Tuesday, 29 July 2008 13:12

General Information:
•    Founded in 1973
•    Co-founder and President: Father Joe Maier, C.Ss.R.
•    Co-founder and Director: Sister Maria Chantavoradom
•    Staff: 306
•    Geographic reach: Over 60 poor communities in Bangkok, 25 Mokan (ethnic Sea Gypsy) villages in mid-southern provinces, one island in Ranong Province.

Mercy Children

Our Mercy Centre:

  • Our home and family, including 200 abandoned, orphaned, and trafficked children
  • The largest of our 22 slum preschools
  • Janusz Korczak School of S.E. Asia - a non-formal school for street children
  • Legal Aid Centre for poor children
  • Administrative center for all HDF programs
  • A community drop-in center for the elderly, the handicapped, adults living with HIV, children in trouble or afraid, anyone in need.

HDF Programs:

I.    Children in Need

Mercy Centre Boys

Orphanages and Shelters

  • Six shelters for abandoned, abused and orphaned children, including over 60 children born with HIV.
  • One home for children in transition, entering or leaving residence in our Mercy Centre family.
  • Total care provided, including education and skills training

Street Children Outreach and Legal Aid

  • Protection, defense, counsel, and support for street children.
  • Securing legal birth and identity certificates for migrant and poor urban children

II. Education

Mercy Preschool Children

  • 21 Mercy preschools throughout Bangkok’s poorest communities and one preschool in Koh Lao, Ranong Province, for Mokan children. Approximately 2,500 poor children, ages 3 to 6, enrolled. National curriculum: reading, writing, Thai culture, history, dance, song, sports, and the arts.
  • The Janusz Korzcak School for Street Children –  i) a non-formal school providing literacy and trade skills for older street children; ii) an academic excellence program for university-bound poor children; iii) comprehensive arts program for all Mercy Centre children; and iv) adult education for staff and community.
  • School Sponsorships. Over 500 primary and secondary school sponsorships for the poorest neighborhood children in Bangkok
  • Mokan Children Pioneer Education Program - 500 additional school sponsorships for Mokan (Sea Gypsy) children.
  • Preparation for International Colleges and Universities - Currently 12 Mercy children, including children whose education we have sponsored for many years, are attending colleges and universities abroad on academic scholarships.

III. HIV/AIDS Programs

Mercy Hospice

Adult Hospice (The Bridge of Hope Caring Centre)

AIDS Homecare for the poor

  • Over 500 patients in Bangkok
  • Helping the poor living with HIV maintain their strength and remain productive members of their family and community.

HIV Education, Outreach and Advocacy

  • Targeting over 10,000 high risk individuals/year
  • Schools, community centers, factories
  • Advocating for the rights of the poor living with HIV/AIDS and free access to medicine

IV. Community Services

Community

  • Housing – Repair, renovation, and construction for elderly and indigent and slum communities devastated by fires – over 10,000 homes in Bangkok slums to date.
  • Community Organizing – Consultation, leadership, and education initiatives with the poor; coordination with government ministries including the National Housing Authority, Port Authority of Thailand, and various welfare organizations.
  • Financing – Small business start-ups, emergency low interest loans.
  • Klong Toey Women’s Group and Credit Union – Empowering poor women to take control of their personal and family finances.
  • Slum community credit unions throughout the slums, often implemented immediately after slum fires, where those left homeless need to be recognized as juristic residents to remain in the community and receive emergency government assistance.
  • Disabled Poor – Providing employment, securing legal benefits for physically disabled.
  • Emergencies – Slum fires; families in crises.
  • Community-building programs in 25 villages in Phang Nga, Phuket, and Satun provinces following the tsunami, and in the island of Koh Lao in Ranong Province.

Coordination with Thai Government and Local Non-Government Organizations

To strengthen our partnership with the poor, we coordinate our efforts and pool resources with several Thai government ministries in education, welfare, and justice, the local police departments, government hospitals, and various local community-based organizations. The assistance we give and receive from these organizations and government institutions is a great part of our own strength as a community-based field organization. A partial listing of our partners in these cooperative activities:

Child Protection and Shelters:

  • Ministry of Child Welfare
  • The Confederation of Street Children Organizations: pooling resources, communications, and advocacy experience.
  • Local Police Stations – Over 80 stations work directly with our child protection and legal aid teams, and call HDF for assistance.
  • National Police Academy – HDF provides annual training in Street Children Outreach to police cadets.
  • Ministry of Education – HDF mans the national child abuse hotline weekly.
  • Thai Armed Services and Rural Development Program – providing training programs and camping expeditions for our children.
  • Wat Saphan Buddhist Temple. Our children work for and receive Buddhist teachings from Monks at our local Temple.
  • Holy Redeemer Church and local Catholic institutions tutor our children after school and teach our children about prayer and ethics at home and in the community.

Education

  • Ministry of Education – Formal and informal school coordination of various activities and certifications.
  • Bangkok Metropolitan Authority - Coordinates activities and curriculum with our 21 Mercy Preschools, provides milk for our 2,500 school children, and subsidizes a portion of our teachers’ salaries.
  • Community Leaders – We help organize and advise community leaders representing the neighborhoods surrounding our preschools.
  • Pang Nga School Board and School Principals – Coordinating with 12 schools in Tsunami-devastated provinces to boost education opportunities among Mo-Kan (sea gypsy) children.
  • International High Schools – Academic scholarships for our children; volunteering opportunities for teachers in these schools and their most gifted graduates.

HIV/AIDS

  • Ministry of Health
  • Government Hospitals – HDF assists large groups of the poor living with AIDS through local government hospitals.
  • Bamrad and local Children’s Hospitals – provide medicine and testing for our children living with HIV; care for them for months at a time when they are not well.
  • Wat Saphan Buddhist Temple – Monks meet and advise our patients about life and healing, and provide funeral services when they die.
  • AIDS Coalitions – Advocating for patients’ rights.
  • Children’s Network – A federation of orphanages and children’s HIV/AIDS organizations, initiated by HDF, to coordinate communications, advocacy, and programs for children.

Community Services

  • National Housing Authority
  • Port Authority of Thailand
  • Women’s Group and Slum Savings and Loan – networking with slum organizations throughout Bangkok
  • Federation of Coastal Villages in Tsunami-devastated provinces