Jul 22, 2019

Continued education

How to be safe from sexual abuse
How to be safe from sexual abuse

Our trafficking prevention program is still going strong. We have started working with a large children's home to equip their staff to train the children on these issues. We recently were lucky enough to have Healing Arts Peace Project come provide a training on Trauma Informed Care to the staff from government children's homes and private homes alike, which was wonderful. We even had the opportunity to go to a mountain village and teach the children there about protecting themselves from sexual abuse and how to report if they or a friend ever experiences it. The kids favorite part of this day was getting to have their faces painted like their favorite superhero. It's a reminder that we don't need superpowers to be a superhero, we just need to protect and support each other. 

On the foster care front, we have been meeting regularly with the staff from the emergency shelter and the government orphanage and they will begin sending children who are about to transition into either adoptive families or back to their biological families to stay with our team for a month or two. This will allow the children who will stay in Thailand to adjust to life in a small family home rather than being one of many children in a large orphanage and transition with Thai people. In addition, for children who will be adopted overseas, this will give them an opportunity to stay with Westerners and learn to eat western food and speak English regularly. This will make their adjustment period to a new country go more smoothly for them and the adoptive families. 

Since the government still doesn't have a support budget for children in short term or transitional foster care, we are most likely going to close this particular funding page soon and create two separate ones: one for foster care to help support the Thai families providing interim care to children and one to continue providing training to those working with at risk children to provide them the skills to prevent children from being victimized and exploited. 

Jul 22, 2019

Success!

All smiles with their ID cards!
All smiles with their ID cards!

Thanks to your generous donations, we were able to take 4 of the people mentioned in our last letter to first do their witness interviews and then pick up their official Thai identity cards!  The 3 boys from one family all got their cards on the same day, and the older sister of another family got her card the following day. It was quite a trip for our Jojo's Sanctuary staff but so worth it to see the joy on the faces of the families. In addition to getting her citizenship card, the mom of the second family was able to register her newborn so she will automatically get notice when it's time to pick up the baby's identity card. As for her older two children, in a few months, the office will set up a time for them to come take their photos for their own identity cards as well. The lovely government official even gave her direct line to the mom so if she has any questions, she can call and ask without driving 90 minutes to the office.

This was such an exciting day for all, one of the teenage boys said "I feel as happy as if I had died and came back to life again!" Even the 10 year old was excited. Normally, he is a solemn, reticent boy, but since the day he got his ID card he has been all smiles and outgoing, participating in more activities at our family program and really opening up. It's been great to see his transformation. 

We are still working on a few cases this year, and hopeful that at least one will be completed by the end of 2019. We will need additional funds for these, since we had to make 3 trips to the Mae Fah Luang office 6 hours away to complete the 4 cases. If you are interested in donating again to make more dreams come true, you can click below. If you'd like to organize a fundraiser for us, just scroll down to "Start a fundraiser" and it will give you all the tools you need to be successful! Thanks again for your support, and the families thank you too. 

May 4, 2019

Most successful trip yet.

Two happy families!
Two happy families!

Usually, when we go on citizenship trips, we travel hours and hours for just one child to get them their rights as members of Thai society. In April, we had the chance to do 6 cases in one day! One of the families in our program cares for their 10 year old nephew. He is one of 6 children in the family, and his twin older brothers don't have citizenship either. Despite the fact that this is a part of the job description of the village chief, he required $250 for each child in order to have him sign the paperwork granting them citizenship. Keep in mind that the mom does migrant labor, and makes between $3.50 and $8 PER DAY.  The mom didn't know what to do, so the uncle asked for our help. We took all the paperwork, the mom and the 3 boys up to the government office where they were born, a 6 hour drive from Chiang Mai. When Fai, the mom of another family in our program, heard we were going, she asked if we could help her sister's family as well, so she came along in the van. 

Fai's sister met us there and brought her 3 children, the youngest of whom is 6 weeks old. They all traveled 90 minutes on the back of a motorcycle to come do this paperwork because they are from the same village with the chief who is unwilling to help. Fai's sister has somehow managed to be the only person in their family who never got her Thai citizenship card, so none of her children have it either. 

On this day, all the paperwork was in order, there were very few people at the government center and we were blessed enough to have new government workers who were very invested in helping these families. They checked all the paperwork, put the information into the system and scheduled us to return May 9 and 10 to have 3 witnesses verify that all the applicants are who they say they are, and they will all get their cards on that day.

This is where we hit a snag. One of the witnesses must be the village chief, so how would we get around this? Luckily for us, Butsaba has a silver tongue and could convice the clouds to send snow on a July day, so with the government officers' help at crafting what to say, she talked the chief into coming down on May 9 and 10 if we pay for his gas and food, which is what we offer all the witnesses who need to come sign this paperwork. All the witnesses have to travel long distances and take time off work to do this, so we want to make it as easy as possible for them to come. Luckily for all of us, he accepted this offer! 

Thanks to your donations, we will be able to transport all the members of the families once again, plus cover the travel expenses of the witnesses and village chief, and by May 10,  you will have helped 6 people become full members of Thai society, moving from being people without a country, to being Thai citizens who can get a college education, buy a car, get health insurance and get a job that provides for their families. Thank you so much!

Wiped out after a long day of travel (12 hrs RT!)
Wiped out after a long day of travel (12 hrs RT!)
 
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