Wearing long blue gowns, old fashioned mortar boards on their head and with a small posy of orchids pinned to their chest, twenty four kindergarten students recently graduated from the Father Ray Day Care Center.
For the past two years these youngsters have been traveling to the Center, located on Sukhumvit Road, from all over Pattaya. The aim of the Center when it opened in 2008 was to provide a safe place for the underprivileged children of Pattaya to spend their days while their parents were seeking employment.
One of the many youngsters who received their graduation certificates.
During their time at the Center the children have learned to read and write. They have also received English and computer classes, all in preparation for entering regular government schooling. Swimming, cooking, gardening and play sessions have seen the students learning new skills, all of which are beneficial to the growth of each child.
For all students the morning starts the same way, with a hot nutritious breakfast as many families will have no food at home. The Center also provides two uniforms, lunch and snacks, medical assistance and can also offer advice to any parent who finds themselves in trouble.
It may be a cliché to say that the Center is helping to ‘break the cycle of poverty’, but that is exactly what it is doing. It is giving a better start in life to the poor children of Pattaya than perhaps their parents and grandparents had.
One little boy was very happy to receive his graduation certificate. He thinks that it is now all over, no more school. It was explained to him that in May he will be entering grade 1 at School number 7. The smile disappeared from his face when he was told that he has another twelve years to go before his next graduation ceremony.
More information can be found at www.fr-ray.org or email [email protected]
All the children will enter regular government schooling in May.
Many proud parents took time off work to attend the ceremony.
Three brothers, identical triplets, don’t look too happy in their graduating gowns.
Two very proud parents of three young brothers.