Friday, 12 December 2008

Do They Know It's Christmas?

Scouts and Guides day at our village school.

The teachers seem dedicated to the welfare of the children.

The classes are small and there's a great atmosphere.

Presenting the school with books and a climbing frame.

The kids are angelic, at least when I'm around.

They just love parties and performances.

The kung fu routine was amazingly good.

The lady who cooks the lunches.

The communal hall where they eat their lunch.

The lunches we've been providing for them.

What would I really like for Christmas? It's hard to say as I have all I need.

That can't be said of all the kids in our village though as many of the families are really very poor. It's not poverty exactly because this is a rich and supportive community but they are desperately short of money. In particular, sending your children to school, feeding and clothing them is a constant drain.

The village school is a delightful place simply because of the teachers and children that are there. The buildings are just about falling down and budgets are extremely tight so I and a very generous Japanese friend have been trying to help out.

All our efforts are described on which so far has provided books, playground equipment and most importantly lunches.

A high proportion of the children are below the correct weight stipulated by the Thai Ministry so we have been providing them with good lunches of meat, vegetable and fruit, food of a proper standard that Cat told me they will never have had before. How can they do their school work if they are hungry and poorly nourished?

But now we've run out of money and there will be no more lunches.

For the 95 children in the school it costs about a thousand baht a day to feed them and we have 3,000 baht in the bank account. We had ambitions to raise money in Japan but times are not good and it just hasn't happened. Every single baht is used to pay for the food as there are absolutely no overheads.

So this Christmas I can think of no present I'd like more than to see our lunch programme continue and the children to have the proper lunch they need at school every day.

(I can be contacted on Having just got back from the book launch in Bangkok a few days ago and today packing up to go and meet my daughter and son-in-law who are flying out for a holiday, I meant to write a much longer piece than this. I'm taking my laptop and might yet manage to post more info about it from an internet cafe.)


Darren said...

A country can be rich but the people poor. Poverty takes on many forms and yes it is the most important section on the community that is affected the most by the lack of constant funds.

Without the chance of a good education the future of a community will leave with little education and will remain in poverty.

The reality is this very same situation happens in very rich countries like UK, USA. I know it is hard to believe but this is the reality of the world in which we live.

The efforts you and your friends are trying to make is a real credit to you, getting food available for lunch, to give the children the fuel they need to learn.

I am not sure if they know it is Christmas, but with your sense of community and sharing it is obvious that you do.

For this reason – I take my hat off to you this season and wish you well, and for the community you are trying to help I hope you achieve your set out ambitions.

Thai Girl said...

Thanks for that Darren and thanks to the several readers who have made promises of money to help with the lunch programme.

It is hugely appreciated and is as good a Christmas present as I could hope for.

The thought of the children asking why their delicious lunches they've been enjoying have suddenly stopped is too poignant to think about.


Anonymous said...

At least you're easy to spot in the pictures!

Hope your Christmas was wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Thai teachers dedicated to childrens welfare??? You must live on a different planet to the rest of human kind.