Here are a few recent projects showing how we are helping the hill tribe children lead safe lives full of hope.
Safe drinking water and sanitation
BFF together with Rotary International, Chiang Mai University and members of BFWA, work to provide safe drinking water and bathrooms. About 2,200 children have benefited from this activity so far. A grant from Rotary will enable another 7 villages to enjoy the benefits of safe and reliable water. This project is due to commence in 2018.
In collaboration with hill-tribe leaders, we deliver the award-winning Mooditj workshops for young hill-tribe people in sexuality and relationship education. The content includes: self-identity; puberty and caring for your body; understanding emotions; enhancing relationships; sexual issues such as STIs; sexual rights and protective behaviours; parenting; and identifying goals and dreams.
We run on a shoe-string budget – paying for food, travel/petrol allowance (sometimes 4+ hrs away from venue), accommodation, printing puberty booklets, buying resources, conference bags and t-shirts all for $2000 for more than 50 people.
The outcomes of the Mooditj workshops are impressive:
· 400+ young people and their carers have attended over the past 4 years.
· Lorel co-presents with hill tribe people – now empowered to continue the training
· Peer-based facilitators – at least 5 young people have copies of the resources and share with others at their school and hostel
· Young people and carers expressed their enthusiasm for the engaging and informative workshops.
· They were confident to speak about issues relating to sexuality was increased.
· They felt empowered to remain at school, engage in safe sex, and not marry early.
At the start of 2016 we proudly opened Leadership Home. This first stage provides a home with 40 beds for children who are ready to go on to secondary school. Most would simply not be able to attend secondary school if it were not for this new hostel.
The children are carefully chosen and they are incredibly proud and excited to be given this opportunity.
In January 2018, Stage 2 of Leadership Home opened, and by April 2018, more than 40 young people will be living at Leadership Home. Our thanks go to Brian Rooke for his generosity and vision. The land and much of the infrastructure has been funded by Brian. BFWA and many other supporters have also contributed.
For the young people at Leadership Home, life skills are a priority. Led by Nipa, the Manager, the young people grow fruit and vegetables, raise pigs and chickens, and produce rice.
self-sufficiency - Rice, vegetables, Irrigation
We have work with individual hostels to develop sustainable practices, such as growing crops, and irrigation. It is critical for the sustainability of these hostels to be able to grow enough food for the children, and ideally extra to be able to sell locally. Mushrooms provide some extra nutrition.
Every year or two, provided we have the funds, we coordinate a team of medical practitioners to travel to a few villages in northern Thailand to provide much needed medical support. This can include vaccinations, general health check-ups, dentistry, and urgent health procedures.