Protection, Caring, Education, a Future full of Opportunities
Number of Children
Currently 200 children.
The Care We Provide
The HDF operates six Mercy homes for children. Every child who comes to live with us comes from somewhere: a home, a village, a place full of relatives, people they call Aunty and Uncle, Grandma and Grandpa. Our goal with all of our children is to help them return home whenever possible, in those cases where the home environment is loving and nurturing. We raise the children in the religious faith of their parents and teach them to respect all religions. Our children attend Catholic Mass and Buddhist ceremonies. We have programs that teach our children art, computers, dance, and physical education. Each Mercy Home also includes social workers, cooks, tutors, and coaches. We send them all to school and nurture and love these children as part of our family. We teach them all we can to prepare them for life once they leave our Mercy family.
Our Homes and Shelters Include
- Four homes for girls and boys separated by age and sex.
- A home for children in transition, joining or leaving our Mercy Centre.
- A special home for mothers and children with AIDS (detailed as a separate program.)
In 1976 HDF opened a home for nine street children who depended on Father Joe and Sister Maria for survival. Our capacity to care for such children grew with each child we took in and our reach expanded every year. Twenty-five years later in 2001, we opened our fifth home. The following year, the Ministry of Justice, in a unique arrangement, also began assigning children to our care as an alternative to incarceration.
Our greatest challenge never changes. That is, to ensure that our children, who often come to us after experiencing enormous infancy and childhood deficits, are able to be children once again on their way to leading a fulfilling family life in adulthood.
A Child's Journey
A mother with HIV had been abandoned by her husband and didn't have the means or strength to care for her youngest child, Nong Niew, age eight. So Niew's mom came to Mercy Centre, asking if we could take care of her.
Smart, pretty, gentle, kind, and strong, Niew lived at Mercy Centre for the next six years. Every time she visited her mother, she came back to Mercy Centre glowing with pride. But later, she always felt sad and missed her real home.
Her mother gained strength and began working at the local squid factory, but the work and income were not steady, and she still lacked the confidence to care for Niew. We counseled her mother for years, encouraging her at every turn.
Niew now lives with her mother and sister. Her mom works at Mercy Centre as the launderer for our hospice and children's homes. Niew is still very much a part of our Mercy family. She meets her mom at our Mercy Centre after school, plays with her "brothers and sisters" here, tutors the youngest children, helps with with their homework, and celebrates with us on holidays and special events. Niew has never been happier: she has a real mom, a real sister, and real neighbors who greet her on her way home from school and who look after her and protect her - plus a huge and caring second family at Mercy Centre.
Bangkok's "Slaughterhouse Children" Find a Haven
Related articles by Fr Joe Maier:
A Ride on the Wild Side of Mercy
Every Picture Tells a Story
The Pride of Klong Toey
Heavens Door Opened on Soi Cowboy
Running Drugs for Mom, and then Starting Over
It's All In the Game
No Parents, No Food, No Home
Five Ugly Ducklings from the Swamps of Klong Toey (Easter Letter)
A Rainy Night in Bangkok
Slum Boy on the Knife-Edge of Hell
Most Precious Throw-Away Kid
Miss Peh and the Piano Man (Easter 2007)
Miss Pim Gets Second and Third Chances
Living Past the Nightmare
Almost Sweet Sixteen
The Revival of Cookie-Crumb James
A Christmas Story (2005)
Related Photo Galleries:
New Child Joins Our Family
Holiday on the Beach
More Mercy Centre Children
Galong Rides His Imaginary Motorcycle
Mercy Children Make Art
Related Mercy Centre Programs:
Anti-Trafficking and Legal Aid Centre
The Janusz Korczak School