At the time I thought that we were helping. I thought that it would be good for the children to have a place to stay and go to school and someone to watch them. But then I realized that many of the children were being forced by their parents to be here. They didn’t want to be here and missed their family terribly. I thought about my own childhood. We had difficulties. But we were together. I realized that it was better for children to be with family, even if their family is poor. Judah
Two times a month Judah, Jonah, and Saengchen, drive from their mountain home, even farther off the main highway, toward the Hmong village. They go to visit 6 families and bring supplies; rice they have grown on their own land, eggs, and pig meat. Vegetables are easy to get in the mountains. Most mountain people still know how to harvest from the jungle, and they have easy access, but protein and rice are harder to get.
Often they are surrounded by children before they even reach the packed house.
The children here used to live with Judah and Seangchen, in the children’s home they used to run with support from The Charis Project. The parents of some of these children are not responsible. Some struggle with drug addiction. Some have left to go work far away. They leave their children with a grandparent. It’s hard for an older woman to care for young children and feed them all. These grandmothers struggled to feed and care for their grandchildren. They had no help, and limited to no income.
So they brought them to the children’s home and asked if they could stay. The food there was plentiful, and the school was nearby. The staff were caring and engaged. But when our staff realized that it wasn’t good for the children to be away from their families, and they closed the children’s home, these children went back to stay with grandmother again.
Even though the children live here every day with us, we cannot replace their family. When they face difficulty in their every day life, they don’t feel like they can come to us for advice or counseling. They will talk to their friends instead. – Saengchen
Now Judah and Saengchen go to see the the children at home. They bring food and support to the family, instead of the children having to go out of the family to get the same thing. This helps the grandmothers to keep the children in school, and this gives the children a family.
In many ways this is the old way, the traditional way, that communities helped each other and families were supported. Judah and Jonah , brothers, grew up in a strong community, together with their family. They were very poor, but they were together and helped each other. Now they are working to help families in their community to be strong, and stay together.