A PIME missionary’s Christmas among Bangkok’s street children
Foster homes to help raise the children and protect then from the violence and temptations of the city, trying to maintain ties with their parents so they may come back and take on their responsibility. In the north, efforts are made to find land for the families of the Lahu tribe, who fled the Laos civil war of 1975.
Bangkok (AsiaNews) – “It was only days ago that the mother of three children being cared for in the ‘St Dominic’ foster home called me to say she is ready to take her three children because: she loves her children and the families economic situation has improved’”. It is one of the cases with a happy ending, but many others unfortunately have the opposite outcome, as told by father Adriano Pelosin – a PIME missionary who has spent over 20 years in Thailand – in a Christmas letter sent together with Father Raffaele Manenti, also of PIME, to all those who have sent donations or made distance adoptions.
“As I write – continues the missionary – I open today’s paper, the Bangkok Post and I read statistics regarding the level of violence in Thailand in 2006: 519 acts of violence and 8 violent deaths every day. Over 35% of the cases take place in the home, 29% among the young, between 15 and 29. We – he adds – work in the shanty towns and slums where most of our children now in the foster homes come from and where we provide poor children through scholarships and formational activities. It seems like a waste of time. Yesterday, Sunday November 18th, I went to a prison-reformatory to visit 4 boys. Two were arrested for smoking marijuana and sniffing glue, another because he violently beat a person and the last one because he made an n underage girl pregnant. Our foster-homes aim to be an answer to the problems which afflict so many abandoned children. At the same time we keep contact with the parents and relatives of our children so that maybe, we can reach a point where the parents can take on the responsibility for their children again”.
“At the beginning of each semester, May and November, we meet with all of the parents of the children we are helping with scholarships so that they can cooperate in their children’s education: so that their children do not fall into the trap of the city’s many temptations: easy sex, prostitution, drugs, violence and various diseases, above all AIDS. We try to make both parents and children aware”.
But not only the shanty towns of the capital. “I went to visit the villages of Mae Put and Suksawan Kampeng Pet province for three days, where we have many adopted children, and where – writes the missionary to benefactors – through your donations, we are buying rice paddies for families from the Lahu tribe, who as you know, fled civil war in Laos in 1975 and are still today without land to live a dignified life. Thanks to your help we have bought land for 52 families, 78 remain. Lahu rapidly grow in numbers; they have many children and can marry from the age of 16 or 18. This time I would ask those of you who can for a special sacrifice, so that we can speed up land purchase and in doing so give this tribe a little stability”.
“I will also give you the good news – the letter continues – that another three young Thais are in Italy to study psychology and education science and thus they are now four. Our hope is that within a few years they will return to Thailand to help us teach our abandoned children”. The PIME missionaries are supported in this endeavour by the University of Padova. “They continue to help us carry out our work by sending two psychologists each year to flank the work of our assistants and educate our children. We would like to thank the Psychologists Without Borders Association organised by prof. Luciano Gamberini in collaboration with Ramhampeng University Bangkok”.
“The other good news – concludes the letter – is that on February 17th 2008 the House of the Angels will be blessed, where disabled children will find a home under the direction of Maria Angela Bertelli of the Saveriane missionaries of Parma”.