Roy Albiston, Pattaya City Expats Club’s chairman and this Sunday’s, MC had the privilege of introducing Margie Grainger’s slum kids all decked out in holiday garb to sing and dance the hearts away from their audience at the Sunday, November 25, meeting. In what was a first for the Hand to Hand Foundation and the PCEC, twenty plus children from the slums came and performed a Christmas program, with Christmas carols (in Thai and English) and some dances. The performers ranged in age from 3 to 14 years.
The older kids started with two dance routines, one jingle bells and another more up-tempo number backed by a dance video. The kids mimicked the moves from the dance video and did mighty well at it at that. All were enthusiastic which enthralled their audience.
The youngest members of the troupe were then added to the mix and sang several songs including two never sung in public, ‘twinkle twinkle Christmas star’ and an adorable rendition of ‘10 white snow men’ sung to the familiar tune of bottles of beer on the wall. Each wore a white “snowman” mask. As they counted down from 10, each masked child snowman pretended they had “to go” really bad and promptly exited the stage. What a delightful number and audience favorite!
The highlight of the performance came when Member Ren Lexander, who is also the PCEC’s Program Scheduler, told the story about an original song he wrote and then performed with 3 of the youngest performers, one of which was deaf. The song ‘I have a dream’ was inspired by two factors…Martin Luther King’s famous speech and the realization that deaf children without training live in a wordless and therefore dreamless world. Emotional as he told the story of his inspiration, Ren’s singing draped with the little girls was a show stopper.
After the children’s performance, which was rousingly received, Margie Grainger gave a recap of her story on how she came to create the Hand to Hand Foundation and its current activities; sincerely thanking the PCEC for past support. She was especially proud of the construction of an 8-unit apartment building now being completed with one of the units set aside for abused women counseling. Families have already moved in, taking them out of the slums and off the streets.
The Hand to Hand Foundation – among its many activities – runs a pre-school and a Saturday Kids Club for the children from the slums of Pattaya. Margie is the founder and vice-president of the Foundation and she is responsible for overseeing all projects. She is also the international liaison and sponsorship coordinator. She teaches English at the pre-school and is also part of the prison ministry team. If you meet Margie you will know of her huge heart and love for the poor and underprivileged in Pattaya; she loves to have fun and encourages others too!
She ended by saying that anything you can donate, from clothes to utensils, can and will be used in furthering the Hand to Hand Foundation’s activities. She said they are always looking for second hand clothing, household supplies and toys, or anything else that you might have around the house that you no longer need. Further, they accept items regardless of their condition as everything can be used at either the preschool, slum or prison. In this regard, she told the story of one friend who tried for a year to give things that she told Margie she would not be able to find a use for. After many attempts, with Margie always finding a use, she finally gave up. So, Margie’s message is, if you don’t need it, donate it. She mentioned they do have some drop off locations in addition to their location.
After the presentations, MC Roy Albiston brought everyone up to date on upcoming events and then turned it over to the Open Forum portion of the meeting where questions are asked and answered and comments made about Expat living in Thailand, Pattaya in particular. For more information about the PCEC and their activities, visit www.pcec.club . Also, a special Thank You to the Holiday Inn for providing a complimentary breakfast for the children, which obviously they enjoyed.
Member Ren Lexander interviewed Margie Grainger about the Hand to Hand Foundation after the presentation to the PCEC. To view the video, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfdsd9tvDRA&t=3s.