Dec 11, 2019

Merry Christmas!

The entire team at the Concordia Welfare and Education Foundation – Thailand (CWEFT) would like to thank all of our donors and supporters for another wonderful year of service to the most at-risk here in Bangkok and the remote villages we work with in Northern Thailand.

Established in 1988, CWEFT has grown and served almost 20,000 vulnerable individuals every year, protecting them from exploitation & trafficking and providing them with access to education- the key to opportunities for a future and breaking the cycle of poverty for themselves and their families for generations to come.

Our flagship Concordia Day Care & Community Center continues to thrive and serve residents of all ages from the nearby Bangna Slum community. The program began as an early childhood program over 30 years ago, and has since grown to also include support for children after school, on Saturdays, and during school breaks, as well assisting the elderly and infirm in the slum. Trained staff and social workers work closely with each family to ensure all of their needs be met, which can include doctor appointments and medical care for short and long term illnesses and conditions, nutrition and wellness training and support, adult vocational training, coordinating with local schools to assist with admission and other issues, and any and all other needs as identified on a case by case basis.

This past year was another difficult one for CWEFT in terms of fundraising, but we continue to make ends meet because of regular support from donors like you. This past year, we also welcomed volunteers from around the world to assist in a variety of amazing and wonderful ways. We hosted visitors from our CWEFT-USA sister foundation in America, along with teams and individual volunteers from several U.S. churches, Thai international schools, and local businesses and organizations. Additionally, our board members have also been actively involved in helping with fundraising efforts and expanding our own network of supporters and volunteers. We are including a note of appreciation from one of our volunteers at the end of this newsletter- she returned to work with us after being abroad for many years and was warmly welcomed back to the team.

If you or anyone you know is interested in providing financial support or learning more about how to begin serving as a volunteer, please contact us right away!

 

JUM’S STORY

“Jum” (names are changed to protect children and families) first joined the Concordia Day Care and Community Center (CDCC) about five months ago on July 8, 2019. She comes from a broken home and is currently staying with her mother in the Bangkok slum we serve.

When she first arrived at the CDCC, she was very withdrawn, emotionally unstable, and would cling to an old towel and doll. She was used to drinking Coca-Cola from a bottle before nap time. She was small for her age and had very limited opportunity to practice gross motor skills- she lives in a small shack and was afraid to fall or hurt herself.

After just six months in the CDCC program, three of her teachers have reported that they noticed an obvious improvement. She is able to focus well; she runs and plays with friends; she can happily recount the events of her day. She no longer drinks soda, is well nourished, and is able to sleep well. She does still need continued support to improve her overall muscle tone and gross motor development, but we are confident that will continued love and support from CDCC staff and volunteers Jum will improve and thrive in all areas!

Staff and volunteers look forward to her big smile and infectious enthusiasm every day. She is so eager to come to the CDCC and it is such a joy to see her learn and grow and develop in a loving, nurturing environment. When she is old enough and ready, we look forward to helping her enroll in a local primary school, while continuing in our own after school program and Saturday classes.

Your prayers and support and financial gifts make all of this possible. Jum and her family are enjoying a greatly improved quality of life. They have hope for a future because of you!

So thank you! Thank you for everything! Please continue to share with your friends and family about what we do here. None of this would be possible without your financial support and prayers and time volunteering in so many ways.

 

GET INVOLVED TODAY!

Below is a note of appreciation from one of our volunteers who returned to work with us recently after being abroad for many years. We hope you are inspired by her experience and encouraged to get involved.

“Over ten years ago, I first visited Concordia Day Care Centre at the age of 18, as part of the community service required by my school at the time. I didn’t know what to expect and wasn’t sure how I could contribute. But with great support and encouragement of the teachers there, I started teaching English to a small group of children and shared with them my experiences of traveling abroad and meeting people from other countries.

Even as a teenager, I was struck by the level of dedication and the strong sense of community fostered by the teachers and students here at Concordia. The Centre’s strong and stable presence is vital to the community. It was very inspiring to see and be a part of, and I ended up spending a good portion of my time the following summer helping out. During that time, I also had the opportunity to visit the homes in Bangna Slum where most of our students are from. It was an eye-opening experience that made me realise that volunteering is a moral obligation I should commit to.

After high school, I moved to the UK for university and afterwards lived and worked there for about eight years before returning home to Thailand in 2018 to support a family business in energy and telecom. Despite many years of absence, the Centre remains a special place for me and as soon as I got settled, I was determined to get involved again.

At first, I was slightly concerned about how I could help and make a meaningful impact this time. But as expected, I was greeted with the familiar warm welcome, support and encouragement. It was heart-warming to learn that some of my students from many years ago have gone on to universities and are pursuing their dreams. I feel privileged to have played a small role in helping them achieve their full potential through education.

Currently, I now teach the Saturday English class for 9-10 year-olds. Their enthusiasm and willingness to learn drive me to improve as a teacher. The children’s positivity and confidence truly reflects the years of care and dedication the team at Concordia has put in to making this school a stable and loving home for the children who needed it most.

I strongly believe that education is key to development and I’m grateful for such an opportunity to give back to our community. With my day job in the corporate world, sometimes it can feel like I live in a bubble, fully engrossed by its specific worries and issues. Volunteering at Concordia helps broaden my horizons and put things into perspective. Thank you to all the teachers and students at Concordia for such a rewarding experience. It’s very empowering to know you can make a difference and this is why I always feel I get back more than I can ever give. I hope to continue learning and growing with the community for more meaningful experience together.”

Links:

Sep 12, 2019

Providing Hope and a Future

Non (back left), May (front left) & Pan (right)
Non (back left), May (front left) & Pan (right)

Non (older brother), May (younger sister), and Pan (older sister)* (names have been changed) are siblings who live in one of the slum communities served by the Concordia Day Care & Community Center (CDCC). They live with their parents, who are a young, hard working couple. The father is a truck driver, and the mother is a waitress who works at a restaurant bar. The mother works at night and sleeps during the day, so she does not have much time to cook or look after her children, which leaves the children in need of daytime supervision. To provide for this family, CDCC social workers and staff visit the children several times a week and provide support as needed. The sisters initially required extra care as they were underweight and under-nourished. All three children also suffered from some of the effects of poor hygiene.

In addition to home visits, the CDCC also provides breakfast and milk for the children daily. The youngest sister, May, joined the CDCC preschool program last June. When she first arrived, she was very shy and not confident to speak. But in the months since she has been with us, she has adjusted well, made friends, and loves to sing and draw. She is still under weight is often sick, so we continue to work with her family to improve her daily nutrition and provide daily multivitamins as well as fresh fruits and vegetables.

May says, “My favorite food to eat is fried rice with pork. My favorite holiday is the Songkran Water Festival or Thai New Year. The weather this year has been very hot. My favorite game is musical chairs. My favorite color is pink. My favorite activities in preschool are singing and drawing. When I grow up, I want to be a doctor.”

After completing a year in the CDCC program, May is now emotionally and physically ready to attend kindergarten at the local, public elementary school near the CDCC. CWEFT has also collected donations to provide school uniforms, shoes, and educational supplies for the older brother Non and older sister Pan who are also studying in local elementary schools.

As with all of the children and families we are able to support, this sibling trio is on the path to success- and it all begins with the strong and healthy start that the CDCC is able to provide.

This past fiscal year, the CDCC was able to support 12,469 residents in the four slum communities near the center. This includes 131 children, 70 elderly and infirm, homebound adults, and 12,268 other residents who we reach through health clinics and trainings, vocational trainings, and other physical, social, and emotional support as needed.

We have had another wonderful year, and none of it would have been possible without you. Thank you for your generous support and prayers. We can’t do any of this without you!

Preschool Students
Preschool Students
After School and Saturday Students
After School and Saturday Students

Links:

Jun 3, 2019

Children Thrive During School Break & Beyond

Lottie (left) enjoying her time at the CDCC
Lottie (left) enjoying her time at the CDCC

SCHOOL BREAK FUN

While Thai schools are on break from March to May, the CDCC is busy providing supplemental classes and programming for all of the school aged students from the slum community who are normally at school. This CDCC school break programming allows school aged children to spend their days during break in a supervised setting at the day care, as opposed to being left on their own with limited supervision.

This is a busy time for CDCC staff, but also so exciting as the students are able to participate in a wide range of activities and programs. This year’s break included classes to support studies and classes at school, volunteer service opportunities in the neighborhood, life skills training, field trips, family & senior days, elephant week, and Earth week.

This year, in addition to all of the wonderful activities and programs, we were also blessed to be joined by Ms. Valerie Guy, a professional educator with decades of experience working with special needs children in the U.S. Valerie was able to lead and help with programming for almost two weeks during our break this year. She also provided training and support for our staff to better understand and work with our own special needs students at the CDCC.

Whew! It was a wonderful three months for everyone, and none of it would be possible without the generous and ongoing support from all of you. Each and every donation, no matter how big or small, makes an important and lasting impact in each and every child that we are blessed to be able to serve.

  

REGULAR PROGRAMS CONTINUE

In addition to the special, supplemental programming during school break, the CDCC also continued with its regular programming which includes our day care program for preschool aged children. This ensures that the youngest children in the community are supervised and cared for while their parents work. The children also receive healthy food throughout the day, access to medical care as needed, and the opportunity to learn and grow in a safe and loving environment.

We also continued with our Saturday classes for school aged children. Every Saturday, the children receive help with homework or attend supplemental classes to help them succeed in school and beyond. The program also provides peace of mind for parents and family members who know their children are safe and cared for, as many adults have to work on Saturdays and weekends.

 

INTRODUCING "LOTTIE"

Three-year-old “Lottie” is one of the hundreds of children we were able to support and serve during the school break. Lottie’s father drives a motorcycle taxi and her mother sells health insurance- both jobs provide low, unstable income for the family. In addition, Lottie was born with Down’s symdrome. She has developed slowly and came to the CDCC unable to communicate or focus much at all.

When Lottie first started, she was quiet, would sometimes cry, and had no interest in interacting with any of the other children. CDCC staff immediately got to work and helped to coordinate with her family and local health officers to ensure that Lottie receives all of the support and care she needs to thrive and be her very best. We were also blessed with the visit and help from Valerie who brought appropriate toys and shared her expertise in how to best help and work with Lottie and others like her.

We are happy to report that since joining the CDCC, Lottie has made remarkable progress. She now enjoys being with her friends at the center. While she is still a bit behind her peers, she has made wonderful improvements and is now able to write and color. She can catch. She can throw. She can line up. She can dance and perform with her friends. And the list goes on and on. Lottie has mastered so many important life skills in such a short time. We look forward to many more accomplishments in the months and years to come. It is our prayer that Lottie will continue to grow and learn and thrive, and in a few short years be ready for elementary school.

Again… none of this would be possible without your prayers and support.

Please continue to pray for us and share what we do with your friends and family. If you haven’t already, please also consider signing up to be a monthly donor.

So, thank you! Thank you for all that you do to make a life changing impact in the life of a child.

School aged children enjoying their field trip
School aged children enjoying their field trip

Links:

 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.