Merry Christmas to everyone!
The Team from Tamar Center would like to wish you all Happy Holidays and a blessed new Year 2022! We are very thankful to you for your support and help throughout this year. Your gifts have made it possible for us to continue our outreaches and help to the bargirls in Pattaya. But let’s have a short look back on the year: 2021 was different from what we hoped and expected, and we all experienced many challenges throughout the year. It does not matter where in the world you where located, there have been many difficulties for us all. Sadly, it looks like, that at least the start of 2022 will be similar.
But in the last year, also many good things have happened, and I want to briefly highlight them for you:
- Purchase of the new Tamar Building – as of writing this Christmas news the new Building is 95% funded – which is just amazing
- Tamar School – Since the start of online school in Thailand in June, we have set one of our buildings aside and everyday one staff member assists the Tamar children with their online schooling, logging on to the different classes, helping with worksheets, etc. This really helped the mothers out, as many of them struggled with the schoolwork of their children
- Throughout the year, we continued our food distribution. From May onwards, we were not allowed to distribute to groups and so had to make one on one appointments with the women. In that way, we distributed around 100.000 meals in this year alone
- Our vocational training was very limited due to the lockdowns and restrictions, but we still were able to train new women for our bakery and were able to keep all the women in our program.
- Our counseling program was able to go much deeper with the women that are staying with us than they would have been able to normally. Due to the lockdowns, curfews, etc., there was a lot more time for the individual women to deal with deeper traumas from their past.
- We were also able to do some renovation work in the buildings where our women are staying and also in our Outreach Center in Soi 6 where we replaced all the windows and painted again, ready for more outreaches in the new year.
As you can see, even though it was a challenging year, there have been many good things that have come out of it. As this year draws to a close, we would like to challenge you to take some time out and reflect on all the good things that happened in 2021. We did that with our team here in Thailand and we were amazed by the extensive list of positive things that happened.
And so, we want to finish this year with wishing you a contemplative Christmas, nice holidays, good health, and rich blessings for the year 2022. We are very grateful here at Tamar for your help and support.
For the Tamar Family
Greetings from Pattaya to you all. We hope that you are doing well and that the Covid-19 situation in your part of the world is finally getting better. Here in Pattaya, things are still not very good. We continue to have a nightly curfew and a number of restrictions in place, especially all the bars, brothels and massage places continue to be closed. Which means many problems and loss of income for the women. Many have left Pattaya to ride out the situation with their families in the North-East of Thailand but a lot of them have also moved to online work and are still arranging meetings with customers via online channels, which is very dangerous. We continue our food distribution and are still giving out around 150 big food bags each week to women that have nothing to eat anymore. Here an example on how bad the situation for the women is: One of our Staff members was at the beach feeding the squirrels some leftover fruit which is very cute, as they are eating it out of your hand. Suddenly she heard a voice behind her: I am also hungry! And there was one of the women looking very bad. She chatted a bit with our Staff and explained that she had lost the job in her bar, was now walking beach road everyday to find customers that would buy her. She already lost her apartment and was now living in a little shack attached to another house. She was afraid that she would lose that as well, as she had no income. Our Staff arranged a time and later the day returned with a big load of food and other supplies for her. It is a very hard and desperate situation for the women here.
Thailand just reduced the mandatory quarantine for all people visiting to seven days and it looks likely that from the next year onwards Tourist might be able to freely travel to Thailand again. We are preparing ourselves for this, as we expect that the moment that the borders open, thousands of women will return to Pattaya, to try to find work in the sex industry here. They will come pressured by their families and hopeful to make money to repay the debts that they have collected during the pandemic. We are currently getting our house and training programs ready to be able to help these women when they come. The restart of the Tourist Industry will not happen overnight, and we highly doubt that we will see a substantial number of Tourist in the first months of opening and so there will be too many women in the city and we want to help them find additional work. In September we finally purchased our new Building and are currently renovating it to offer more vocational training options and to start a Guesthouse, so that we can teach hospitality skills as part of our new vocational training.
In the meantime, we have changed one of the houses where we normally have women staying into a “school’. The Tamar children are since many months out of school and must do online school, mostly on their phones or doing worksheets. This became a huge struggle for the mothers to do with the children after work, and so we have changed one of the houses into school. Now, a Staff Member is looking after the children during the day to help them log into online school, do homework, fill out worksheets and watch YouTube videos that the school suggests for the kids. All the rooms of the house are used, so that the children have privacy to learn and not get distracted from the other kids around them. We never thought we would use our houses as a school, but thankfully we have the space right now to do just that. We hope that schools will open from November again, and once that happens, we will prepare the house once again to receive women that want to leave the sex industry behind.
Thank you for your continued support of our housing project. It is great to always have space for the women that need shelter and that is only possible through your help!
Greetings from Tamar Center in Pattaya. Thank you for your faithful support for our work here in Thailand. We are glad for your support and that you take the time to read our short update today.
The last months have been very challenging. In the middle of April, the third Covid-19 wave really hit Thailand we had to work from home from early April till the end of May. What did it mean to work from home for our women? Basically, they had a lot of free time – but we tried to use the time as best as possible:
We asked all the women to deep clean all the houses that we have rented and their own living spaces as well. We also did a lot of smaller renovations like painting, cleaning, weeding in the garden areas, deep cleaning our Nursery and all the toys in it, fixing some basic water pipes in the kitchen areas, etc. Basically, we managed to finish all the little projects that were for a long time on our list, but we never had to the time to do them.
The biggest project that we undertook was looking through all the houses and sorting out all the things that have accumulated over time. With many women moving in and out, there are always things left behind and we were amazed to see how many things were collected that did not have any owners anymore.
We also took the time to move some of our women around in order to have one house completely empty and ready for new women to move in. Currently we are using this house for women that must do quarantine at home. For example, one of our women had to travel to Bangkok for a family emergency and with the very high numbers of Covid-19 in Bangkok she had to isolate herself for a week in her room after the trip and take a Covid test as well. It is perfect to have an empty house for occasions like these as she can be in there right now and not need to worry about sharing a bathroom or kitchen with someone else.
On top of that, that house is ready now for new women that want to join us at Tamar. They move into this empty house until they have done a Covid-19 test and we can be sure that they are healthy and are no danger to infect the other women that are currently with us. We need to be very careful, as many of our women have health issues due to HIV or others and we need to protect them especially.
Thank you for helping us to provide shelter and housing for women leaving the sex industry. The women are very thankful when they see the nice accommodation that is ready for them – you are really making a difference in their lives!
For the Tamar family
Time for another update from Tamar Center. Thank you for your continued support of our work here in Pattaya. We can only do it with your help and are grateful for it.
Since the last update not too much has changed here, as we had another lockdown for the whole month of January and into February where we could hardly work. We continued to distribute food and had a big Outreach during Valentine day and Chinese New Year which were very successful. One woman moved into our housing the day after the Valentine Outreach as she was not happy in the Bar and responded to our invitation. One other woman was tricked into coming to Pattaya and then forced to work in a Bar, but she run away, came to our Center and we were able to help her find a new job.
In the last weeks we did some renovation in our Houses. Some doors got repaired, we installed a new water pump in one house that was broken, and we are working on some furniture replacement as well. We are getting ready for hopefully another group of women to move in as we are planning to start the next Tamar Vocational and Life Training in the beginning of May. We hope for 8-12 women to come and join for that.
At the end of last year one of our women moved out of our housing and started a new job with a foundation here in town. Last week Saturday we visited her there and she is very thankful for the help that we were able to give to her. She really loves her new job – she is the House Mum for a children home now. She even has a garden and as one of her passion is gardening, she was able to start in December a vegetable garden and in March she came for a visit back to us and brought a big load of freshly grown vegetables and shared them with our women! It is really nice to see how happy she is now – especially compared to how she looked when she came from the Bars to us.
That brings us already to the end of our little update today. Please feel free to email us if you would like to have more information or if you would like to ask specific questions. Thank you again for giving a home and shelter to women that have nothing anymore!
For the Tamar Family
Merry Christmas and happy and blessed New Year wishes from the whole Tamar family to you! We hope that even though restrictions are in place in many places around the world, that you still will be able to have a refreshing time with your family and friends!
We just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you all for your support during this very difficult and also very different year of 2020. We are amazed by your generosity and your help. Without you, we, as an organization, would not be standing anymore. This year completely changed the whole way that we are financed. We normally receive about 60% of our funding through our own businesses where the women that come through our programs are employed after training. But due to Covid-19, our businesses are mostly still shut down. And when the mail also stopped going in March, our online store couldn’t mail and we were really in trouble.
As we were considering what to do, we saw that the needs of the women that were still in the bars were even greater than ours. Many of them had no income anymore and no savings, they were losing their housing because they were not able to pay rent, and many were hungry. The idea of “food help” was born and until now we have given out thousands after thousands of food bags filled with needs of everyday life: rice, noodles, fish, soap, hygiene articles, etc. Through this program, we were able to reach and talk to many more women than we could have imagined. Many came back when they ran out of food and collected more. Even now, we are giving out a hot meal each Friday plus food bags to women that come to our Outreach Center. We were able to run mini trainings (one month long) in baking and hair dressing. And, we had a record number, 13 women, attend our three-month long vocational and life training session where we taught them sewing, hairdressing and baking. Then, we were able to not only employ all our students, but also to employ several other women in card making because we received two very big card orders. Now, at the end of the year, our students, that we helped when they had nothing, went out and helped distribute 400 huge Tamar Christmas food and gift bags to the still needy women here in Pattaya.
Moreover, we were also able to extend our child sponsorship program and added 15 children who will now receive monthly donations through us. We continued to offer housing to women in need and took in a number of new women, three of them highly pregnant who gave birth to healthy babies during this year. The only thing that we were not able to complete was our new building project. We made some progress but were not able to raise all the needed funds in 2020, but this will be our main priority now for 2021.
Looking back, I am not sure how we did it all. Our team is smaller – as all our volunteers had to leave Thailand due to visa issues. But we have seen our Thai women, who have gone through our program, rise up, learn, and take leadership. We are very proud of them. And somehow, which in great part is due to your sacrificial giving, we are still able to finish this year in the black – even though we had hardly any income from our businesses and gave out sooo much aid! Thank you for standing with us, for trusting us, and helping us make a difference here in Pattaya. You have touched the lives of many women and have given hope in these desperate circumstances.
From the bottom of our hearts, THANK YOU and please have a wonderful Christmas!
For the Tamar Family
PS: The pictures are from our different Christmas activities and Outreaches of the last weeks – please enjoy!
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