|PSKSP founder Don and some of the Hauy Phong residents. After being involved with the home for so long the kids know him.|
Located about 40Km outside of Pattaya, the Hauy Phong Children's Home is home to somewhere around 400 boys and girls between 4 and 17 years of age. Some are orphans by the classic definition, some are runaways and some are children who've been rescued from bad family situations, from life on the streets, or from the horrific world of sex trafficking. There are also cases of their families simply not being able to keep them properly. Originally a correctional facility of sorts it's now a part of Thailand's Department for the Prevention of Human Trafficking.
Here they're gathered together in a safe place, protected by the watchful eyes of an attentive and caring staff and able to have a childhood free of the unfortunate experiences they endured before arriving here. The boys live on one side of the highway that divides the extensive grounds, and the girls live on the other. Being a government organization they're not affiliated with any outside religious organization, so these children are left to live their lives as Buddhist - as over 90% of the country does. Personally I like that.
|One of the dormitory buildings - six or seven, I believe - at Hauy Phong|
The afternoon these photos were taken I'd gone along with Don, the founder of the Pattaya Street Kids Project to sit on the sidelines and observe while the folks who were involved wrapped up plans for the upcoming 2011 Holiday Party - one of the biggest events of the year for these kids. I'll post again about the home, but today it's all about brightening the kid's lives for this one special day.
|Some of the "clean up" crew stopped for pictures before we left.|
When we rolled in there were kids bustling about everywhere around the grounds. Some of them were having lunch, some were finished and were back on task, sweeping up leaves throughout the grounds in preparation for both the party and a visit by some local monks. As handy as everyday Thai brooms can be, they're not rakes - and there were enormous areas they were making tidy. Still, the kids happily went about their work.
Their annual holiday party is a full day of food and fun, many of the activities planned and organized by the kids themselves - right down to meal suggestions. While the lunch I saw the three pictured below eating looked like a healthy, balanced meal - and they hardly wasted a spoonful - for this one day they discuss and make a request for a special dish as a treat; something the everyday budget can't be stretched for, such as hot dogs or fried chicken. That's where some of the additional funding from PSKSP comes into play.
Along with the games and meals there's a dance that goes late into the evening. Last year the favored number was "Kung Fu Fighting", and I was told the dance floor filled each time it was played. It probably had to do with a renewed interest in the song after it was used in the Kung Fu Panda movie. I considered inserting the original song video here, but I'm not that cruel.
Each of the kids receive at least a couple of gifts, too - and for many they're most likely the only presents they've gotten the entire year. It's no small wonder why it's such a popular event. Sometimes a family member comes to visit them that day, and they, too, receive a bundle of food to take home.
|Food packages are assembled for the big day|
The party will be coming up soon, and here's where you can help: sponsorship cost per child is a mere 2.5GBP, or just under $4USD. That's just a bit more than many reading this are likely to spend on a latte today, and less than a fast food lunch.
The link to a page with their PayPal account is HERE. Please consider making a donation and note that the funds are for the Hauy Phong party. They'll get it to the right place.