This project remains ongoing - that is, to provide rice at lunchtime for the school children attending our slum kindergartens every school day.
We oeprate 23 kinderartens in Bangkok's slums; 2500 school children are enrolled.
For many of these children, a hot nutritous lunch is their only healthy, substantial meal of their day. About 20% of the school children show signs of malnourishment when they first enter our three-year kindergartens. We monitor the children's development, including weight and height, throughout the year. In addition to lunch we provide milk and fruit snacks at the end of each school day to ensure that our school children are receiving proper daily nutrients.
Nutirition will always remain as integral to our education programs. Our school year begins in May and runs through March. Approximately 40,000 poor chidlren have graduated from our kindergartens in the past 40 years on their way to government primary schools...and beyond.
We wish to thank everyone who has contributed in any way to this project, and invite you to visit a Mercy kindergarten whenever you may be in Bangkok.
Link from recent newsletter about our education programs:
The following is a postcard from Charissa Murphy, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative in Southeast Asia, about her recent visit to the Human Development Foundation/Mercy Centre in Thailand.
Smiling faces are plentiful at the Human Development Foundation's (HDF) Mercy Centre in the slums of Bangkok, Thailand. Though the children who attend school and/or live at the Mercy Centre come from harsh environments of poverty, families with alcohol and drug addictions, poor education systems, and even abandonment, it was evident that they find safety, care, and a large family community at the Mercy Centre.
The Human Development Foundation really focuses on providing the entire community the support it needs to, well, stand on its own feet. The Centre is very well known not only by the surrounding community, but also by other organizations and communities throughout Bangkok that look to the Human Development Foundation as a strong example of effective programming. One ongoing project for the Centre is the rice distribution and emergency relief that it provides for the children and families of the community. It is ongoing because it is important everyday for these families to receive nourishment and to be fed.
I also had the opportunity to talk about some of the other HDF programs that occur outside of the Centre. The need to build homes for HIV-affected families is increasing as the conditions of the homes continues to decline. Walking through the narrow, feces and trash-infested alleyways of the slums where the families live, the urgency for repair seeped through the rotting doors. One of the families has an HIV-positive father and the other one has an HIV-positive daughter in the family. Not only are the repairs necessary to improve the sanitary conditions and thus help keep the families healthy in face of the physical and emotional weaknesses felt by being HIV-positive, but they are also necessary to help keep the family together under one house. As conditions deteriorate, oftentimes families will have to split from one another and stay in separate locations that can accommodate them (or on the street). In addition to providing home care for these HIV-affected families, HDF wants to help rebuild their homes to ensure they can continue the home care programs. Without the support, the sewage that surrounds the homes will continue to infect their health, and the families may need to leave.
Upcoming Event on GlobalGiving - TODAY, this Wednesday, July 16th, is a Bonus matching day!:
Today, July 16th (Wednesday), beginning at 9AM EDT, GlobalGiving will match 30% of any donations (of up to $1,000 from any individual donor) to The Human Development Foundation. There are $130,000 in total funds available for matching that day for all of GlobalGiving’s partners. To ensure your donation is matched before the funds run out, please consider donating earlier today shortly after 9AM.
I want to thank The Human Development Foundation for allowing me to visit!
Thank you so much for your contributions. Our foundation continues to need at least 3 to 5 metric tonnes of rice per month. Our daily needs include:
Lunch every school day for the 2,600 children attending our 23 kindergartens
Breakfast and dinner for the 180 children living in the orphanages at our Mercy Centre (they eat lunch in school)
Lunch for our staff of 200, mostly Kindergarten teachers who were raised and educated in the slums where they teach
Distribution to over 300 families we look after through our AIDS home-based care program
Emergency distribution: One example is our recent work with the community living beside a garbage dump: Most poor families would never consider setting up their home in or around a garbage dump. But for the poorest of the poor, all garbage is potential income. Plus there’s usually no rent to pay in a dump. Plus it’s easy to construct a make-shift home out of discarded materials. On the downside, some companies illegally dump toxic waste in with the regular garbage.
Over 50 families make their home beside the garbage dump in Samut Prakan, about a half-hour drive from our Mercy Centre. In March a fire struck the dump that sent out waves of toxic smoke and chemicals into their community.
Everyone exposed to the smoke fell ill. For now, none of the residents wish to leave. Awful as it is, it’s the only community they know, and they take pride and comfort in belonging somewhere, even next to a dump.
We aren’t in a position to fight the forces that dump illegal toxic waste in our communities At our best, all we can do is to make sure the children living around the dump remain safe, receive proper nutrition, and go to school. Every day we visit with more supplies, including anti-pollution masks, water, milk for the children, loads of family hygiene products, and espcially rice. Thank you gain for giving us the rice we need to help our friends, our brothers and sisters in the slums, in their times of greatest need.
We wish to thank everyone who continues to support our project. Our need for rice is ongoing, as rice is the everyday staple we use to feed the students in our 23 kindergartens. Plus we provide meals daily to our own children (we have 200 orphans who live as our family in Mercy Centre) and our poorest neighbors in the slums. In total, we serve well over 3,000 meals every day...over one million meals every year.
In the past month, fires struck two nearby neighborhoods. One fire, in the Rom Klao neighborhood of Klong Toey, left over 400 residents without shelter. We have been providing breakfast and dinner to the victims of the recent fires, thus increasing our need for rice and other food staples.(In addition, we are also helping these slum residents to organize and rebuild their homes.)
We never turn away a child in need; we never say no to a family or indigent adult who comes to our Mercy Centre hungry. Your gifts earmarked for our rice project remain essential to all our ongoing programs, including the operation of schools, orphanages, HIV/AIDS homecare support, and various community services.
We do not define our foundation as a provider of food and nourishment. But it is essential to everything we are doing, especially in the following programs:
Twenty-three slum kindergartens
Homes for abandoned, orphaned and abused children
Emergencies in the slums (fires, floods, families in crisis)
We appreciate every donation in rice that you are able to provide. Rice is what keeps our chldren growing and our students learning and our patients improving. Thanks again for your support. We have not yet made achieved our goal in this project and the need for rice is never-ending. But that is the nature of helping the poorest of the poor. Your support makes a great difference and allows us to expand our reach among our poorest neighbors in the slums.
Please visit our Mercy Centre whenever you are in Bangkok. You are always welcome and always a part of our Mercy family.
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