Help Families in Thailand Rebuild Their Homes!

Last October, lives changed forever when the worst monsoon season in more than 50 years hit Thailand.  Nearly 300 people perished and 8 million were affected. Homes were destroyed, hearts were broken, but the spirit of Holt’s foster families could not be crushed. In the face of such devastation, Holt took comfort in the inspiring stories brought to us from the field. Although many of our foster mothers lost their homes, they never wavered in their devotion to their foster children. Our overseas staff sheltered the families, and kept the children safe. We commend Holt’s foster mothers in Thailand for their love and dedication, as well as our staff who rose to meet the need.

You may remember this story brought to us by Jennifer Goette, Holt’s director of programs for South and Southeast Asia, and published in November.  Jennifer tells the story of one Holt foster mother whose home was damaged during the monsoon.

In March, engineers began the second phase of flood response by conducting an evaluation of destroyed and damaged homes. The engineers will now volunteer their time and  begin the repair of 20 homes for birth and foster families affected by the flooding.

 

Click here to help foster mothers and birth families rebuild their homes for the children they love!

 

Jennifer Goette, Holt’s director of services for South and Southeast Asia, recently returned from Thailand.  While there, she witnessed first-hand the devastation caused by the worst monsoon season to hit Thailand in 50 years and sat down with a Holt Sahathai Foundation foster mother. 

By Jennifer Goette

Holding one of her foster daughters, Patchara talks to Jennifer Goette, Holt's director of services for Southeast Asia, about how her family has been affected by the flooding.

Bangkok, Thailand — Watching the floodwater rise in and around Bangkok in news reports these last couple weeks, it has been difficult to get a true account of the tragedy caused by the worst monsoon in Thailand in 50 years. Until my visit to Bangkok this week, I didn’t understand the true impact of the tragedy or how critical the work of Holt Sahathai Foundation (HSF) has been for families dealing with dislocation and personal loss.

Since early October, HSF staff has worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of children and families served by their program. They have coordinated deliveries of food and supplies to hundreds of families using military vehicles, small boats and sheer willpower. They have relocated approximately 25 children and their foster parents to the HSF office, where the families have found safety, comfort and nutritious food. In many cases, HSF staff have continued working long hours, seven days a week, despite the desperate situation of their own families and homes.

One foster mother — relocated to the HSF office with her two foster daughters — sat down with me and shared her story….

I am sitting with Patchara and the Executive Director of HSF, Jintana Nontapouraya, as the light fades in the early evening and Patchara’s youngest foster daughter sleeps in her arms.

Patchara has been a foster mother with HSF since 1996. I can tell that Patchara, with her warm personality and sweet disposition, holds a special place in the hearts of the entire staff. Nearly 15 years ago, Patchara adopted the first child she fostered and has remained a foster mother with HSF ever since.

Patchara shares with me about the uncertainty families faced in the early days of the flood, when it was unclear just how grave the situation would be in areas around Bangkok. As the floodwater rose higher throughout Pathum Thani Province, the local residents evacuated to higher ground, staying with friends or relatives, or relocating to temporary evacuation shelters. As she worked with her husband to construct a barrier around their home, Patchara’s primary concern was not for the safety of her house or her personal belongings — which are now two meters under water — but for the safety of her two foster children. “They are my family,” says Patchara with a smile. “There was no question that I would continue to provide for their care during the disaster.”

Continue reading “Help Families in Thailand Rebuild Their Homes!”

MoneyGram Gives $35,000 for Holt’s Education Programs in Thailand and the Philippines

MoneyGram presents a check to KBF, Holt's partner in the Philippines.
Kasem* loves school.  He loves seeing his classmates every day, and goes in early to play with them.  He loves to draw and practice writing his name.  At home, at night, he eagerly shares with his family what he did that day in class. He never needs to be reminded to finish his homework.

Kasem lives in the Philippines with his mother, father and younger sister.  His mother does not work. To care for his family, his father collects and sorts garbage at night, selling the recyclable items the following morning.

Without support from Holt International and Kaisahang Buhay Foundation (KBF), Kasem’s family would not be able to send him to school.  Kasem attends one of KBF’s six daycare centers, which provide nutrition, medical assistance and learning activities for children in several low-income communities of Metro Manila.

Recently, Holt and KBF made another valuable partner in their mission to keep Kasem – and hundreds more at-risk children – in school.  MoneyGram International, Inc., a leading global money transfer company, yesterday announced a $35,000 donation to support Holt’s education programs in the Philippines and Thailand.

Through its annual Global Giving Program, MoneyGram provides grants to support education programs around the world.  “As a money transfer provider, we know first-hand how important small sums of money are to individuals working far from home to build a better life for themselves and their families,” says Juan Agualimpia, MoneyGram’s chief marketing officer.

Continue reading “MoneyGram Gives $35,000 for Holt’s Education Programs in Thailand and the Philippines”

To Give of Yourself

University of Oregon graduate Ally Tritten recently completed a six-month, IE3 Global Internship at the Holt Sahathai Foundation (HSF) in Thailand.  Here, in her third and final blog, she reflects on her experience working alongside HSF’s dedicated staff in their efforts to find homes for children with special needs.  Many of these children are now in Holt’s Waiting Child Program.

Read Ally’s first two blog entries here and here.

Ally with children at Nakhon Si Thammarat, a Muslim preschool in Thailand.
My name is Ally Tritten.  From September 2010 to last February, I interned at Holt’s partner organization in Thailand – top social welfare agency Holt Sahathai Foundation (HSF).  For six months, I worked alongside HSF staff to complete a project for the growing number of children with special needs living in Thailand’s government institutions. The ultimate purpose of the project was to find loving adoptive families for about 250 Thai children with special needs.

 

While working closely with HSF staff members, I also became a part of the “HSF family.”

This, I didn’t expect.  Not at first.

My initial impression of the HSF staff was that of a tight-knit group of individuals who defined strength and commitment to helping children and families attain success in life. I was immediately consumed with their high energy level and strong work ethic. As I entered each office room, the HSF staff scurried about their business – taking phone calls, working on computers, and looking at files stacked about a foot high on each desk.

I was excited to begin my work for this organization.

And within a few days, I was one of them – files piled high on my desk as I completed one task, just to begin another.

During my first week in Thailand, I also had my first business trip. About 16 of us traveled five hours north of Bangkok toward Cambodia to visit some of the foster families in HSF’s foster care program. Through this experience, I was able to get a first-hand look at the diverse social welfare services HSF provides for families and children. Throughout the coming months, I would be called on several more journeys deep into jungles, walking through water and over small wooden planks covered in fire ants in order to make a foster care home visit – a trip HSF staff often struggle to make for follow-up info on children eligible for adoption.

Once back in Bangkok, I began the primary work of my internship. Continue reading “To Give of Yourself”

Thailand Update from Ally: Helping the Children Who Wait

Children with special needs in Thailand find strength in the face of challenges

University of Oregon graduate Ally Tritten is currently in Thailand working with Holt Sahathai Foundation (HSF) as an intern with IE3 Global Internships. Ally, a family and human services major, will work for HSF for six months, helping to find homes for 200 children with special needs. The children are currently in government-run child institutions in Thailand; some of them will eventually be placed into Holt’s Waiting Child program.

“I am really excited for this trip,” says Ally. “I look forward to learning more about Holt International, their work in Thailand, and to be able to provide services to children.”

Holt established a partnership with HSF in 1975. HSF serves a large number of vulnerable children through a variety of programs including adoption, pregnancy counseling, foster care, educational sponsorships and outreach services for children in hospitals and orphanages. Many of these programs help birth families stay together through counseling and assistance.

The following is an update from Ally about her first full month in Thailand (Click here to read Ally’s first blog update):

Bangkok, Thailand — I am still adjusting to my new life in Bangkok. For the last month and a half Pi Tuk, Pi Malee and I have coordinated with Child Adoption Center (another adoption agency in Thailand) and assessed approximately 30 children with special needs, all of whom live in governmental orphanages and have been diagnosed with various disabilities. Some of the common disabilities we see in the children are: cerebral palsy (CP), fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), microcephaly and macrocephaly, seizure disorders, visual and hearing impairment, delayed development, autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and a variety of physical disabilities. Of the four orphanages we visited in the past month, two — Nong Khai Home for Boys and Udornthani Home for Girls — are located in the northeastern part of Thailand and the other two — Ban Fueng Fah Home for Children with Special Needs and Pakkret Babies Home — are located in a nearby province outside of Bangkok. The HSF social workers and I flew by airplane to the two northeastern orphanages and spent four days assessing the overall development of 14 children.

The majority of the other children in the project live in Ban Fueng Fah Home for Children with Special Needs, where we spent most of October interviewing each child’s caretaker, physical therapists and teachers, as well as completing our own individual assessments. Continue reading “Thailand Update from Ally: Helping the Children Who Wait”

Helping the Children who Wait

University of Oregon graduate Ally Tritten is currently in Thailand working with Holt Sahathai Foundation (HSF) as an intern with IE3 Global Internships. Ally, a family and human services major, will work for HSF for six months, helping to find homes for 200 children with special needs. The children are currently in government-run child institutions in Thailand; some of them will eventually be placed into Holt’s Waiting Child program.

“I am really excited for this trip,” says Ally. “I look forward to learning more about Holt International, their work in Thailand, and to be able to provide services to children.”

Holt established a partnership with HSF in 1975. HSF serves a large number of vulnerable children through a variety of programs including adoption, pregnancy counseling, foster care, educational sponsorships and outreach services for children in hospitals and orphanages. Many of these programs help birth families stay together through counseling and assistance.

The following is an update from Ally about her first week in Thailand:

September 15th, 2010.

Bangkok, Thailand – Well, it’s been just over a week since I arrived here in Bangkok, and I already love every minute of it. I’ve been quite busy these last 10 days, meeting the staff at HSF and orienting to the diverse range of services HSF, as a highly recognized child welfare agency, offers. I have had the amazing opportunity to observe meetings with adoptive families and participate in a home visit, where I helped assess the potential of a family to bring their child back into their home. I also visited Pakkret’s Babies Home – one of the orphanages in Bangkok – where I, along with Pi Malee and Pi Tuk, two HSF social workers, helped identify the children in HSF’s special needs project.

We then went on a trip to explore an agricultural, self-sufficient center. This center is used as a model for maintaining a steady income through ones own resources and property. The goal of this project is to keep rural communities intact and prevent overpopulation in the big cities throughout Thailand, as well as maintaining close relationships with friends, family and community members. It was a fascinating experience in every aspect.

On that same day, Pi Malee, Pi Tuk and I visited the neighboring village occupied by HSF foster families, and we enjoyed observing the love and energy that surrounded each child being cared for. Continue reading “Helping the Children who Wait”