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Monday, November 26, 2007

Loy Krathong lights up the skies and waters

This weekend a beautiful and luminous full moon lit up the night skies as Thailand celebrated the traditional Loy Krathong 'Festival of Lights'. The beautiful and traditional Thai festival sees the skies and the waters lit up by krathong floats and giant sky lanterns. People make beautiful krathong floats typically from banana leaves, flowers, 3 incense sticks and a candle and set them off in rivers and canals and according to Brahmin beliefs, pay respect and gratitude to mother earth and ask for forgiveness for polluting the water.

A parade for the festival was held in Mae Sai on Saturday with some of our older children coming into town to enjoy the festivities. Our Nana Buffet Restaurant ran a food stall during the celebrations to raise some money for the shelter. Also that evening Kru Ngaow, staff and volunteers joined the younger children for celebrations at the shelter around a camp fire, singing songs, playing activities and setting off beautiful giant sky lanterns.

The following evening the children attended the celebrations at the local Sankhong village, where many of the children attend school. The celebrations included a parade of floats, lots of music, dancing, fireworks and crackers. The children then walked to the nearby river the set off their krathong floats they had made at school and the shelter during the week.

The beautiful festival was lots of fun for all the children, staff and volunteers at Childlife :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Leelong out and about

A few months ago the BNN Post featured the story of our 2 medical emergency cases including Leelong who arrived at Childlife unable to walk after being bed ridden for 1 month in his village.

We are now happy to let you know that Leelong is now walking around freely after regaining a lot of the weight he had lost as well as undergoing physical rehabilitation at Childlife. We were lucky to have Aoife, a physiotherapy student volunteer who provided a good programme of exercises for Leelong to follow. Also fellow volunteer Leni organised for her sister to bring some Therabands to improve his movement rehabilitation.

Leelong has also returned to visit his foster family in village Baan Nam Kuen which put a big smile on his face. He is also back to playing his favourite game Takraw with 5 takraw balls in his room!
We thank our friends who donated money towards Leelong's recovery.

Christmas donations!

Childlife would like to give a big thanks to Marg and her friends and family in Australia for sending 3 boxes of goodies for our children for Christmas gifts. We'd also like to thank Lisa at Export Air Operations for delivering the boxes to Mae Sai free of charge.

If you'd like to donate some gifts for the children for Christmas please let us know!

Alternatively you can purchase gifts for your friends and family for our 'Dream of Border Children' campaign. This will ensure its an ever lasting gift for our children as well as a beautiful gift for your loved ones. More information on how you can do this will be available in our next newsletter.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Fundraisers in UK for Childlife

Childlife would like to give a huge thanks to some past volunteers who have held events in the UK to raise money for Childlife.

Emma, Christophe and Jean held 'Party for a Purpose' to raise money for a new pilot project to be implemented at Childlife called Zangr. Zangr can be understood as the Akha 'way of life, traditions and knowledge'. The project aims to develop a bilingual curriculum in Akha and Thai language and work with other ethnic minority groups to ensure access to the same opportunities for bilingual education.

Jack, through his mother's company "Training for Travel" who are a major training provider for the travel industry in the UK, held a charity ball for their 10 year anniversary. During the ball a charity auction was held as well as other fundraising activities. All money raised was split between Childlife and a UK childrens charity. The money raised from this event will go towards the new Childlife shelter.

Donation thanks

This week Childlife recieved a visit from some of our European friends, Bertl (Austria) and Hermann (Germany).

Along with their visit to the shelter Bertl brought a donation of 200 euros and many gifts for the children (on behalf of Sparkasse Mureck and Volksbank Mureck), including balloons, puzzle games, pens, colour pencils, drawing paper and art packs.

The donation came in very timely and will be used to buy food to feed our children this week.

We thank Bertyl and Hermann for their visit and very kind donations to our shelter.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Childlife joins celebrations for childrens rights

Today, Childlife children joined celebrations in Mae Sai to mark Childrens Rights Day in Thailand.

The celebrations started with a parade, which our children were part of, down the main street of Mae Sai. It was a colourful procession with many of the children dressed in traditional clothes, bands playing music and banners promoting hopeful messages.

The parade then came together at the local square outside the District Office, where many of the children performed songs and dances on stage, including a great mime show by our children, 'Nana Theatre', telling the story of the hardships of living on the streets. The days celebrations also invloved a mutitude of activities, food and stalls with information to promote and raise awareness of childrens rights.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Childlife on television

Last month five of our children and Kru Ngaow (Childlife Director) headed to Bangkok to be part of Channel 7 live TV show Ja Mot (or if translated directly - Ant's Nose!)

Ja Mot, a television show usually featuring movie stars and singers, interviewed Kru Ngaow about Childlife, our work and the situation of the children at the borders.

The 5 children who attended watched on attentively from the live studio audience!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Childlife welcomes in the winter

Now we are well and truly in November, Mai Sai and Northern Thailand has said goodbye to the rainy season and hello to the chilly winter dry season.

The dry season has allowed the children to start planting new vegetables again, with the children waking up early in the morning to tend to the garden.

Developing the Children's Council

A training camp was held for some of the older children to learn and develop skills to prepare them to be part of the Childlife Children's Council.

Pee Pee, the mentor for the Children Council ran an intensive weekend of activities both inside and outside the shelter to to develop a range of skills focusing on patience, discipline and team work. The weekend also included some fun trekking and camp fire stories.

From this training the new Children's Council will be chosen.

The Childlife Children's Council is a group of the senior children at the shelter. They meet twice weekly and discuss issues at the shelter ensuring the children are empowered. Over the past 4 months the Children's Council has been given greater responsibilities and now oversee the major operations at the shelter. This move has seen many of the older children step up to the responsibilities and develop some great skills for the future.

Scouts for the younger children

Last month the younger boys at the shelter were treated to a range of boy scout activities to learn discipline and patience.

The program included different sport and exercise activites emphasising working in teams and groups. The program was finished with a fun short trek learning about team work, held outside the shelter!

We thank Pee Bang, a volunteer from Bangkok for developing and running this fun program for the children.

Learning handicrafts

Some of the children recently visited the Pong Ngam Catholic shelter to observe their handicraft project. The shelter has developed a well rounded handicraft project producing a wide variety of products.

Our children got the chance to look at their products as well as discuss how they operate the project. Many of our children already make handicrafts however the visit was an opportunity to exchange ideas.

Childlife looks forward to working with the Pong Ngam shelter to develop our own handicraft project to develop more skills for the children.

Music Workship by Twelve FM

Last month the shelter was visited by people from Twelve FM community radio station to hold music workshops for the children.

They worked with many of the children, demonstrating and teaching guitar and drum skills. They also offered 3 of our children 500B scholarship to undertake further guitar lessons in Mae Sai.

Twelve FM also organised a cool football match with the older children at the local Sangkhong School.

The children loved the workshop and we thank them for offering the opportunity for some of our children to further develop their musical talents!

Pee Pee returns to Childlife

This month the children at Childlife were very happy to see Pee Pee return to work at Childlife.

Pee Pee left Childife a few months ago to pursue further studies in Chiang Mai however he has now returned back to continue his role at Childlife.
All the children and staff we very glad to see him return.


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