|The Mercy School System|
|Sunday, 29 July 2007 04:48|
Mandate: Go to school.
Number of Mercy Preschools: 22 (21 in Bangkok metro-area, 1 in Koh Lao, Ranong)
Number of Students: 2,500
In 1973, Father Joe and and Co-founder Sister Maria Chantavoradom transformed an abandoned eight-room wooden structure into a school. The school was on the edge of the slum area and it immediately became a “one-baht-per-day” preschool for neighborhood girls and boys, regardless of their various religious or ethnic backgrounds.
This school, as all others that followed, have a three-fold purpose:
1) Poor children are educated to enter elementary school.
2) The mothers of the children are free to seek work during the day.
3) The schools give a certain stability, pride and dignity to the slum communities. The schools show the local government that these communities are a living and viable part of the city.
Over 40,000 slum boys and girls have learned to read and write in our preschools.
School Curriculum: We follow the Thai national curriculum and make sure that our children gain their first lessons with a sense of triumph and joy. They can say with pride, "We learn to count, to dance, to sing, to tell stories, to play new games, to brush our teeth, to fight germs, to say nice words, to make friends."
Nutrition-Health: One out of five children comes to our schools malnourished and hungry. We provide a lunch that for most of these children is their most nutritious meal of the day. Plus fruit and protein snacks in the morning and after naptime. We also measure the children's health and development throughout the school year.
A Community Partnership: The communities help construct and staff the schools located in their neighborhoods. The HDF receives a 10 to 15-baht fee from parents or guardians each school day - just a fraction of the cost of most Bangkok private preschools. The fee is waived for over 500 poor families who cannot afford it. These poorest children also receive school supplies, book bags, shoes, uniforms, etc.
Additional School Program Benefits: Our preschools are the core of our community outreach and child protection activities. Slum leaders, police and parents know they can depend on us, that we will go "to the wall" to fight trafficking of slum women and children, that we will save children who are abused, sick or abandoned, that we will take these children into our homes and care and nurture them for years, for as long as they have no family or place to live.
Preparing Communities to Run Their Own Schools: Whenever we open a new school, it is never our intention to "own" it forever. Our goal is always to strengthen the surrounding communities so that someday they can operate their own schools. In recent years, we have been able to turn over eleven Mercy preschools to their communities.
Related Mercy Centre Education Programs:
Mercy School Budget 2011-12
A note on School Budgets: The parents and guardians of the school children support their school with a 10-baht -per-day fee, if they are able, in partnership with our schools. We also receive partial subsidies for teachers' salaries, milk and some school supplies. The figures below represent HDF's actual out-of-pocket costs after deducting fees and subsidies.
School Name Thai Baht US$*
Rimtangrodfai 383,425.45 12,780.85
Kae –Ha Klong 9 480,636.00 16,021.20
Rimklongwatsapan Sponsored Sponsored
Flat 10 Dindaeng Sponsored Sponsored
Klongtoeinai Sponsored Sponsored
Romklao 543,599.95 18,120.00
Flat 23-24 563,821.90 18,794.06
Poonsab 633,645.65 21,121.52
Yenargard Sponsored Sponsored
Zone 9 683,577.90 22,785.93
Sueyai Sponsored Sponsored
Ceu Ploeng Nok Sponsored Sponsored
Prakkasamai ** 754,860.45 25,162.02
Ceu Ploeng Nai Sponsored Sponsored
Flat 17 830,157.15 27,671.91
Chokechai Ruammith 1,026,810.30 34,227.01
Landin Sponsored Sponsored
Flat 12 1,408,307.00 46,943.57
Zone 8 1,637,607.35 54,586.91
Lock 6 2,046,782.50 68,226.08
Sukhapibal I 2,265,141.55 75,504.72
Koh Lao*** *** ***
*Dollar figures fluctuate according to currency rates vs Thai Bath, currently approx. 30baht/US dollar