How to make 150 children happy with new cupboards, beds and toys

How to make 150 children happy with new cupboards, beds and toys

How to make 150 children happy with new cupboards, beds and toys

My name is Nina Mispelblom Beyer and in July 2012 I left for Thailand to work as a volunteer for a month. This was in the province of Singburi two hours’ drive from Bangkok. I had a year off from my study and had already worked in London for 6 months but decided that I wanted to do / see / something different. So I left for Thailand with the help of the Activity International organization. And as it turned out, it was a great experience.

I worked at an orphanage called “Greenway Orphanage Thailand” which was located in the middle of rice fields and 10 minutes’ drive from civilization. In total, around 150 children were here but they were not all true orphans. Many children did have parents but were placed out of home because they were abused or because the parents did not have enough money to support their child.

I have seldom seen such lovely children. Always so glad to see you and so happy with everything you give them. They are so much in need of attention, something they never received.

Our work consisted of the servicing of the playground, decorating the bedrooms, laying linoleum on the ground, teach and play with them.

I’ve included a picture of how one of the rooms looked like. We already removed the old plastic and ordered the new linoleum in Bangkok .The bedrooms are built on wooden stilts to cope with floods.

Soon I became friends with other volunteers including Laura Beijsens. It was her second time of doing volunteer work here. We and a few others were the most enthusiastic ones. What amazes me is that there are other volunteers who, after teaching, sit down and relax in the sun. While the state of the orphanage looked like this! Off course not everyone feels the urge to create something. But we did because the children deserve a better place.

The children slept on extremely dirty and old beds. There were only a few of these but they shared everything, not only their bed but also toys and clothes. Normally we slept in a hostel but decided to stay over one night so we could truly experience the daily live and routine in an orphanage. At 4 pm the other volunteers left and as off that moment we were just there with the children which was really great. Because now we could see with our own eyes how they live in an orphanage; eating, washing, saying the prayers etc. But also that the gates were closed because of rapists who had already been there a number of times.

After that night we came up with the idea to raise money via Facebook and with this money buy new beds, mosquito nets, linoleum and toys. We also wanted to buy cupboards because everything was lying on the floor simply because they could not stow it anywhere. We discussed and agreed this with the manager of the orphanage.

So we posted our ideaon Facebook, described the current situation at the orphanage and shared some photo’s as well. We did not have any goal in mind actually, we wanted to just raise as much as possible. The result was beyond our expectations; we had a real flying start. Friends started to share our message and some people even donated up to € 150,-! In cooperation with the orphanage we decided on how to spend the money in total € 1300,- because I raised 600,- and Laura 700,-.

The one moment I will never ever forget was when the truck arrived with the mattresses in it. The children of course were very curious, they had to queue up and then the big moment arrived, sharing the goods. This was so overwhelming and I enjoyed it very intensively.  Their gratitude is so great, so intense; we are not used to that anymore in the Netherlands. Over here we find all these things normal but not there. And I’ll never forget the look in the eyes of the children. I thought it was an amazing experience and I’ll go back there this year because I’m planning another visit to Thailand in the summer.

Charles Giesberger