How It All Began ....
The Foundation for Life has a number of projects under her wing and one of them is "The Little Entrepreneur" Project, which aims to impart in the Girls and Boys in our care, Character and Leadership of themselves. In this Project, they are taught to make wise use of their free time to help earn some pocket money to be used for daily expenses like basic toiletries e.g. soaps, shampoos, sanitary pads, etc..
The story behind this project is a moving one, deserving to be re-told once again...
Some 20 years ago, there was a school in Chiangrai (a local village school in the Northern province). This school receive children from the needy hilltribe groups that surround this area, who have poor access to basic education. One day at assembly time, one of the teachers noticed some newspapers on the dirt field, that was stained in blood. It was later discovered that it belonged to a girl who had her monthly "period". This incident became the impetus for the teacher to do something for the underprivileged hilltribe girls who had no money to get even the basic necessities. Knowing that these girls were good with sewing especially cross-stitching their tribal patterns, she encouraged them to cross-stitch their tribal patterns onto small pieces of cloths and she would then get some village ladies to use these to make into purses, bags, pencil cases, friendship bands etc. In doing so, she would get her friends and acquaintances to help buy them.
When the Foundation did some training in the north, we got to know of this and thus began to help the teacher and her students to spread the news and market whatever products were made. Some Thai representatives had the opportunity to attend a meeting in Perth, and as a result, this story was retold and a group of Australian ladies decided to do something special for these girls.Firstly they bought the products that were made by this group of girls and then.. they went out and bought some packets of sanitary pads to be given to these girls!
I had taken a photo of these Aussie ladies with the sanitary pads that they bought, but unfortunately, due to computer breakdown, it was lost. However, I was able to dig up a photo of these wonderful and creative ladies amongst the files. These sanitary pads were then handed over to the girls in Chiangrai, who certainly received them with gladness.
I hope that this story warms your hearts as it has mine, knowing that though minuscule in the eyes of a business world, little kind acts of love goes a long way to encourage the heart.
We certainly welcome any feedback that can help us in our outreach to the needy. Best regardsVena Lung
Training Leaders For the Future
The future of the Nation is in the hands of the Children and Youths of today. The Foundation for Life strongly believes that we need to nuture the young people of today so that they will have inner strength and character to help them make good and right decisions in the days to come, that they will consider the needs of the majority, rather than just short term and selfish gains.
Therefore the Foundaiton organizes annual leadership camps, intentionally, with the purpose of developing our Thai Children and Youths in leadership and life skills, in the enviornment of love and acceptance. Topics taught in Because we understand the importance of mentoring girls and boys by being living examples to them, 3 separate camps are set up for this purpose: one for elementary school girls, one for high school girls and another for the boys.
This year, the Theme of the Leadership Camps is, "Teens in Jeans"... meaning that as a Leader, our trainees are to have the energies like the Teens, who are willing to go to any length to work for the community - hence being in Jeans, which is an attire for "roughing it out".
Boom, age 24 years (a volunteer leader who has been to our leadership camps since she was in Grade 4) says, " I feel so honored that I have been entrusted with the responsibility of being the camp commandant of this leadership camp for the elementary girls. I will have been through these camps and learnt so many things that has helped me in my life, and am glad to be able to pass on these precious lessons to the next generation of young leaders!"
" I find these leadership camps so fun and I make lots of new friends while I am here. The station games are so challenging and help us all to work as a team!" Tam Fha says.
Bee, a young and budding leader says of his mentor, " I really do look up to teacher Berm.. he is my hero!"
When it came to the end of the camps, the young trainees were filled with hope and encouragement, to go out and enrich others, just as they had been enriched by their experiences in the camps. Our Volunteer mentors congratulated all trainees in a simple yet touching ceremony to encourgae them on their way.
All these would not have been possible without your love and support. We wish to thank all donors and welcome any feedback to better our services to those we serve.
Have a Happy New Year and may you fulfil the desires of your heart!
Giving Hill tribe Kids a Chance
The Foundation has been working with various people groups from village kids in the upcountry agricultural areas to the city youths in slum communities, many of whom come from broken families and troubled homes. It has been our priviledge to be able to impact young lives of girls and boys so that they may be given equal opportunities to develop wholistically.
The group of girls in Chiangrai who are studying in a lowland boarding school, come from various hilltribes around the Chiangrai city. Many years ago, during assembly time, a teacher noted that there was a folded newspaper stained with blood, on the dirt floor. It was later discovered that a student did not have the money to buy sanitary pads, and used newspapers instead. From then, the innovative teacher decided to help these hilltribe girls earn some pocket money, by helping them use their spare time to do their tribal cross-stitching or embroidery into small pieces of cloth, which were then used to make little bags, keychains, purses, pencil cases, etc..
When our Foundation met this group in their school in Chiangrai, heard their story, and found out that the items that were made were not marketing well, the Foundation decided to aid them by helping to market their products. Along the way,we were able to send volunteers to run wholistic activities during the weekends, so that these girls would benefit from lessons on self-esteem, communal integration, responsiblitity to their families, communities and leadership training, plus a whole range of interactive and interesting life-skills.
Sutipon, 13 years, who comes from the Yao tribe says, "I am grateful to be able to join these weekend activities.. it has helped build my self-confidence."
"I am so glad to join the group ... this is fun" said Maya, who is from the Mong Tribe
Fah, who is a first timer, from the Tai Yai Tribe, shyly agreed.
We know that unless our partners and supporters back us up, on all the projects and activities, we would not have been able to reach out to these needy in the hills.... for that we THANK YOU!
Wishing you all the very best and welcoming any comments that you may have to help enrich our ministry.
Giving to Others - It is Intentional
When time came for the annual planning retreat for the young leaders, the organisation decided to incorporate a "work and challenge" theme for the group. This retreat was with the intention to plan for the projects that would encompass the celebration of the 20 years of working with children and youths.
Together with the adult volunteer-leaders, the girls gathered to knit winter caps and scarves for the needy in the hilly areas of Thailand, so that the people living in these areas would have some protection against the cold, especially in the wintry months, that stretches from November till around February.
Meanwhile the boys spent the whole day out in the sun video taping the steps for footdrill, that would help other youths who wanted to use it as a team-building challenge project.
In addition to the above, these youths were also challenged to try out their potentials for water sports at the Nong Bon Centre that was set up for public, in honor of King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
At the end of the 2 days of work and challenge, Aryck said,"Although it has been a tiring and sometimes tedious, taking and re-taking video scenes for the footdrill, I find it meaningful that we are helping others with this project. I would gladly do this again if needs be!"
With regards to knitting,"I have NEVER done any knitting in my life, but am determined to finish this hat, even though I know that it's tough for me. At least 1 person gets warm because I did it!", exclaimed Mook, who was struggling with her knitting needles.
"I am suprised that I was able to explain to friends how to manoever the sailing boat " beamed Jedi, who semed to have gotten the techniques of sailing with ease.
Memie reflected,"Learning to sail involves learning to be responsible for the equipment aswell, because it will affect the safety of the users!"
In all, it was indeed a time where our youths were challenged to Give of themselves and their efforts for the benefit of Others, and it has to be INTENTIONAL, so that it would be instilled in their hearts for life!
Thanks to all donors who have made these life lessons possible for the future of Thai youths. Any suggestions to better our services would be greatly appreciated.
Lives that have been touched
The Character and Leadership Training Project has been going on for the past 20 years and the number of children and youths that gone through our program has been by the hundreds and thousands, considering that we have been touching lives of these young people with our weekly program for a total of 1,040 weeks. Through the tireless efforts and sacrificial giving of our Volunteers, countless lives have been touched and changed, for better, despite dire backgrounds and circumstances.
This Project that was initiated by the Foundation for Life, is run by Volunteers from various provinces, namely, in Bangkok, Chonburi, Samut Sakhon, Samut Songkram, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Khon Kaen, Korat, Kanchanaburi, Chiangrai, Chiangmai, etc with weekly activites carried out in approximately 16 centers country-wide reaching to around 1,400 young people every week!
The carefully planned program seek to develop the young wholistically, with activities that nurture them phyically, mentally, emotionally and socially. The Foundation and Volunteers believe in the potentials of our children and youths, and with tenacity, refuse to give up on them as long as there is hope. Many of the young people have commented that the activites they went through in the project has given them inner strength.
Bua, now married with a baby girl, said, "I will never forget the love and concern that Khru Nok (a Volunteer) has for me while I was growing up and had family problems"
"It has not been easy during my early teens to learn to have confidence to go to leadership camps alone without close friends coming along as well, but today, I can say that it has all been worthwhile," Mana (a university student, who is now a Volunteer for the Project) reflected.
"I am so fortuanate to have Khru Berm as a model of a father to me," Pinyo said when asked what he thought of his mentor.
So, a Volunteer said," I firmly believe that it is better to mould a child today.....than to mend an adult tomorrow !" (refering to forming and breaking bad habits in life)
The Foundation thanks all donors for your belief in our work, and truly we could not have come this far without your support. Any feedback is welcome so that we can better ourselves.
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