After visiting the village we drove to a children’s home called Child Life. This is a home for displace children from bordering countries in northern Thailand. Child life began ten years ago, the headmaster is the founder of the program. When he fist encountered some children in the street they were begging for money and as he told us, he thought something a long the line of “Too bad for them” He said that his attitude changes after a dream and he understood the importance of helping these children., Children in this part of Thailand have a very difficult situation because they are originally from bordering countries, they come into Thailand, sometimes with a substance abuse problem, if they get in trouble with the police they are often taken back to their native country and left at the border. It is a cycle that unfortunately keeps repeating itself. What Childlife does is it creates a safe place for displaced children of other countries that end up in Thailand. It provides them with food shelter and an educations but most importantly a loving environment that is constant. Children that have substance abuse problem do not receive any kind of treatment other than encouragement and talks with the staff. They are constantly being persuaded to change and to imagine the possibilities of a new kind of life. Because it was a school day we were unable to interact with a lot of children. However, there was a group of about ten children, that were too young to go to school, who were playing on the bed of a pick-up truck. They were shy at first but after a few minutes they began to smile and I tried to introduce myself. At the end they were taking pictures with our digital cameras and even began to speak a little English. By the time we left they waved goodbye and had big smiles on their face.
Currently there are around 140 children in Child Life, the Thai government does not provide any help for this organization because the children are not Thai citizens and so the organization relies heavily on donations from volunteers and visitors. In fact, some of the current teachers have not been paid for two months because the money has gone to buy food for the students. If you want to donate or take a closer look at Childife please visit www.childlifemaesai.org .
While it was very sad to hear some of the stories of where the children came from it was empowering to know that there are people in different parts of the world who want to help. Whether it is in Thailand or in the United States, it is empowering to know there are people advocating for those who do not have a voice or whose voice has been quited down by a rough start in life.
Mariana Proske A.K.A Mylee