In October last year we were given 150 wooden pallets that we pulled apart and began making simple stools. In March this year a company donated almost 200 sheets of marine ply wood which has given us some more quality materila to work with. In addition to tables and chairs we have also made some rocking hosrses and some simple boxes by using the scraps of wood. It is quite an amazing feat as most of the craftsman are unemployed men from thje slum. We have had some qulaified carpenters come alonngside us to instruct people on how to create pieces of furniture and toys.
We are using most of it at the new housing development and we have also sold a few pieces. The cost of nails, hinges, vanish and power supply are taken out of the income generated by the sale of items and the rest of the money goes directly to the people who made the pieces. Over the school holidays, several children from the slum came and helped by sanding and varnishing and in turn were able to earn some pocket money as well as learn some new skills.
Bosch, Thailand generously donated many power tools which means we are now able to make much more sophisticated pieces. They sent tradesman to teahc us how to use the tools safely.
Another lady saw what we were building and has added beautiful paintings to the backs of some chairs making them into masterpieces.
Our project has taken an exciting turn in an unexpected direction. A company was discarding 150 wooden pallets and we offered to take them away for free. Now we had to work out what to do with them!
Firstly two men from the slums sat for many weeks taking each one apart and stacking the timber. Then after looking at some pictures they used a hammer and nails to make some simple stools. Fortunately a volunteer offered his skills and he began to teach them some more skills. Next came some simple tables, then chairs and now they are building some very stylish, strong and versitile pieces which include closed in cupboards, shoe racks and much more.
Although the wood is free the nails, screws, varnish, sandpaper and tools are not. We have invested in a sander and the clever handymen have turned a donated saw into a table saw. All of these pieces are being used to furnish the homes we built and benefit the people living there.
In order to continue the project we need more donations to buy more eqipment and consumables such as varnish sand sandpaper.
Thank you for your support. We are excited that we are now not only funishing new homes but creating jobs, developing skills and raising the self esteem for the poor and unskilled labourors.
By Margie Grainger | Vice President, Hand to Hand Foundation
Khun Yai enjoying rice out of her new cooker
A big thanks to everyone who has given to this project. The homes are now completely finished and we have families living in them. Here is the story of how a new house has created a new life for one lady.
Khun Yai is 62 years old and she has been poor all of her life. She grew up in the slums and then began to work on construction sites at an early age. With no place to call home, she has lived her life on the street or in simple huts made out of recycled wood and tin. In Thailand if you do not have a registered house address you cannot have access to schooling, government health care or other benefits. Her hard working life has left her in a lot of pain in her legs, arms and back rendering her unable to work.
Now that she is in her new house she has a house registration book which means she can now access 600 baht (about $20 US) per month from the governmnet. She can also go to the doctor for 30 baht ($1US) which means she has access to medicine as well.
The furniture in her home means that now she can sleep in a bed and she no longer has to try and get up and down from the floor to sleep. She has a toilet in her house and he has bowls that are not chipped and broken to eat out of. There are shelves to put things on and she is taking great pride in keeping her place neat and beautiful. In her words; "I am so thankful for all of this. I often wondered 'why am I alive?', just to suffer. Now I am glad to be alive!!!"
We have washing machines and she is so excited about using them and she does the washing of everybody who lives there for free. Hanging it out is a struggle at times but she does it. The work is good physical therapy for her and she knows that she has purpose, she is worthy and she just loves to help.
Thank you to everyone who gave. This is just one lady out of so many that your generosity has helped!
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