Thursday, January 22, 2009

DAT Day of Service at Pak Kred Babies Home

Thanks to Brian Thomson and many civic-minded DAT members who participated in the DAT Day of Service to collect supplies and deliver them to the Pak Kred Babies Home in Nonthaburi. You all embody the spirit of unity and service that Obama is calling us all to fulfill!

Here is their report from the visit, courtesy of Dr. Donald Persons.

Just wanted to take a note to record what we did yesterday.

Democrats Abroad (Thailand) Donates to Local Babies Home

(Sunday, January 18, 2008, Sala Ya, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand) A group of people in the Bangkok area recently gathered at the Pak Kred Babies Home in Nonthaburi Province, Thailand to distribute donations and to get to know firsthand about the needs of this home for abandoned and orphaned young people. Brian Thomson of Democrats Abroad (Thailand) organized the event wanting to turn the recent election of Barack Obama into something more concrete by actions for communities where Americans live in Thailand. A large quantity of rice, powdered milk and diapers were received from both Thais and expats in the greater Bangkok and Nakhon Pathom areas.

Another Democrats Abroad member, Anita Simone, is an active volunteer at the center and can vouch for the needs of these 1-5 year-old infants and young persons whose parents in these difficult economic times might not be able to afford to raise the child at this time. Some children’s parents had personal or family crises. Some of the children were abandoned at nearby hospitals or were left on the street in hopes that someone would pick them up. What is most important is that they receive loving care and protection from adults. A child cries because they have been poked, pushed or lost an object to a fellow child. Who will be there to help? So Anita is an example a new and growing breed of socially-engaged Americans in the world.

Although the gifts will be of use to the children, the staff at the center and our own team’s observations concur: there are deeper needs at this center and at similar homes for children throughout Thailand. For example, the number of children per staff person or volunteer needs to be reduced from perhaps 15 down to about 5 children. Personnel and activity rotation is needed to reduce burnout. Incentives such as scholarships and continuing education to overworked and undereducated staff would be of particular help to increase knowledge about early childhood care and learning. Management seminars at local universities and outside auditors could also help the operation in policy and implementation levels to continually improve how it uses its resources. Parental and economic coaching could also be helpful for eventually putting some of these children back under the care of their biological parents. Some adoptions have been done from overseas parents wanting children; however, Thai adoption of children is not so common.

One thing is for sure: the current economic downturn presents huge challenges to an already overburdened orphanage system. So it will require people to stand up in an impossible situation and say: Yes we can! This is the inaugural event of a movement that has come to Thailand through its American expat community.

Monday, January 19, 2009 Dr. Donald S. Persons Reporting

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