On Wednesday afternoon, the owners of six bars from the Rompho Market Complex and Jomtien, presented a gift in the form of food and household supplies to members of staff and special needs students of the Father Ray Foundation in Pattaya.
Love Pattaya were there to witness the handover, which was a wonderful gesture by the bars owners to a worthy cause.
We told the original story in a previous report, where the bars involved had arranged social gathering every Saturday evening to play pool. Initially it was to bring customers into the bars, who wished to play pool in a fun environment without the pressure of playing in the league but it also had the added bonus of collecting funds for charity.
As a result, the total raised was 30,000 baht. They contacted the Father Ray Foundation and they suggested they used the money to purchase items that were required on a daily basis, which would be gratefully received.
As you will see from the photos from the event, 30,000 baht buys a lot of goods.
The bars involved were:
-Rum Dum Bar
The Vocational School:
Love Pattaya chatted to Derek, who is a public relations and international fundraiser for the charity, who kindly took the time to explain what the charity was all about.
Derek, from England, originally came to Thailand as a volunteer at the Father Ray Foundation, way back in the year 2000 and amazingly he is still here. He is now employed, playing a vital role helping not only with the fundraising but with those who are schooled or accommodated at the complex.
What many people will be surprised at, is the complexity of the foundation, how it operates, the vast cost involved and skills required to ensure, each and every person in care or receiving training, feels at home. It is a massive undertaking that requires a mammoth management programme.
Derek’s role basically covers anything that is not Thai related, such as overseas fundraising or dealing with volunteers from abroad. He is so involved in the charity, that he works seven days per week, permitting himself a day off every three months or so. A very committed man you could say.
He was accompanied by Amber, a native of Holland, who was one of the volunteers of which there are twenty at present. Other volunteers presently working at the centre come from Australia, China, Croatia, Ireland, Russia, UK and USA to name a few countries represented.
It is worth mentioning for those who may be interested in volunteering at the foundation that searching “Father Ray Foundation Volunteer” will produce the information you require.
Derek and other staff members had brought along a number of boys who were receiving vocational training under a special needs program run by the foundation. The youngsters were there for a number of reasons, such as getting help with autism, cerebral palsy or Down syndrome. He explained that schools in Thailand simply cannot cope with anyone who suffers from these conditions and how they would probably be sitting at home all day if it were not for the foundation.
The Vocational School opened last year with the idea of helping young adults/teenagers with any form of disability. They are taught new skills, gain knowledge and learn how to become independent – things that most of us take for granted.
The school offers a range of educational courses, to help improve their lives. They are provided with three meals each day, accommodation and medical assistance, and possibly the most important part, a job when they successfully complete their two years and graduate.
Those in attendance at Paradise Bar in Rompho, took part in the handover of the food and provisions. They received a snack and drink courtesy of the bar and played pool with the girls, who enjoyed it as much as the boys.
We should give special thanks to one of the staff. A young lady known as Kung. She went out and purchased some toiletries using her own money and kindly donated it to the charity. Well done Kung – a truly kind gesture.
The Children’s Home:
Derek continued to explain other areas of interest concerning the set up of the Father Ray Foundation. He discussed the children’s home that takes care of youngsters who have suffered abuse, neglect or unimaginable levels of poverty or cruelty. He gave examples of some of the youngsters backgrounds, which are simply too horrific to discuss here.
Many of those in care were found sleeping rough on the streets, begging for food or committing petty crimes just to eat and survive another day.
These kids are provided with a safe haven, where it is stressed to them that they are wanted and feel part of a family. They go to school and over the years, some have graduated at university, all because of the excellent work at the foundation.
School For The Blind:
The operate a school for the blind, assisting any child who is visually impaired from all over the country. They learn the skills that will permit them to become independent. They are taught how to read and write using the Braille system and are also given vocational training, to help them fit in with society.
Sports is something they are encouraged to take part in, overcoming their disability. Some of the students have gone on to represent Thailand at sporting events worldwide. A fantastic achievement for all involved.
The Children’s Village:
This special area opened in 2008 and features ten houses, where up to eight children live in a family unit. The children act like brothers an sisters, and are looked after by a lady in each house, who effectively becomes their mother figure. She encourages or congratulates them and provides discipline so they understand what is right and what is wrong. We should point out that no child is punished physically, as the discipline comes in the form of an education process. In fact no carer is permitted to shout at a child or even call them derogatory names. That is unacceptable to the foundation and is actively discouraged.
They attend school and as they grow older, will be given the opportunity to go to college and university or given help finding work.
They are provided with a safe environment, where they can learn to be part of a family and also understand how to live in the community.
The Day Centre:
Each day, the centre receives up to 60 toddlers from the poorest areas of the city of Pattaya. The centre provides a safe place for the children as their parents seek employment.
They receive breakfast, lunch and snacks and can even take food home, where they may otherwise go without nourishment.
The kids are taught how to read and write or educated through playing games, depending on their age. A nurse regularly checks them over to ensure they have no serious health issues.
The foundation hopes that by providing this service, the parents may find work and thus break the never ending cycle of poverty and the hardship it brings to the family.
The foundation offers a number of other forms or care and services, which are designed to help those in need. The children are giving a home, where they feel safe or they are offered day care where they receive education and basics such as food.
As they grow and progress, everything possibly is done to assist them, so that when they are old enough to leave, they are capable of taking care of themselves.
Successes And Benefits:
Some of the children arrived when they were only one-year-old and have known no other form of existence, yet have gone on to live a successful live, holding down a job etc.
They have at least one student who is 25-years-old and at the vocational school another is approaching 50 years of age. So they cover the whole age spectrum.
So how is something of this size funded? Well they have many sponsors and of course people such as the bar owners, who collect money or make donations of gifts. But the truth is, that although this is appreciated very much, it is a drop in the ocean when it comes to financing a project of this size.
With over 300 employees who work in a variety of departments, such as accounts, care, teaching, drivers, nurses, cleaners or computer specialists, you will gain an understanding of the costs involved.
The accounts department is huge because of the amount of bills that have to be paid, donations coming in and the books have to balance at the end of the day of course.
Part of Derek’s role is raising funds from overseas and reckons that 45% of their income is from abroad. This accounts for up to four million dollars per annum. The Thai people and many business donate a similar amount with the government chipping in the other 10%.
It sounds like they are well off at the foundation but when you consider that there are 850 children to feed and clothe, provide medical care for, along with accommodation, special needs training and a host of other costs, the money does not go very far.
Even the kids leave school at 18, if they wish to go on to further education, it is the foundation that fund this for each and every child.
The foundation has a number of call centres, representing major businesses, who are based within the complex and only employ people who have disabilities. They companies are major telephone businesses or vehicle manufacturers, who are offering a lifeline to the people coming through to working age.
Can You Help:
The short answer is yes. They will accept everything from rice to fruit and vegetables, detergents, toothpaste or other items that are commonly found at supermarkets.
They will happily receive second hand furniture, unwanted mobile phones, toys old and new, clothing that you are considering throwing out. If you wish to make a cash donation, you will be given a receipt for your money and a follow up letter thanking you for your kindness.
One kind person donated solar panels, including fitting, which saves the foundation a fortune in electricity bills.
It doesn’t matter how much you contribute or how little. Everything is more than welcome.
It is worth explaining that 91% of all cash donations reach those in need. There is obviously some overheads involved in processing donations but 91% is a very good figure indeed.
Ways To Help:
- Offer a donation to the foundation.
- Check out the wish list on their website where you will find items they require. Click here to see https://www.fr-ray.org/en/get-involved/wish-list/
- Sponsor a child.
- Cover the cost of a meal at one of the projects.
- Help spread the word by talking about the foundation.
Gratitude From The Foundation:
Derek offered his sincerest thanks on behalf of the children and those in education at the foundation to the bar’s owners and those who helped raise the funds to purchase the supplies.
We appreciate help from anyone who donates to the cause he said and it is people like this who can make a real difference to the foundation.