Our children rushed home from school last Friday afternoon to receive a group of special guests – The US Third Marine Expeditionary Force Band – a traditional 12-piece military marching band of the highest caliber and spirit.
Most of us have heard near countless versions of “When the Saints Go Marching In,” but for our kids the song was new, refreshing, and exciting. (Also it was beautifully played.) A few of the many highlights:
- Our blind girls Nong Peh and Nong Fon not only heard their first Sousaphone; they also held onto it while it was being played and felt its sonorous vibrations!
- Our boy Galong danced up a storm. (He believes, perhaps quite rightly, that every upbeat tune is for dancing, and who are we to tell him otherwise?)
- The band invited our children to conduct a few songs, and they didn’t miss a beat.
- Our children returned the favor by performing music on their own traditional Thai instruments.
- The band played a gorgeous rendition of the classic R&B song “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy" here in our Mercy Centre.
Finally, inevitably, chaos ruled. Galong persuaded the rest of our Mercy kids to join him on the dance floor. Photo gallery here.
This past week Israeli Ambassador H.E. Itzhak Shoham and his wife Madam Dalit Shoham made a special visit to our Mercy Centre to meet the students who attend our Janusz Korcack School for Street Children.
Honoring their visit, our Korczak school children performed a traditional Thai dance, and served food they prepared themselves and coffee brewed from their own Korczak coffee stand. Ambassador Shoham gave a Hebrew blessing for the children, their teachers, and their school.
The Ambassador’s visit sends a strong and positive message to the street children attending our Korczak school, letting them know that they are important - that their lives and their education are meaningful. His visit also strengthens our own teachers' love of teaching and guiding Bangkok’s poorest children.
Janusz Korczak, a hero to the people of Israel and Poland and children around the world, was a Polish-Jewish doctor, writer, and orphanage director, who pioneered the legal rights of children. In 1942, when his Jewish orphanage was removed to the Warsaw Ghetto, Janusz Korczak refused an offer of help for his own safety. Months later, he and his children walked together in quiet dignity to the train bound for Treblinka, where they perished. Our school is dedicated to the memory of Janusz Korczak and to the children in his care.
Photos: Above: Kindergarten children present a gift to Ambassador Shoham, whose embassy has helped connect 15 of our 22 preschools with computers and skype. Below, our Korczak children perform classical Thai dance.
In receiving his promotion to Second Lieutenant within the Port Authority Precinct of the Royal Thai Police, Khun Aumnaj Boonyamatee asked Fr. Joe to pin his new insignia to his police uniform. Of the many formal and informal ceremonial duties that Fr. Joe performs, he says that this one gave him great honor because Khun Aumnaj is a true slum hero: Second Lietenant Aumnaj works with our Mercy legal aid teams to protect the poorest and most vulnerable Klong Toey children.
Yesterday we celebrated the Songkran holiday – as we always do, according to Thai traditions – by giving honor to our elderly neighbors. Hundreds of Klong Toey slum grandmoms and granddads attended the ceremonies, led by the Monks from Wat Saphan, our local Temple. Fr. Joe and Sister Maria spoke to our elderly neighbors, thanking them for being the heart and soul of our beloved Klong Toey slum: “You gave birth to your children here,” Father Joe said, “and you raised your families here.... You are what make our slum a beautiful and holy place. We are what we are today because of you.”
We wish all our friends a very Happy Thai New Year! (Photo gallery here.)
Please give a poor Mercy child a chance for life. Friends are launching a special scholarship fund to be awarded to the poorest children with the highest academic potential. With your support, one Mercy child will be awarded a full scholarship to the Marlorough College of Malaysia.
Important: when making a donation on-line or by bank transfer, please write "The Mercy Marlborough Scholarship" in comments or instructions.
Donations by Wire Transfer
Donate online: www.mercycentre.org.
You can donate by bank transfer directly to HDF in Thailand as follows:
Our bank details:
Kasikorn Bangkok Public Company Limited
Branch: Sukhumvit 57 Branch
Account name: Human Development Foundation
Account Type: Current Account
Bank Address: 1147 Sukhumvit Rd., N. Klongton, Wattana, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Tel.: (662) 391 9434
Swift Code: KASITHBK
Donations for the Human Development Foundation (HDF) in Bangkok can also be made to the Mercy Center USA in Annapolis, MD. Mercy Center USA (previously named HDCF) has been registered as a 501c3 non-profit, tax-exempt public charity in the US since 1999.
All donations flow through entirely to the Human Development Foundation in Bangkok. The EIN (Tax ID) No. is 52-2168462.5. A written acknowledgement will be provided and the funds are fully tax deductible under US tax law as the foundation is an approved 501c3 organization.
For inquiries, donations by bank transfer, or monthly gifts, please contact Ms. True Rowan. You may donate online - www.hdcf.org - or write a check to "Mercy Center USA."
Ms. True Rowan
Treasurer and Vice Chairman
Mercy Center USA
P.O. Box 1604
Annapolis, MD 21404-1604
Phone - (443) 837-7303 Website: www.hdcf.org
Bank Wire Info;
Bank: Bank of America
Account # 4460 2418 6991
Account Name: Human Development & Children Foundation
ABA # 026009593
Routing # 052001633
Address: 2120 West St. , Annapolis, MD 21401
Donations to HDF may be made to Mercy Centre UK, a registered UK charity:
Foundation Secretary - Sue McAlpine
Mercy Centre UK
25 Wolsey Rd.
London N1 4QG
I f you are a UK Taxpayer, Mercy Centre UK can receive an additional 25p for every pound donated through the government Gift Aid program.
Checks should be made out to The Mercy Centre UK.
To send donations by bank wire:
Bank: The Co-operative Bank
Account Name: Mercy Centre UK
Account #: 653 380 63
Sort Code: 089 299
IBAN #: GB37 CPBK 0892 9965 3380 63
Bank ID Code: CPBK GB22
Residents of Ireland:
Mercy Centre Bangkok
c/o/ Gerry and Violet Morrissey
103 the Rise, Mount Merrion
Tel.: 01 288 1577
Please address inquiries to Gerry and Violet Morrissey
Today is a grand and glorious day. All our children’s dreams come true today: Graduation day for 500 of our kindergarten children. Graduating from kindergarten 3 into the first grade into the normal Thai Government school system. We gather all the ‘graduates’ – dress them in “Graduation Robes” and make this the most memorable day of their lives thus far!!!! And me, I dress in my Ph D Robes - which are ‘savagely awesome’ (to quote Gung Fu Panda #2) - and formally give each child a graduation diploma – signed by me and the local Government head man. All their parents are here and proud as only Klong Toey folks can be proud!!!
In our 40 plus years, counting today and tomorrow’s ceremonies, we have hit the 50,000 mark!!!! That’s right !!! Fifty Thousand children have gone through our slum school system. That “blows me away.” What an honor and privilege to teach slum kids, who without this early schooling would be crippled for life –crrippled meaning. a pretty much illiterate future and sure poverty. We’ve changed all that/ Actually, not us, the children themselves have done it!!!
So today, before all the ceremonies begin – I wanted to share this with you all, and thank you with all my heart – my deepest gratitude for making all of this possible. You, our Mercy Family, are simply stupendous – beyond belief in your goodness to our 50,000 children throughout over 40 years.
Please continue to help – wouldn’t it be fabulous that you help child 50,001!!!!!
Must go … they are calling me “do my bit” - to tell the children: GO TO SCHOOL GO TO SCHOOL AND THAT THEY ARE “MERCY GRADUATES.’
Because... what happens today…. is life changing and has to last for a life time.
Prayers Respectfully Fr. Joe
Photos above and below from today's graduation ceremony. Photo gallery here.