Every year on August the twelve, Mother’s Day here in Thailand, I send a large bouquet of flowers to my mother who lives in Wales. My mum is now seventy years of age and although we speak regularly on the phone it is on this special day that I realize just how lucky I have been to have her as my mother.
But there are many children here in Pattaya who are not so lucky and who do not find Mother’s Day a time for celebration. For some children their mother has passed away, others have been abandoned and many have been left in the care of one of the many charitable organizations here in Pattaya as their mother is unable to care for their child.
A little boy from the Children’s Village seems happy in the arms of his mother.
At the Father Ray Children’s Village many of the young children do not remember their natural mother; they only know the lady who currently looks after them, who cooks for them, loves them, scolds them, supports them and who they call mother.
For many of the older children resident at the Father Ray Children’s Home Mother’s Day can be a very emotional time. No matter what their mother has done, or not done for them, she is still their mother.
During the preparations for the Mothers Day ceremony at the Home the children write two Mother’s Day cards; one for their own mother and another for the female worker who takes care of them.
The female workers, teachers, social workers, cooks and housekeepers are all asked to sit on the stage in front of the children. Then the children, each one carrying a single red rose or a jasmine garland present their chosen ‘mother’ with their flowers and cards.
When they children present their flowers they thank the female workers for what they have done for the children. They also apologise if they have done wrong and promise to be better behaved, and there are many tears that flow. At the same time the ‘mothers’ give advice to the children, congratulate them on their good behaviour and give them all a hug.
The children know that these carers, teachers, cooks and nurses are not their real mother, but they call them mother and they have as much respect for them as they would their own mother.
When the children have done well at school they will rush home to show their gold stars or their grades to their carer at the Home. When they have misbehaved they will take the punishment their carer has given them, and even if it means not being allowed to go on a day trip with the other children, or sweeping the leaves for a month or cleaning the pig sty for a week they will still show her the love and respect she deserves.
More information can be found at www.fr-ray.org or email [email protected]
A teacher comforts one of the young girls at the Children’s Home.