also emergency supplies for affected families as well as much counseling by telephone and talking to children who are worried about their parent, take up a lot of our work at the moment. The staff are working hard and putting in extra hours and we are thankful for your support to us in all this.

A family that received supplies
A family that received supplies
Moving out of prison to higher grounds
Moving out of prison to higher grounds

Links:

Aug 30, 2011

Ning's new future

Ning is a single parent in her 30’s.  She is HIV positive and also an ex prisoner.  Ning lives in a small slum area in downtown Bangkok, in a one room ‘house’ with her mother and her 10 year old daughter, Fern.  When Fern was about to start school, Ning was working as a cleaner and did not have enough money for the school costs.  Her mother was working and contributing to the family income but only earned a very small wage, so even the combined income of mother and grandmother was insufficient for them to live on and pay the school costs. It was an easy step for Ning to start dealing in drugs to get the money she needed to support the family.  It wasn’t long before she was caught and sentenced to six years in prison, which left grandmother and daughter with no money at all, except for the grandmother’s small wage.  Siam-Care met Ning in prison while doing our prison work.  We visited the grandmother and Fern and gave Fern an education scholarship so she could attend school.  She is now attending the local primary school and is in grade 4 and doing OK.  We visited Ning while she was in prison and arranged for her daughter to visit too.  Ning attended counseling sessions in the prison and she became an active member of our women’s prison group.  Then, after serving only 4 years of her sentence, she was released recently; early for good behavior.  Now she is back home with her mother and daughter and works as part of Siam-Care’s craft group, which gives her a regular income.  Fern is still receiving an education scholarship so these days the family have a much better life and can look forward positively to the future. 
Watch part of Siam-Care’s work in prison and craft group by clicking on the link below to U Tube.

Links:

Jul 5, 2011

June 2011 update on Siam-Care prison work

With the generous support of donors, and the green light from the prison authorities, Siam-Care staff go to visit several prison every week.
One of these prisons has quite a number of HIV positive prisoners and monthly group meetings are held with them.
These groups are attended by up to 50 women at a time, and various topics are discussed. Last week a nurse from HIV-NAT (HIV-Netherlands-Australia-Thailand) Research Institute came along to give some more in-depth background on HIV medication. 
The morning just flew by as there was so much to discuss, so many questions to be answered and also since this is a kind of social time-out for the prisoners who get the day off work, they enjoy just talking with the staff about the 'out-side world'.
To help with adherence the HIV-NAT nurse had brought some alarm clocks to give out as prizes, but sadly these were not allowed by the prison authorities (too many little pieces that could potentially be dismantled and used for other purposes?)
The extra nutrition and sweets that were brought in were very much welcomed and gladly accepted!

In the afternoon there was time for individual counseling and talks and reports on relatives and children that had been followed up at home during the past month.
Many of the women in prison are from a very poor background and their children will not be able to visit them as it would cost too much for transportation.  Also a day’s leave would have to be taken, which for school going kids or working relatives is not always possible. Therefore they rely on getting news from home by letter or from reports from the Siam-Care team. 

Some women only learn about being HIV positive when they are inside and are hungry for information for their own health care and that of their children at home.

Another very encouraging story of the prison work undertaken comes from Siam-Care's links with other NGOs worldwide. Recently a sick man finished his long prison term in Thailand, and was due to go to his home country. After almost 20 years here he had lost contact with his relatives in his home country and because his health was so poorly we were very worried how he would do once back home. Through networking with others in this particular African country the man was received at the airport in his home country, given a place to stay for the first couple of days and he was helped to find his relatives once again. He is now reunited with his family and his health has improved dramatically, which is no surprise. 

There is a lot of loneliness, hopelessness and desperation behind prison walls.  Being able to go in and take some news of loved ones, give a human touch, or personal attention, and generally just be a breath of fresh air can make a difference between someone willing to go on, or giving up. Thank you for helping Siam-Care care for the many behind the walls!


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