While I’ve found myself lost in translation several times in the land of smiles, there is one sound that is simply a universal language. The sound of a child’s laugh. Yesterday we went to the slum child care center, a nongovernmental organization that provides child care and family outreach programs within the slums of Bangkok. These slums started becasue country people moved to the city in hopes for better jobs and more money. However, the transition causes unforseen problesm such as higher costs of living and displacement from extended family who would normally provide child care. So what ends of happening is families will leave their children with neighbors and community members with limited resources and difficult and crowded conditions. The Foundation for Slum Child Care (FFSCC)goes out to these home day cares and helps make them a better environment for the kiddos alongside with maintaining their own child care center.
This visit was my favorite site of the entire trip! We were able to actually interact and play with the kiddos! Some of the kids had a look of shock on their faces and seemed scared of all of us big tall farangs. Actually we later found out it was because of our blonde hair- the only light haired people they see are elderly. But many of the kids took really well to us foreigners and we all found ourselves a little buddy to hold and put to sleep.
My heart went out to all the adorable little kiddos. Even though I knew they couldn’t understand the words I was speaking, I knew they felt my guinune compassion towards their wellbeing . Most of these kids come from broken drug influenced home environments- the director said that they generally accept the children from the worst conditions. I loved being able to provide these kiddos the attention and love that they so desperately desired. Part FFSCC approach to their family outreach program is to help parents help themselves. They want parents to know its their responsibility to focus and provide for their child’s needs. FFSCC offers parenting classes for these families and tries to change their attitude. The program director said, “We try to get to their hearts and remind them what it was like to be a child, because once you open their hearts you can thow all kinds of knowlegde into it.” I really appreciated this mentality and found it interesting that the foundation shared my same belief that change and societal progress stems within each and every family.