When Step Ahead opened in Khao Lak three months after the SE Asian tsunami, 370 students signed up for various trainings including 12 English classes. Over 1,500 students on, we still help bring hope to people living in the whole Khao Lak region via opening doors to step ahead in their personal and professional development.
Further, Step Ahead has because of the opportunities and learnings over these years become a leader in Alternative Care for Orphans in Asia. "Keeping Families Together" as a program is helping keep orphaned children in their families often living with single moms, Aunts or Uncles, or grandparents. Without such family-based alternatives many children would essentially be sent to orphanages as part of an ill-conceived economic solution.
Meanwhile, Step Ahead Child Development Centers still bring great development to preschool children and increase opportunities because of much improved educational horizons as they enter primary school.
Thanks much for continuing to stand with us, as we stand with the people still stepping ahead on the Andaman Sea coast.
When international youth of Bangkok show up in the city's largest slum community, good things can happen. Like playing basketball, or learing Thai boxing, or jumping rubber band ropes- Thai style.
Unquestionably, its a crash of cultures with expat kids from around Asia and around the world, but its an opportunity for the expat kids and Thai children and youth to connect and have fun together even though often spoken language is not a part of the mix of life together.
Step Ahead has made ways for the children of Klong Toey and the often highly priviledged expat youth of Bangkok to spend good times together every week. Its a step ahead for the local Klong Toey kids to know they are not forgotten and able to connect with other kids from around the globe, and an opportunity for Bangkok expat youth to learn that they actually can learn from their new friends from Klong Toey Slum Community.
Khun Wimon makes amazing Japanese Sushi in a very unexpected place: Bangkok's largest slum community. This microentrepreneur has changed her family's life in many ways by the innovative work of her hands. She once made Thai noodles to support her family, but when her young adult son essentially became her marketing consultant, the movement was set to see her increase her daily income many times over.
Watch and see how your support of Step Ahead through globalgiving has made such an amazing economic impact.
Meanwhile across the country from Bangkok, to the rural villages of Southern Thailand, and to the poorest villages of the Northeast of Thailand, Step Ahead continues to create new economic opportunities, and add inputs of mentoring and training. Further, Keeping Families Together and the Child Development Centers helps care for and bring hope to some of Thailand's neediest families.
Kate and Anissa Arrive to Discover Big Steps Ahead.
We always tell Step Ahead volunteers to be ready for anything when they come to join us, and as a dear old mission mentor from Texas, Earl Kellum, always said, "Brethern, we'll treat you so many ways, you are bound to like some of them." Well, these social workers, one from the UK and the other from the USA, coming to serve with Step Ahead in a mammoth task - seeking to forge new Thai government policies in reference to Family-Based Orphan Care, at least got off with some big training steps. It's a big job, but Kate and Anissa got a great introduction with a free elephant ride soon after their arrival. The elephant expedition owner when he heard of our foundation's work to help poor families keep together (explained in Southern Thai language) decided our new volunteers should enjoy Southern hospitality and their elephant ride for free.Our next steps in approaching impacting Thai government policy will likely not prove so easy. It will require significant patience, networking, meeting, research and building the body of work in Thai that will make a path up and through the mountainous jungles of historical understandings that can put children and families at-risk. Kim has become a leader in this non-institutional orphan care movement today with nearly 30 years serving some of Thailand's poorest and most vulnerable children. We are excited that now seems to be the moment to press forward and trust God to act and use us to see change happen for Thai families.
As ever, we thank you for your important support, prayer and standing with us and Step Ahead through the years and today.
Today continuing to stand with families at-risk across Thailand
is as challenging as we have ever known.
There are preschool children needing support if their families are to avoid sending them off to orphanages that beckon and promise help, if the single mom or relatives will release them into their care. It's a sad situation to see, and the reason we run the "Keeping Families Together" program.
On the other hand, many poor families across Thailand today find themselves looking at their young teenage girls as essentially economic engines, ready to be put to work for the family. Early teen children don't need to leave home and go to work in the big cities, indeed, making such a decision is one of the most risky moves a family can make for the future of their children. Therefore, Keeping Families Together makes economic opportunities with training and counseling for families to make better decisions for them all to step ahead together. Community Economic Development can make a big difference for some of rural Thailand's poorest families. Take a look now at how you can enjoy ITSERA purses and change women's economic future's today.
Further, Step Ahead is soon to launch new Urban Gardening initiatives in Bangkok's largest slum community. Please donate $20, $50, or $100 to see this dream become a reality of hope for some of Bangkok's poorest families. Thanks for making a difference today!
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