A few months ago one of our community engagement volunteers took us out to a migrant camp near a truck stop to meet a family he knew. They have 2 small girls ages 4 and 2. The father works very hard for the Thai land owner where the camp is located but they were still not making enough to get by.
This family was on the verge of splitting up because they couldn’t make ends meet.
They wanted to know if they could send their girls to come and live at the Charis Home while they saved enough money to take them back to their very elderly grandparents in Burma to live so that their parents could both work and try to get ahead. This is usually the story. Parents are working to try and get ahead, to escape the abject poverty they left behind in Burma, and the poverty they are living in now, and children end up in orphanages because of how hard it is to do this.
The difference that they needed to make up, to make keeping their daughters a possibility for them was approximately 500baht/month. That’s less than $20US!!!
Can you imagine having to give your children up over the lack of 20 extra dollars every month?
But the reason we went to talk to them was that they had already started to work on another plan, a dream really, but one we could help with.
The camp where they live is quite isolated. It’s far outside the city and there is no where for people to buy food and other necessities without needing to hitch a ride into town, past police checkpoints, and then back again. So this enterprising couple wanted to fill this need. They would bring in boxes of supplies every week and sell them to the families in the camp. Buying in bulk and repackaging it themselves would help them to save on costs, and bring supplies to their neighbors at a better rate than they could get buying for a single family in the city.
The profit from providing this service would supplement their income enough that they could keep their little girls at home.
But they need start up capital. They needed enough to get started and purchase the first round of boxes for everyone, and build a small extension onto their house to store it all.
All they needed to borrow was $310US. They would pay it back plus interest over the course of one year. The interest we would use to bring training to their community, especially to the mothers of small children. We would train the mother to bring this training back to the rest.
Needless to say, we gave them the loan. They have been faithful in making their payments. They are incredibly grateful to be able to go into business for themselves and keep their family together.
You guys, this situation is repeated thousands and thousands of times over, all around us.
This is why all of our new projects are focussed on helping these families to stay together. It’s less than $20 a month.
Can you help us to do this?
There are plenty of children’s homes. There are plenty of places willing to break up the family and take children away from parents, and grandparents, aunts and uncles in the name of helping them. There are plenty of organizations who’s solution to this problem is to warehouse children. But there are very few that are fighting to empower parents and keep families together. If we don’t do this we end up with a whole generation of children who have been raised by institutions. We end up with people starting families who don’t know what families ought to look like, how families work.
You end up with parents who will drop their children off at an institution for 3 years while they go and work somewhere because they were left with strangers for years at a time when they were children, and so they don’t understand why they shouldn’t do it to their children as well.
The children in homes here aren’t orphans. They are children whose parents are too poor to care for them, who want them to have the best chance at life and so leave them somewhere that has nice buildings, and toilets, and showers and 3 meals a day and school because it seems like it will be a better place than they can make in their family. They don’t know how important they are to their children. They don’t know that what a child needs more than showers and toilets is parents who love them and care for them individually. They don’t know about the kids we see at the homes who have landed there after disrupted family situations and don’t care to learn or study or do anything. They don’t have anyone who cares how they do, or what they learn, so why bother?
If we can keep these families together, if we can teach these parents what they need to help them raise their own children, we can make the future brighter for each one of these precious children. Because, if we wouldn’t put our own kids in an orphanage, we don’t think it’s a good option for these children either.
|These mothers are learning about early childhood development, and how they can help their children to have strong minds.|
We need you to help us keep providing the support to families in terms of training, education, and work day childcare, that will help them to be strong, to be whole, to be the safe place where their children grow up.