day two had us loading up into vans and heading to a compassion international project located in the prachinburi province of eastern thailand. it was about a two hour drive (we quickly learned that loading up into the vans would almost always equal a two hour drive.)
- day 1 – bangkok to pattaya (2+ hours)
- day 2 – pattaya to prachinburi (2+ hours), prachinburi to pattaya (2+ hours)
we arrived a bit late – that was sort of a theme for us – and were warmly welcomed and enjoyed a lunch prepared for us by the project volunteers that included some of the best kaeng khiao wan kai i’ve had in a very long time.
after lunch we were introduced to the project manager and many of the volunteers.
these guys work tirelessly to ensure the success of this project
at this project we learned more about the child sponsorship program (csp) and the complimentary intervention fund (civ). child sponsorship is why most of the group i was traveling with had signed up for this trip. they each sponsor at least one child in thailand and trips like this allow them to meet the child(ren) they’ve been supporting and corresponding with. the complimentary intervention funds are funds that are applied for by compassion projects to help with a need outside the scope of the sponsorship program.
so we could get a better understanding of csp we split into three groups to do home visits. our group headed to a nearby neighborhood. this neighborhood is located along the banks of the bang pakong river and floods almost every year at some point during the rainy season.
we visited a home that has twin boys who are in the sponsorship program. they live at home with their grandmother, who is quite frail, an uncle and an older sibling. the uncle is normally the income provider, but he is sick at this time and unable to work.
their home is in need of structural repair. the annual flooding has taken it’s toll on the beams that support the floor causing the back half of the house to be very unstable. the boys are healthy and strong. they attend school and have been identified as good leaders among their group and are being mentored to encourage their leadership skills. they take part in the progams at the project and they attend church. without the compassion project it is very likely that these 14 year old boys would have had to quit school so that they could help support the family.
after home visits we returned to the project. many of the children were out of school and hanging out at the project. the school they attend is located very near, but the area isn’t safe so they cut through the project to avoid the surrounding streets. the project also has a shelter home for children who are not able to live at home, mainly because of abuse.
this project applied for and received civ funds from korea. these funds are being used to help support the renovation of the project buildings in order to expand the space for the children’s classes.
i didn’t get a picture of the current space they have for the kids, but it is quite small and greatly limits what they are able to do.
i was greatly impressed by the organization of this project. having never visited a project, i really didn’t know what to expect. this was the only inner city project i visited on this trip. it had a much different feel than the others and had done a very good job of assessing the needs of these kids and planning a program that accomplished the mission of compassion international in a meaningful way that truly benefited the children and their families.
too quickly it was time to load up in the vans and head back to pattaya. we took time to pray with the project manager and volunteers and then said our farewells. i don’t normally try to sell things on my blog, but compassion international’s child sponsorship program is absolutely amazing. when they say “you can change the course of a child’s life” they mean it. i would encourage anyone everyone who is able to do it. today.