Home For Ethnic Minorities Children
The Home for Disadvantaged Children began in 1992 as a small home in Sriwichien village, housing 30 students. In 1997 this number had grown to 150 and the home was moved to its current location just outside the village. In 2001 The Camillian Social Center Chiang Rai was founded and today there are 230 hill tribe children from Akha, Mhong, Karen, Lisu, Yao, and Lahu tribes, staying at the center. The children attend grades 1-6 at the local school, Mae Khao Tom Tha Sut School which is located approximately 3 Kilometers from the center. The center staff, Sisters and Fathers work hard to ensure that the children are cared for physically, emotionally and spiritually.
We also work hard to improve the quality of life for children with special needs, whether these are physical disabilities or learning difficulties. We believe that these children should be afforded the same opportunities as others and endeavor to ensure that their needs are met and that we are inclusive.
We use a holistic approach to care for the children – focusing on physical, mental, social and spiritual support.
Regular exercise is vital for our children‟s physical and mental health. As such, we have a fun sports and fitness schedule that encourages every child to exercise. During the week, sports and fitness classes take place every evening after school and include football, volleyball and badminton. On weekends, children are divided into groups and compete in various sports with the winning team celebrated at the end of the semester.
In addition, all children are provided with regular health checks and a minimum of three nutritious meals a day, ensuring there is a good combination of carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats and vitamins to keep them healthy. For minor ailments, we have a Sister on-site with a background in nursing and for more serious illnesses, our children are taken to the local hospital to be examined and treated.
Our children are guided by the Fathers and Sisters of the center on how to live a moral, ethical and fulfilling life.
We provide clean, comfortable and well-equipped boarding for the children. We have four main buildings which include a girls’ dormitory, a boys’ dormitory, a school house, and a dining/event area. Opportunities are provided for the children to take part in activities, festivities and games together.
In addition to helping the children to live a moral, ethical and fulfilling life, the center also teaches children about living life through religion.
There are 21 full time staff members working at the Home for Disadvantaged Children and 2 university student volunteers.
ACCOMMODATION & TRANSPORT
The Home for Disadvantaged Children has four main buildings including a girls’ dormitory, a boys’ dormitory, a school house, and a dining/event area. The grounds are quite extensive including a football field, a basketball court, a tennis court, fish ponds, and a small orchard. The center has two large trucks for transporting the children to and from school daily.
LIFE AT THE CENTRE
The schooldays are very busy. The children get up a 5:45A.M. . After cleaning themselves and the center, they have breakfast. After breakfast, they are escorted to school and return at 4 in the afternoon. When they return there is time to play, take a shower, have dinner, complete any homework assignments and relax among friends.
Local schools are closed over the weekend so the children stay at the center and participate in a variety of different activities and games. They especially enjoy competing in our own “Olympic Games”, where they are divided into 6 groups and compete against each other for prizes. The outcomes of these events are shared with parents and the community. Other activities the children enjoy over the weekend include gardening, playing football and participating in special lessons.
CONCLUSION & OVERVIEW
The purpose of the center is to prepare children for life, giving them the opportunity to fulfill their potential and gain the necessary skills to attain employment in adulthood after they leave the center. The center helps the children in different ways as they progress through their education. When the children complete their primary school education we collaborate with other centers and organizations to ensure that the children are able to continue attending school. We arrange frequent visits to see the children and contribute financially towards clothing, food and other necessities.