Regents School Pattaya has just finished hosting the 2010 Round Square International conference, where it welcomed over 800 delegates from 23 different countries. The conference theme, “We Walk Together,” encapsulated the aims of the week-long event, which were to engage with local projects and to build long lasting community partnerships.
The Regent’s School wanted to challenge every delegate to leave their comfort zone and to make connections with both Thai residents and delegates from around the world. This engagement allowed the delegates to see some of the challenges that exist in Thailand, and showed them what steps can be taken to support our communities.
The service day projects were allocated to every delegate before arrival at the conference. These projects were with community partners of the Regent’s School Pattaya who have worked with the students and staff at the school for many years. Many of the community partners were also present throughout the week of the conference, running both stalls and exhibitions for the delegates.
The Rayong Bakery
Delegates being shown how to make cakes at the Rayong bakery.
The Rayong Bakery, a joint venture between the Rayong Child and Youth Training Center (a remand center for young female offenders), Pattaya International Ladies Club and Rayong Ladies Circle, was excited to be included in the recent Regents Round Square conference and hosted 25 delegates at their site on Monday and Wednesday.
Approximately 20 girls within the training center have earned the privilege of cooking in the bakery. Under the guidance of a Thai supervisor and a PILC representative the girls learn many new skills which include training in preparation of bakery goods, hygiene, presentation, and packaging.
Profits from the sale of bakery items go towards buying ingredients, kitchen upgrading, projects at the center such as renovating the girls’ bathroom, regular sessions with a Thai nurse for health issues and a small percentage goes to the girls themselves.
Molly Clarkson and the Rayong bakery girls.
It was quite exciting for the bakery girls to have visitors and make new friends from all around the world. Each delegate introduced themselves and identified where their home was located on the map and globe before taking a tour of the girls’ living quarters, canteen, and bakery space.
The delegates were divided between three work spaces – baking, basket weaving and origami, with about 1 1/2 hours spent at each station. With assistance and instruction from residents, each delegate was sent home with a lovely hand-made basket and colorful hanging work of origami along with a tasty treat.
Despite the warm cooking conditions in the bakery each group of the delegates tried their hands at many of the bakery’s recipes. Producing some delicious brownies, cinnamon rolls, quiches, carrot cake, coconut/pineapple chess pie, grissini and elephant shortbread cookies that were sold at the conference on Tuesday and Thursday.
It was very encouraging to watch so many young ladies from such different cultures, varied languages, and backgrounds, donning aprons and hair coverings, baking and cooking together without any barriers, producing such a yummy product but more important fostering the realization that they really aren’t that different from each other after all!
We bake together at the Rayong bakery.
“Our Home” Quilting
Delegates putting their sewing skills into action at the Our Home quilting.
Our Home quilting ladies showing a delegate sewing techniques.
“Our Home” Quilting project takes care of girls who come from all over Thailand. Some of them have not known a home of their own. They live in a family-like atmosphere and learn, except from quilting, social skills and participate in all aspects of family life. They refuse to ask for money, they earn it working hard. Each girl has her own bank account and is encouraged to save for her future.
Making quilts has been an ongoing experience for Khun Tiew (the founder of “Our Home”) and the girls. Customers have a choice in every detail of their quilt and the quilts are of the highest standard now. The girls are proud of their work.
We quilt together at Our Home.
The delegates of the Round Square Conference who visited the project had an opportunity to learn the skill of quilt making from the very beginning and participate in the life at “Our Home”. They interacted with the girls who were very proud to have a chance to pass their skills to the visitors. Each visitor made, applying their newly learned skills, their own souvenir to take home. Altogether it was a rewarding experience for the visitors, some of whom decided to cooperate with “Our Home” in the future.
The Blind School
The Redemptorist School for the Blind students take RS conference delegates for a walk with blindfolds and walking sticks.
Delegates were given the task of learning / reading Braille.
This school was opened by Father Ray in the late 1980’s, moving to the current site in 1991; the school caters for children from 3 to 20 and incorporates a vocational Center. The children have a range of visual needs; some being partially sighted, others being completely blind, all children board in term time and come from all over the country.
The Service Days were organized by Regent’s teachers Karyn Walton and Ros McConnell; however, the Blind School very kindly did most of the work! The service days were fun filled with delegates experiencing a number of activities led by the students from the Blind School; learning to read and write Braille, bead-making, mobility and life-skills.
One head-teacher was so moved by the experience she said, “I’m going straight home to start fund raising, it won’t be much but I can see every little bit counts.”
One student stated, “I want to allow other children at our school to experience being blind-folded and learning how to move around and make drinks. Now we truly understand how blind people adjust to their world and become active members of their community and future members of a workforce.”
Thanks were given to the Blind School staff who made it all possible, particularly Head Teacher Aurora and Miki. The biggest thanks were given to the amazing children from the Blind School and Round Square delegates.
We walk together with the Redemptorist School for the Blind.
A royal visit and welcome at the Pattaya Orphanage.
In 1972, Fr. Raymond Allyn Brennan, a Catholic priest living and working in St Nikolaus parish, Pattaya, one morning opened his church door and there he saw a newborn baby abandoned. Not knowing what to do, he took care of the child, asking his friends “how to give milk and how to change the diaper.” News about the fostering of the child spread, resulting in more children being brought to him whose families were in desperate need. This resulted in the opening of the Pattaya Orphanage.
The orphanage’s aims are to provide help to orphans by accepting to bring them up and provide a home, food and education. When the orphanage accepts a child the orphanage is their home until they have finished education. If a child is capable of going onto university education, then the orphanage supports them and is their home until they have received their degree and have a job and home.
HRH Princess Theodora at the Pattaya Orphanage.
The delegates’ time at the orphanage was spent playing with the babies and toddlers. Everyone loved this time as the children, particularly the toddlers, were jumping on everyone wanting to play. They also spent time singing nursery rhymes and games with the pre-school and primary children. Everyone had such a wonderful time being with the little children, the children were so tactile and the delegate’s hearts were soon melted and everyone was having lots of fun.
Lunch was had in the canteen with all the children and many of the delegates helped giving out the food to the children. The afternoon was spent with the male delegates playing football in the very hot weather and everyone else making cards to give to the children, and for the children to give to the delegates. The cards were fantastic and everyone went home with a memento.
On the bus on the way home everyone was very tired but had a fantastic day with many memories and friendships which will live on for years to come. Some of the delegates had thought they were going to these orphans to help them and make their day better, only afterwards did the delegates realize that it was them who were changed; these children changed the delegate’s lives. The children welcomed them into their home and showed them the simple fun things in life, being together. For many of the delegates this is only the beginning of their journey with Pattaya Orphanage.
All fun and games at the Pattaya Orphanage.
Fountain of Life Children’s Center
Fountain of life children making krathongs with delegates.
We smile together.
This center is a place where disadvantaged children can experience the joys of childhood in a safe, caring and calm environment. The 2 service days were organized by Regent’s parent Marloes de Saegher and the aim was to bring smiles on the faces of these children by interacting with them during workshops and a bowling event.
27 children of the Fountain of Life went bowling on both days. The delegates helped them throw the heavy balls and when they succeeded to get the pins down a bigger smile appeared on their faces.
One of the delegates who went on Monday asked the coordinator if he could come again on the Wednesday as he had such a great time!
For all delegates it was a special, fun and memorable day but more importantly it was an unforgettable day for the children of the Fountain of Life.
We walk together with the Fountain of life children’s center.
The Camillian Center, Rayong
A warm musical welcome for the RS delegates to the Camillian Social Center.
The Center accommodates approximately 90 young people plus a number of older individuals living with the HIV virus. The Round Square service day visitors were given an informative introductory presentation describing the history and work of the Center by senior volunteer, Paul Baird. This was followed by an extensive tour of the facilities, including the palliative care ward which accommodates up to 20 terminally-ill patients.
Coloring and playtime with the children at the Camillian Social Center.
Mr Baird indicated that, as well as looking after the residents, much of the work is focused on education about the virus and ways of preventing its spread. “In general, survival rates have been much improved by the increased availability of anti-retroviral drugs supplied by the government.” The Rayong Center includes dormitories, a physical rehabilitation room, administrative offices, lecture rooms, a library, chapel and large canteen.
There was ample opportunity for the visiting Round Square delegates to interact with the young people with such activities as teaching English, drawing, Christmas card making, nail painting and card games.
After a delicious lunch, generously provided by the Center, the delegates were taken to visit the Independent Living Center, one of two adjacent facilities – the other being the Garden of Eden, about 20 miles to the north of Rayong. The aim here is to teach independent living skills to the 40 teenage residents to prepare for their later lives in the community outside the Center.
The young people enjoyed playing football with the delegates as well as snooker. Their resident rock band, The Coffee Club, proudly played and all enjoyed the fun karaoke session that followed.
Altogether it was a rewarding and fun day for all the participants, one of whom commented that she was very impressed with every aspect of the Camillian Center’s activities and was committed to ensuring this information was shared with her local school community back in Australia.
The new website of the Camillian Center can be found at www.hiv-aids-kids.org
We walk together with the Camillian Social Center in Rayong.