This is Holy Week, and I’d like to share a few moments of mercy with our friends from around the world.
Our new children:
First, before everything else: five children joined our Mercy family this month. Our children always come first! We have never turned away a poor child in need and never will.
Nong Bhoey, age three, has lived in children’s shelters most of her young life. Her mom did not like her previous shelter and had her moved to Mercy because we are gentler and more caring. Not surprisingly, since Nong Bhoey is used to living in shelters, she is adjusting well. That is, she doesn’t feel lost or lonely the way most new Mercy kids do. In her first day, she examined and test-piloted every toy in our girls’ shelter and has rarely stopped playing since.
Nong Chew-wew (which loosely translates to “super peachy-keen”), a two-and-a-half-year-old girl, joined our Mercy family this past month because her mom, a trash-picker, simply could not care for her. At the end of every school day, when all the neighborhood mothers pick up their children at our Mercy Centre (Lock 6) kindergarten, Chew-wew is reminded that her mom is missing and cries rivers of tears.
When Nong Chew-wew cries, our older girls – her new big sisters – hug her and minister to her every need. Plus a few needs she doesn’t know she has - like dressing her up as a princess.
Our goal with Nong Chew-wew is to care for and educate her until her mom gets back on her feet. In the meantime, we count ourselves blessed to have her in our family.
Nong Sprite, age six, may never get to return to her parents. Her home situation was dangerous. Today she is going to school, making friends, and most important of all, she is healing.
Nong Pizza and Nong Peanut, sisters, ages 6 and 3, showed up on our doorstep this week with their father. Their mom recently died and their dad, who works as a day laborer at various construction sites, cannot take care of them right now. Both girls cried a lot their first day, the older one first, then the younger one because her big sister was crying; but in a day or two, like all our Mercy children, the sisters will get up each morning determined to have as much fun as possible… and succeed! (Photo above, our new little ones from left to right: Nong Boey, Nong Pizza, Nong Sprite, Nong Peanut, and Nong Chew-Wew.)
New Mercy Kindergartens
Our newest kindergarten – this one in a construction campsite between Sukhumvit Soi 24 and 26 – just opened last month. At first the site was so packed with families and workers living in corrugated tin shacks that there was no room for a classroom. So our teachers made do, and taught out of the back of a pick up truck until space was cleared.
We have plans to open three more construction camp preschools in the coming months. The families living on these sites are basically nomadic, moving from construction site to construction site, wherever their skills are needed, which means that their children have no continuity in their formal education.
If these children are ever to learn to read and write, our kindergartens are their best chance. And even if they stay in our school for just a few weeks before moving to another camp, our school will teach them, if nothing else, that learning is fun, that going to school is a beautiful way to make friends, and that the chance of gaining an education is always within their reach!
International Soccer Tournament for Orphans
Our older boys are preparing to represent Thailand in the world’s first international soccer tournament for orphans and children living in shelters. The tournament will be held in Poland later this summer. They will be facing off against teams from around the world. Fingers crossed! They just cleared their first big hurdle: they have successfully applied for their passports!Climb Mt. Everest for Mercy!
Friends are organizing a Mercy charity trek to Mt. Everest basecamp this coming October. For more information on how you can join as a trekker or sponsor, please visit: http://tbtlab.com/ebc-trek or www.facebook.com/events/557179620972778. More information to follow soon.
Our homecare teams, who are among the most experienced in Southeast Asia, continue to provide hands-on training workshops for HIV/AIDS-based NGOs in far-flung areas along the Burmese border and throughout Laos.
New Sister Charity in Australia
United States: Mercy Centre USA – www. mercycentreusa.org
United Kingdom: Mercy Centre UK - www.mercy-centre.org.uk
In Ireland, please contact Gerry and Violet Morrissey at 01 288-1577.
A Full Year of Mercy, Day by Day.
We speak so often in generalities, but here are a few specifics: Mercy outreach covering the year 2012:
Children Receiving Assistance:
Mercy Centre Children: 161
Preschool Students: 2,469
Education Sponsorships in Bangkok: 580
Legal Aid Cases (street children and slum youth): 1,332
Janusz Korcaak School for Street Children: 32
Koh Lao Children: 89
HIV/AIDS Home-based Care: 772
AIDS Education/Outreach: 5,745
International College/University Students: 11
Obtaining birth/identity documents: 85
Street children protected and cared for by our street social workers: 142
Mercy children able to return home: 15
Total – Poor Children Receiving Assistance: 11,483
Adults and Families Receiving Assistance:
Credit Union/Savings & Loan Members: 759
HIV/AIDS Homecare Patients: 250
AIDS Outreach in Government Hospitals: 4,631
Koh Lao Sea Gypsy Project/Families: 120
Janusuz Korczak School – Adult Students: 144
Elderly and Indigent: 100
New Homes/Repairs: 50
Total – Adults and Families Receiving Assistance: 6,165
We could never have accomplished any of the above without friends who believe in us and support us in our most difficult endeavors. Thank you, my brothers and sisters, you make our Mercy Centre more beautiful, more caring, and more joyful.