its been a long time since i last posted here! since i last wrote, i returned to Baan Dada to do some more volunteer work and so much has changed!
first, THANK YOU to all the wonderful people who donated to the $10,000 fundraising campaign. not only have they practically finished the second floor of the boys home, but the money was enough for the foundation and some additional construction on the girls home (they were able to get a good price on concrete so it went further!)
BEFORE FUND RAISING – 3 years with no second floor!
AFTER FUND RAISING – Tada! Notice the blanket in the window? The boys were so excited, they started moving in before it was finished!
it was great seeing the kids and seeing all the progress on the construction that is going on.
we also spent some time brainstorming on the commmunity development projects that baan dada is running. at the moment, they have a dairy goat lending program (where they lend a female goat to a poor family for 2 years and let the family keep the offspring of the female goat), a fish farming and homestay program (based in the remote fishing village of piloki) and the community weaving center (burmese refugee women make woven goods for sale).
of the three, the fish farming program is doing the best. the weaving program, however, is not doing very well as the cost of shipping the goods out of sangkhlaburi is actually higher than the cost of the goods. so, we ended up using one of our empty suitcases to bring back some woven items to the states in hopes of helping the women find some buyers here. if you are interested in checking out their products, take a look here.
dada is also trying to run an immunization program this january on the burma side of the border. since the burmese government has not offered immunizations to villages on the border that are considered to be hostile to the military government, there are now thousands of children who have never received basic immunizations. they were raising money to send a medic across the border to offer immunizations in over a dozen villages. however, the latest population statistics show an additional 1000 children which were not in projections. unfortunately, donations for this program have pretty much stopped coming in since the international financial crisis broke about 1 month ago. if you have an interest in this worthwhile program and can spare even $20, then i encourage you to visit baandada.org and make a donation.
on the technology front, we brought a ton of donations (laptops, monitors and a mac mini). they were all a big hit! the monitors were both flat panels donated by jen myronuk and jeff gordnt – the first flat panel monitors at baan dada ever. the mac mini had the boys entranced right out of the box:) we had loaded it up with some video podcasts, such as learn to play guitar, drums, some english lessons etc. after they all held the mini in their hands and asked me about 100 times if it was a computer, we set it up and taught them all how to get around a mac. we couldn’t get them off it after that!
thank you everyone for your support and please check out my flickr photos for more pics of the kids.