We arrived at Fridsro Children’s Home on June 30th to a wonderful welcome by the children and staff.
Being based at our old home on site was a wonderful experience of re-living old memories and catching up on how the children are doing. It was also great to be able to meet with the staff and take time to observe how things have grown and progressed since we left last February 2008. We are glad to report that the children in the home are well cared for and seem settled and happy.
During our stay we got to spend time with the children in the home catching up on their lives and their dreams. It was exciting to meet the new children too. We had a special dinner one evening where three of the boys from the home cooked dinner for everyone. They had completed their training as chefs and so we got to sample their creations! We also got to share many special moments with them while playing badminton, watching movies and just having fun. Our three girls had a great time being “home” and playing with the kids.
(Scroll down to the bottom for a picture gallery)
Special Ed Teacher Training
We were privileged to have Stacey Porter provide a workshop for preschool teachers on how to handle students with special needs in the classroom. We had 240 teachers come to this capacity-building workshop. We hope that many children will be helped and blessed by the training these teachers received.
The Relief Update
IDp’s (internally displaced persons)
The end of the war means that there are approximately 300,000 people now in the IDP (internally displaced people) camps and their needs continue to grow. I met with several of the military personnel in charge of the camps and came away with the feeling that the authorities are genuine in their commitment to the displaced people. They are doing their best under extraordinary and trying situations.
We are completely committed to helping the people in the IDP camps through this difficult time. Helping the people is our only agenda and we leave the politics to those who are experts at that.
Until the resettlement that the President promised has taken place we have been afforded an amazing opportunity which is nothing short of a miracle: to be able to bring much needed relief directly to the hands of those in need. As many organizations, us included, run out of money and as the world has already started to forget the needs of these people, we send out a plea to those who are willing to continue their help and support so that these people will continue to receive what they need in the immediate future.
We believe that action speaks a lot louder than words and by our actions we are able to influence change. I believe this will ultimately make the difference between being a “good Samaritan” or the many that walk on by.
Tsunami Update: Re-visiting the tsunami of 2004
Visit to the East
After the 2004 Tsunami we committed to three communities in the East – not just with rebuilding their houses – but rebuilding their lives. Our goal was to train, teach, motivate and empower the communities so that their livelihoods would prosper and future would be brighter. We built 300 houses but were saddened when we had to leave halfway through our goal when access to the area was denied due to the breach of the ceasefire agreement between the LTTE and the Government.
I had the opportunity to revisit the area after two years and talk to some of the inhabitants who have returned from the IDP camps to re-settle and rebuild.
Half the houses showed no sign of habitation. Either they have still not returned or they are the casualties of war. There was a great feeling of hopelessness in the air. The foreign organizations that have been there for many years have now left the country.
The rice fields and various repair shops etc. that we helped them start are lying undeveloped or are completely gone from existence. The houses are badly damaged from the sustained shelling. There has been no possibility for them to develop due to the situation they are facing. These are people who have suffered much but are capable and willing – they need someone to point the way, to invest in their lives and to give them just a kernel of hope.
We have a tremendous opportunity to help these three communities once again. Our goal is to establish a long term presence and help them by mentoring and training them through the various stages of development including sustainable livelihood training and basic necessities.
We have the experience, the knowledge and the possibility to do just that. We pray for partners who will catch this vision to help three forgotten communities recover from three decades of war and rebuild a bright and sustainable future.
Kids Club Update
After our time in Sri Lanka, we headed out to Chang Mai, Thailand to work with Life Impact International. Our team, consisting of people from USA, Holland, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Sweden, met together to prepare for Kid’s Club. Initially, we visited the two project sites where we were going to do our Kid’s Club Program. The first location was a school for migrant children (our morning session) and the second was the local garbage dump (our afternoon session). Our team was in shock at how these precious children could live in these dire circumstances. The children were in minimal clothing and most of them without shoes. They live in make-shift/tent-type homes on top of the garbage heaps. Surrounded by sewage and hazardous materials, these children run around with smiles on their faces. They motivated us to do our best and so we prepared even more for the week, making sure each lesson we taught would not only bring them closer to God but to let them know that there were people here to show them God’s love and to feed them and educate them.
Each day, we met with almost 400 children, teaching them about God’s love and His plan and purpose for their lives. We did educational lessons on how wonderfully God made us as human beings and how beautiful His creation is. The children soaked it all in! They loved the simple songs that we taught them, the snacks we gave and the crafts we provided. Each day’s lesson built on the previous day’s concept. By Friday, we talked to them more personally about who God is and how much He loves them. All the children prayed the prayer of salvation that day! We even had one of the head teachers ask us why we were so happy and why we were doing this type of work. He wanted to have our joy and know where it came from. One of the leaders from Life Impact International was able to talk to him about the Lord and after our final lesson, he too prayed the prayer of salvation!
The situation with these migrant people is desperate! They sort through garbage all day long and get paid about 75 cents for the day. They are routinely rounded up and taken back to Burma and so the children are displaced and moved around about three times a year. We spent some time and visited the border of Thailand and Burma. The first thing you see across the border is a very large brothel. We were told of how many children are used for the trafficking of drugs, labor and sex. A Burmese parent can sell their child for as little as $25 with the false belief that the child is going to a better place. The child is then transported to one of the larger cities for labor or sex. It is a sad and desperate situation! We were so happy to be working with the people on the ground who are helping to rescue these children every day!
Thank you for your continued support!