Thursday, July 27, 2006
A new shelter for homeless children was officially opened in Patong, Phuket district, in a ceremony presided over by Vice Governor of Phuket, Mr. Vorapot Ratasima on behalf of Phuket Governor, Mr. Udomsak Uswarangkura.
The “Children’s Happy Home” project is a joint initiative funded by Holiday Inn Resort Phuket, AIG Private Bank and OVB Holding AG, Germany and operated by World Vision Foundation Thailand. The aim of the new shelter is to provide a safe environment for homeless children as they commence a new life away from the streets. It houses up to 30 street children between the ages of 11 – 16 in dormitory style accommodation as well as housing the staff on site. The Home is accessible 24 hours a day to innocent victims of abuse, neglect, abandonment and homelessness, as well as runaways and those facing family crisis. Equipped with modern facilities and run by staff trained in the rehabilitation and counseling of street children, the home will offer a happy environment for children to play, learn and relax in safety. The Children’s Happy Home project was initiated by The Holiday Inn Resort Phuket which donated 9.7 million Baht to sponsor the building of the home from charitable funds raised by the resort in the aftermath of the Tsunami tragedy in 2004. An additional 500,000 Baht, provided by AIG Private Bank enabled the acquisition of a new building for the project’s expansion.
A further sponsor, OVB Holding AG, Germany, will ensure the necessary funds to pay for the day-to-day running of the home. The Holiday Inn Resort Phuket also intends to remain closely involved in the future funding of the project. The project is operated by World Vision Foundation Thailand which has over forty years experience of implementing such projects in Thailand.
Presiding over the opening ceremony, Phuket Governor, Mr. Udomsak Uswarangkura, commented: “I have closely followed the work of World Vision since the foundation started working here in Thailand. I feel assured that the foundation is reliable, accountable, and has the requisite expertise to manage such an important project in a responsible and sustainable way.
“The Children’s Happy Home project will be of great benefit to the street children in Phuket who deserve a better way of life and a real chance for future happiness. It’s good to see the NGO & private sector working together and supporting the Government’s aim to achieve a better community for all.”
Chusak Wuthiwaropas, the National Director for World Vision Foundation Thailand, said: “World Vision Thailand started working in Phuket in 2002 with the Street Children Protection Program partnering with government and other organizations. The initial project was ‘Patong Beach School’ a drop in center that provides assistance and educational support for street children to this day. It has become a safe haven for children and adults alike. World Vision would like to thank The Holiday Inn Resort Phuket, OVB Holding AG, Germany, and AIG Private Bank Ltd for the generous support that has enabled us to help these street children find a better life.”
Commenting on their involvement to make the Children’s Happy Home a reality, Mr Wolfgang Meusburger, General Manager for Holiday Inn Resort Phuket said: “As a successful hotel operating in Phuket, we felt it was our responsibility to give something back to the community. Happy House is a project which we believe will make a real difference to the future of the street children, helping them to escape from daily abuse and misery, and giving them the life skills and foundation for a better future.”
Michael Frahnert, CEO of OVB Holding AG, Germany, said: “OVB has been involved in several community projects, and over the years, our management and staff have devoted valuable time and money to non-profit causes, to improve the lives of those in less fortunate circumstances, and provide them with opportunities which enable them to help themselves.”
Niklaus Siegrist, a member of the Management Board of AIG Private Bank, added: “The people in Phuket have undergone tremendous hardship in the recent past, and the ones that suffered the most are the children. It is therefore a pleasure for us to be involved in this project, in helping them to rebuild their lives.”
Michael Verikios – Thursday, July 27, 2006"