The more than 150 children who live in Children of the Forest child protection came to us for various reasons. Sometimes they find their way to our protection centre, sometimes our outreach workers find them. They are orphaned, abandoned, abused or neglected and often the victims of an environment that exploits children as cheap labour or much worse.
Supported by caring house mothers, our children live in a safe and supportive community. We strive to create a family environment where our children, free from anxiety and fear, are positively stimulated to develop their potential. We provide guidance and support designed to directly address the particular needs of each child, many of whom have undergone traumatic and devastating experiences. Feeling safe and supported, often for the first time in their lives, the children can learn and feel loved and cared for.
It is our goal to be able to help some children reintegrate into their families; but, for most of the children, this is unlikely and our community will be their only home until they can become self supporting. We work to provide the children with access to the opportunities and choices that are essential to all children. We therefore place an enormous focus on education and training.
Education plays a central role in providing fair opportunities; however, most of our children have never been able to attend school, even if they are teenagers. Poverty, discrimination, family situations and an inability to speak Thai provide often insurmountable obstacles to this most basic right. All children who reside at Children of the Forest attend school full time. For most, this is the first time they have been able to ever do so. When they first attend classes, they are placed in level appropriate, rather than age appropriate classes. However, their enthusiasm, determination and appreciation of an education helps them progress fast.
The protection we provide in the centre requires both short and long term aims.
Short term aims-
Short term aims address the needs of new children entering the program after abusive and traumatic experiences. These children generally have very low self esteem, they can be quiet and withdrawn or have anti-social behaviour such as stealing or violence. They are quite simply, confused and unhappy children.
- Helping the child feel secure and safe
- Enabling the child to develop warm and happy relationships with peers and careworkers
- Healing through play, art and nature activities
- Guidance on positive behaviour and speech
Long term aims-
Long term aims address the needs of the children who have been in the centre several years. They can already read and write, have started to move forward past their difficult history and are developing a fresh perspective on them selves, others and the world around them. Their ideas for the future, their hopes and dreams, are now beginning to take shape. importantly with Thai colleges and universities accepting stateless children, the choices are exciting and far reaching.
- Create emotionally healthy, positive and happy young adults
- Build a strong awareness of the importance of helping others and the pleasure to be found in doing so
- The emergence of a specific goal, a preferred vocation or profession
- The self-confidence, knowledge and motivation necessary to reach these goals