Latest News From BaanGerda




   
« Older Entries
It’s Snowing!
Posted by Mike Thomas on 7th May 2014

snowingMuch fun and excitement in Baan Gerda; It was a typically hot and oppressive late afternoon in the Lopburi countryside. The temperature is 37C, the kids are sitting down for dinner when the sky suddenly darkens. The winds start gusting and tearing branches from the trees and then the heavens open.

The kids are quite used to violent tropical storms but this was something special. Shouts of “He-mar!” (it’s snowing) as they rushed outside to experience this rare phenomenon. Admittedly, it was hail stones rather than snow, but this is the middle of Thailand and not something you generally expect. The temperature plummeted by more than 15C in 30 minutes but this didn’t deter a group of excited kids from rushing out to collect the “snow”. It’s probably the only time they will witness these freak conditions. Such Joy. More photos here

No Comments


Novice Monks
Posted by Mike Thomas on 8th April 2014

The majority of Thai people are Buddhist and with over 29,000 temples throughout the country, all males are expected to become novice monks at some period of their lives. Boys can ordain as novices at any age but need to be at least 20 years of age if they wish to become a full monk.

The main difference is that a novice has fewer precepts to follow, although one additional rule means they can’t own or handle money making them dependant on the temple and local community.

The ordination of some Baan Gerda children as novice monks (samanen) is now an annual event. This year, 11 boys shaved their heads and eyebrows and donned the familiar saffron robes for a 10 day stay at a local temple. For some of the children it was their second or third time. In the video, Don Mai and Dtee talk about their experiences.
https://vimeo.com/91396882

No Comments


Giving and Receiving
Posted by Mike Thomas on 19th February 2013

Lopburi School

One of the problems for a foundation like Baan Gerda is that the children become reliant on donations and people doing everything for them. The kindness of our supporters through monetary donations and gifts can condition the children over a period of time so that they see this as normal behaviour.

Baan Gerda has long since had a policy to try and minimise the chances of this happening. The children have been involved with many different projects over the last several years from supporting poor schools to entertaining old people in care homes.

This month, they travelled to a school in Lopburi city to donate food, stationery and toys to the students. Hopefully, this is encouraging them to consider and help others in the wider community.

No Comments


Fun & Education At The Beach
Posted by Mike Thomas on 11th September 2012

Baan Gerda kids enjoying a trip to the beach The annual Baan Gerda trip to the seaside has always been a highlight of the year for both children and adults. It’s always a huge amount of fun and the kids in particular get a boost from spending time away from the relative isolation of their home. As well as the psychological benefits, our staff also report that some of the kids with skin problems seem to benefit from the maritime conditions.

Although costings are kept to an absolute minimum, unfortunately the trip couldn’t take place last year due to financial limitations. So, you can imagine the joy when the 2012 trip was announced. The night before the journey rarely produces much sleep and most of the kids are bouncing around at 3am, unable to contain their excitement.

The owners of the simple accommodation in Ranong have been very helpful since we first stayed with them a number of years ago. They know the status of the kids and have been very supportive – unlike many other places that refused to take them.

Beach cleanupThis year it was decided that, alongside their exuberant splashing around in the water, the kids should organise a beach cleanup and learn about their role in caring for the environment. We hope that in years to come they will be responsible citizens who understand the importance of looking after one of Thailand’s most valuable assets.

No Comments


Baan Gerda On National Geographic
Posted by Mike Thomas on 24th August 2012

Morgan Parker at Baan Gerda

An exciting new adventure travel series starts on National Geographic this week and will feature Baan Gerda in one of the episodes.

Philanthropic adventurer Morgan Parker embarks on an epic solo motorcycle journey from Hong Kong to Brisbane, travelling through ten countries and over 25,000 kilometres.

The 10 episode “Wheel2Wheel” series travels through some of the most beautiful and at times inhospitable terrain in Asia. Some of the highlights include the Angkor temples, Halong Bay and the Cameron Highlands.

Each episode is filmed on location in a new country and highlights the work of one local grassroots charitable organization. The team visits the children in Baan Gerda during episode 6, to be screened on 16th September 2012

Morgan Parker is a successful corporate executive who has been based in Hong Kong for the past 15 years. His 125 day expedition will raise funds for the nominated causes.

This innovative series will broadcast weekly on the Nat Geo Adventure channel (and the National Geographic Channel in Hong Kong) at 8:00 pm on Sunday nights (starting 26th August) across 21 countries throughout Asia, the Middle-East, Australia and New Zealand.

อาทิตย์นี้ ทางช่อง NG จะฉายสารคดีเกี่ยวกับการเดินทางอันน่าตื่นเต้น และในสารคดีชุดนี้จะมีเรื่องเกี่ยวกับบ้านแกร์ด้าด้วย

นักเดินทางใจบุญคนนี้ชื่อ Morgan Parker เขาเริ่มออกเดินทางโดยขี่มอเตอร์ไซด์คนเดียว จากฮ่องกง ถึงเมืองบริสเบน ของออสเตเลีย เดินทางผ่าน 10 ประเทศ ใช้ระยะทางกว่า 25,000 กิโลเมตร

โครงการนี้ชื่อว่า Wheel2Wheel ในการถ่ายทำสารคดีจะแบ่งเป็น 10 ตอน แต่ละตอนจะนำเสนอความสวยงามของภูมิประเทศ และความมีน้ำใจของผู้คนในเอเชีย สถานที่ที่โครงการนี้ไป ได้แก่ นครวัดนครธม ในกัมพูชา อ่าวฮาลอง ของเวียดนาม คาเมรอน ไฮแลนด์ ในมาเลเซีย แต่ละตอนของสารคดี จะไปถ่ายทำในองค์กรการกุศล ที่ดูแลช่วยเหลือคนในท้องถิ่นนั้นๆด้วย โครงการนี้ได้มาเยี่ยมเด็กๆของบ้านแกร์ด้าในตอนที่ 6 ของรายการ และจะออกอากาศวันที่ 16 กันยา 2555

Morgan Parker เป็นผู้บริหารที่ประสบความสำเร็จ ทำงานอยู่ที่ฮ่องกงมากว่า 15 ปี การเดินทาง 125 วันของเขา จะเป็นการระดมทุนเพื่อช่วยเหลือองค์กรการกุศล ที่เขาไปเยี่ยมชมด้วย

สารคดีที่น่าสนใจชุดนี้จะออกอากาศทางช่อง National Geographic ในฮ่องกง และทั่วเอเชีย รวมไปถึงตะวันออกกลาง ออสเตเลีย และ นิวซีแลนด์

No Comments


A Lesson In How To Deal With Adversity บทเรียนเรื่อง การรับมือกับเคราะห์ร้าย
Posted by Mike Thomas on 21st June 2012

Dokdek last weekendMany visitors comment about how happy the kids are in Baan Gerda and Dokdek, 13, is no exception. Some people might remember him from the website and one of Karl’s annual reports due to his health problems. When the staff from Baan Gerda found him in a nearby hospice several years ago he was seriously ill. After spending time in hospital, he then settled into Baan Gerda and his condition slowly improved.

Unfortunately, the period when he had an advanced stage of AIDS left his immune system weakened and this led to an irreversible deformity of his chest. He also suffered damage to the nerves in his eyes, which has gradually become worse in the last few years.

Last weekend I was in Baan Gerda and I saw Dokdek sitting underneath his house. When I approached him, it was clear that he couldn’t see me and that he has lost his sight. He now has to be helped by the other children whenever he goes anywhere.

Dokdek last weekendFortunately, there is no better place to be ill than in Baan Gerda. The support that the children give each other is genuine and very touching. They all remember what it’s like to suffer.

Dokdek has always managed to deal with his constant health issues with an unflinching determination and zest for life that would shame most of us adults. I’ve never heard him complain about his situation.

When I visited him in hospital a few years ago, he came bounding across the ward with a huge smile and greeting when he saw me. The other Baan Gerda kids who were in there (for a bout of measles) were content to stay in their beds!

I spoke to him last weekend and he was joking about how strong he was compared to me and how he could beat me in an arm wrestle. There was no sense of feeling sorry for himself or mental fatigue in having to deal with yet another life-changing illness.

He has already indicated that he will deal with blindness in his usual way; a humbling situation for those of us who take our health for granted.

คนมากมายที่มีโอกาสเข้าไปเยี่ยมเยียนเด็กๆของบ้านแกร์ด้า ต่างพูดกันว่า เด็กๆที่นี่ดูมีความสุขกันมาก .ไม่เว้นแม้แต่ ต๊อกแต๊ก เด็กผู้ชาย ตัวเล็กๆ อายุ 13 ปี .หลายคนจะจำต๊อกแต๊กได้จากรูปและเรื่องราวในเว็บไซต์ และในรายงานประจำปีของมูลนิธิ เกี่ยวกับเรื่องสุขภาพของเด็กๆ

เมื่อหลายปีก่อน เจ้าหน้าที่ของบ้านแกร์ด้าไปพบต๊อกแต๊ก ที่กำลังป่วยหนัก อยู่ในสถานพยาบาลใกล้ๆบ้านแกร์ด้า จึงได้ให้ความช่วยเหลือ และนำต๊อกแต๊กออกมาดูแล หลังจากใช้เวลาพักรักษาตัวในโรงพยาบาลมานาน ต๊อกแต๊กก็ได้กลับมาอยู่ที่บ้านแกร์ด้า และสุขภาพค่อยๆดีขึ้นที่ละนิด

โชคร้ายที่การป่วยหนัก และภูมิคุ้มกันลดต่ำลงมาก ทำให้ต๊อกแต๊กมีอาการของโรคเอดส์หลายอย่าง โดยเฉพาะอาการที่ปอด ที่เกิดการอักเสบและติดเชื้อมานาน ทำให้เมื่อรักษาหายแล้ว ปอดก็ไม่สามารถจะแข็งแรงสมบูรณ์เหมือนเดิม ต๊อกแต๊กจึงมีอาการเหนื่อยหอบง่าย ยิ่งไปกว่านั้น ประสาทตาของต๊อกแต๊กก็ถูกทำลาย ทำให้การมองเห็นน้อยลงเรื่อยๆ ในช่วงปีที่ผ่านมา

เมื่ออาทิตย์ก่อน ผมได้เข้าไปที่บ้านแกร์ด้า และได้เห็นต๊อกแต๊กนั่งเล่นอยู่ใต้ถุนบ้าน ผมเดินเข้าไปหา และเห็นได้ชัดเจนว่า ต๊อกแต๊กมองไม่เห็นอะไรแล้ว ตอนนี้ต๊อกแต๊กต้องอาศัยเพื่อนๆพี่ๆน้องๆ ในบ้านแกร์ด้า ให้พาเขาไปที่ไหนๆด้วย

โชคดีที่ต๊อกแต๊กอยู่ที่นี่ เพราะไม่มีที่ใดที่จะดูแลเด็กที่ป่วยได้ดีเท่าบ้านแกร์ด้า เด็กแต่ละคนจะมีน้ำใจช่วยเหลือดูแลกัน มีความจริงใจต่อกัน เด็กทุกคนจำความทุกข์ ความเจ็บไข้ได้ป่วยที่เคยเกิดกับตัวเองได้ จึงเต็มใจที่จะช่วยเหลือเมื่อเห็นใครป่วย หรือ ลำบาก เป็นสิ่งที่น่าประทับใจมาก

ต๊อกแต๊ก รับมือกับปัญหาสุขภาพของตัวเองได้อย่างดีเยี่ยม เขายังคงมีความสนุกสนานในชีวิตได้ตลอดเวลา เป็นสิ่งที่ผู้ใหญ่อย่างพวกเราควรละอาย ผมไม่เคยได้ยินต๊อกแต๊กบ่นเรื่องปัญหาของตัวเองเลย หลายปีก่อนตอนผมไปเยี่ยมต๊อกแต๊กที่โรงพยาบาล เมื่อเขาเห็นผมก็ยิ้มอย่างดีใจและวิ่งเข้ามาหา ในขณะที่เด็กคนอื่นๆซึ่งนอนโรงพยาบาลเพราะเป็นโรคหัด ยังคงนอนอยู่บนเตียง

อาทิตย์ก่อน ผมได้คุยกับต๊อกแต๊ก เขายังคุยอวดเรื่องความแข็งแรง และบอกว่าเขาสามารถชนะผมได้ ถ้าเราแข่งงัดข้อกัน .ไม่มีความเศร้า อยู่ในตัวเขาเลย ไม่มีการเศร้าซึมแม้ปัญหาเรื่องสุขภาพจะแย่ลง

ต๊อกแต๊กได้แสดงให้เห็นว่า เขาสามารถรับมือกับภาวะตามองไม่เห็น ได้เป็นอย่างดี พวกเราผู้ซึ่งมีสุขภาพดีสมควรจะดูเอาไว้เป็นแบบอย่าง

No Comments


Children perform musical in Bangkok
Posted by Mike Thomas on 29th April 2012

A Boy and a TigerMany people have been asking about Bruce Gaston’s musical ‘A Boy and a Tiger’. The original première was meant to be a couple of years ago but it kept getting delayed for numerous reasons.

Finally, we are delighted that it will now take place on May 5th from 7- 9 PM at Impact Arena, Bangkok. About 12 of the children will feature in the musical and they have been busy rehearsing every day for the last month.

The story is inspired by the book ‘Life of Pi’ by Yann Martel who received the Booker Prize for his novel in 2002. It features a young boy named Pi Patel and his journey across the ocean and how to survive on a small life boat that has a 450 pound Bengal Tiger.

In addition to the Baan Gerda children, the lead singers and the musicians who will be taking part in this performance come from different international schools and music colleges in Bangkok. They are also joined by Myra Maneepatsorn Molloy, the winner of Thailand‘s got Talent 2011.

The event is being sponsored by Rotary as part of their international convention that runs from May 5th- 8th 2012. Tickets cost $25 and any profits will go to supporting Baan Gerda. Bookings can be made through Khun Moo – k.sarnswang@yahoo.com

1 Comment


Embassy Concert
Posted by Mike Thomas on 10th April 2009

photography courseFollowing a recent visit to Baan Gerda by the German Ambassador (Dr Hanns Schumacher), the children were invited to perform for a specially invited audience at the German Embassy in Bangkok. Although the opera has not been completed, composer Bruce Gaston organised a 40 minute show consisting of scenes from the full opera.

As the day of the concert approached it was obvious that things weren’t ready; the children were frantically trying to learn new parts; people were scampering around making the props and the costumes had still to be made. They would take to the stage without even having a dress rehearsal.

Set amongst the city’s towering skyscrapers, the beautiful gardens of the Ambassador’s residence provided the perfect backdrop for the opera. Despite our uncertainties, Bruce and the children managed to pull off a great show which was well received by the 100 VIP guests.

Commenting afterwards Dr Schumacher said “A wonderful experience! The children performed as if they are on stage every day. The scenes were colourful, alongside a fanciful set, props and costumes, leaving the whole audience stunned. It was so entertaining, and so professional, quite to the contrary of my expectations. You could tell the audience were captivated. I’m delighted that the embassy residence hosted the world première of this performance. I’m also sure that the opera with the children of Baan Gerda will be a special highlight for the Bangkok theatre programme. Those who don’t see it are really missing something!”

View more photos from the performance

No Comments


Bangkok Midnight Run 2008
Posted by Mike Thomas on 3rd November 2008

According to The World Meteorological Organisation, Bangkok is the hottest city in the world year round. It begs the question; “why would anyone want to take part in a fun run?”

Readers may be surprised to learn that there are many running clubs in Thailand, and if you take a look at any of the large parks in Bangkok you will see scores of people running at dusk and dawn.

The key is to avoid running under the brutal tropical sunshine, hence the timing of The Midnight Run. The event is now in it’s 11th year and continues to grow in popularity. More than 4,000 people took part in the latest run, including 15 children from BaanGerda.

The children were very motivated and trained regularly at BaanGerda for the pre-ceding 3 months. They were determined to show their worth and not just `make up the numbers’. All of them managed to complete the run and some posted very respectable times. In fact, three of them would have had considerably better times if they hadn’t accidentally run the longer course!

No Comments


Photography Course
Posted by Mike Thomas on 1st August 2008

photography courseSeveral of the older children recently benefited from a photography course kindly organised by Barbara Walton. She has submitted this report along with a link to some of the photos that the children took:

“As professional news photographers based in Thailand for epa european pressphoto agency (www.epa.eu/), Narong Sangnak and I don’t have much time for passing on skills, but we enjoyed a great day teaching a group of BaanGerda photo enthusiasts the basics of taking a picture during a day-long workshop.

After Narong’s thorough theory lesson, and assisted by photographer Udo Weitz and Narong’s wife Prang, we worked with small teams in the field, encouraging and directing their portrait, landscape and self chosen assignments. The budding young photographers got to use Canon and Nikon professional equipment, and soon picked up that learning how to shoot pictures is often about re-learning how to look from behind a camera, and allowing yourself to be adventurous, curious, and bold enough to give a photo idea a try – and see if it works.

By the end of the session all the kids were moving their bodies and not just standing to shoot, getting closer to their subject and really searching their home BaanGerda environment to find where interesting light and nice locations were for picture taking.
We then saw a very enthusiastic group shown how to edit their shoots and work off their pictures – crop, tone and save for group discussion. While we only scratched the surface we saw some great talent emerge!”

Barbara Walton

View some of the children’s photos

1 Comment


Sewing Workshop Teachers
Posted by Mike Thomas on 18th March 2008

Khun Narong & DimAn important part of the village is the handicraft and carpentry workshop that provides the parents with an opportunity to work and contribute to earn a living. Khun Narong and Dim have been involved in the textile industry in Thailand for over 30 years and regularly supply silk and cotton products to shops throughout Bangkok.

What is your role at BaanGerda?
Dim: We stay at BaanGerda for 1 or 2 weeks every month, teaching the foster mothers how to make various items such as pillows, hats, bags etc… Our silk comes from a small village in the north-east called Chaiyapoom, which uses traditional production methods and natural dyes.

Where are the finished products sold?
Dim: Some of the products are shipped to Australia where Father Sean from the Born To Live foundation sells them to local shops. We also supply to a company in Europe that deals only in Fair Trade products, which means that we have to meet strict standards for both manufacturing and the welfare of the workers.

How does the workshop help the mothers at BaanGerda?
Dim: When they can work they have a better meaning in life, they won’t think of all the negative things anymore. They can work and have an income and have a way of improving their life. They don’t have to be idle and stuck worrying about their condition. Another important factor is that having a job enhances the self-confidence of the parents which in return makes them better parents. During the holidays the mothers are also able to pass on their new skills to the children.

2 Comments


Children Perform at FANC Charity Ball
Posted by Mike Thomas on 26th December 2007

The Foreign Anti-Narcotic Community of Thailand (FANC) held their annual ball at the beginning of December, with proceeds going to BaanGerda. The event, held at the Westin Hotel in Bangkok, was an opportunity for some of the children to demonstrate their new musical skills they have learnt this year.

FANC has existed for over 25 years and is made up of police attaches from 20 countries, who work with the local police to fight drug trafficking and other crimes in Thailand. Some years ago, they looked at ways that their membership could make a difference to those individuals whose lives were directly (or indirectly) affected by these crimes. As a result, for the last 4 years FANC has chosen to sponsor the children of Baan Gerda.

Mike Hiller, FANC Chairman, “Many of the FANC members have visited with the children at BaanGerda and were deeply moved by the children themselves and the work being done there. It was the experience of having met the children that led us to inviting them to perform at the 2007 FANC Charity Ball. Not surprisingly, their performance was the highlight of the event…those that attended the ball were as deeply moved as those of us who visited BaanGerda and will likely not forget the amazing children of Baan Gerda.”

2 Comments


« Older Entries