Life in Bangkok's largest slum community is no picnic. As you walk through the footpaths winding around two square kilometers and home to over 100,000 people, you see many aunties and grandmothers struggling hard to help the little ones that have fallen to their care. Now, Step Ahead's Keeping Families Together program is with them in Bangkok's Klong Toey slum community.
The UN states that 80 percent of children are placed in residential care because of poverty. Our research in Thailand shows over 70 percent of children in Thai residential homes have family, but they were too poor to care for the children.
Why not help keep kids in families, rather than see them keep going to orphanages? Further, it is at least 8 times more to care for a child in an orphanage than in a family. Keeping Families Together can stop many from entering residential care centers to begin with, but we need your help.
Step Ahead's KFT mobilizes the local church and community to support families through holistic development trainings, income generation assistance, educational opportunities, psychosocial support, health care, and spiritual transformation.
Thanks for your support to help some of Bangkok's most at-risk families step ahead today!
When Step Ahead opened in Khao Lak three months after the SE Asian tsunami, 370 students signed up for various trainings including 12 English classes. Over 1,500 students on, we still help bring hope to people living in the whole Khao Lak region via opening doors to step ahead in their personal and professional development.
Further, Step Ahead has because of the opportunities and learnings over these years become a leader in Alternative Care for Orphans in Asia. "Keeping Families Together" as a program is helping keep orphaned children in their families often living with single moms, Aunts or Uncles, or grandparents. Without such family-based alternatives many children would essentially be sent to orphanages as part of an ill-conceived economic solution.
Meanwhile, Step Ahead Child Development Centers still bring great development to preschool children and increase opportunities because of much improved educational horizons as they enter primary school.
Thanks much for continuing to stand with us, as we stand with the people still stepping ahead on the Andaman Sea coast.
When international youth of Bangkok show up in the city's largest slum community, good things can happen. Like playing basketball, or learing Thai boxing, or jumping rubber band ropes- Thai style.
Unquestionably, its a crash of cultures with expat kids from around Asia and around the world, but its an opportunity for the expat kids and Thai children and youth to connect and have fun together even though often spoken language is not a part of the mix of life together.
Step Ahead has made ways for the children of Klong Toey and the often highly priviledged expat youth of Bangkok to spend good times together every week. Its a step ahead for the local Klong Toey kids to know they are not forgotten and able to connect with other kids from around the globe, and an opportunity for Bangkok expat youth to learn that they actually can learn from their new friends from Klong Toey Slum Community.
Khun Wimon makes amazing Japanese Sushi in a very unexpected place: Bangkok's largest slum community. This microentrepreneur has changed her family's life in many ways by the innovative work of her hands. She once made Thai noodles to support her family, but when her young adult son essentially became her marketing consultant, the movement was set to see her increase her daily income many times over.
Meanwhile across the country from Bangkok, to the rural villages of Southern Thailand, and to the poorest villages of the Northeast of Thailand, Step Ahead continues to create new economic opportunities, and add inputs of mentoring and training. Further, Keeping Families Together and the Child Development Centers helps care for and bring hope to some of Thailand's neediest families.
Kate and Anissa Arrive to
Discover Big Steps Ahead.
We always tell Step Ahead volunteers to be ready for anything when they come to join us, and as a dear old mission mentor from Texas, Earl Kellum, always said, "Brethern, we'll treat you so many ways, you are bound to like some of them." Well, these social workers, one from the UK and the other from the USA, coming to serve with Step Ahead in a mammoth task - seeking to forge new Thai government policies in reference to Family-Based Orphan Care, at least got off with some big training steps.
It's a big job, but Kate and Anissa got a great introduction with a free elephant ride soon after their arrival. The elephant expedition owner when he heard of our foundation's work to help poor families keep together (explained in Southern Thai language) decided our new volunteers should enjoy Southern hospitality and their elephant ride for free.
Our next steps in approaching impacting Thai government policy will likely not prove so easy. It will require significant patience, networking, meeting, research and building the body of work in Thai that will make a path up and through the mountainous jungles of historical understandings that can put children and families at-risk. Kim has become a leader in this non-institutional orphan care movement today with nearly 30 years serving some of Thailand's poorest and most vulnerable children. We are excited that now seems to be the moment to press forward and trust God to act and use us to see change happen for Thai families.
As ever, we thank you for your important support, prayer and standing with us and Step Ahead through the years and today.
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