Take Care of Kids Onlus and Thailand Foundation (TCK) serves a very worthwhile and needed service in Pattaya. At the April 7 meeting of the Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC), Giorgio (Gio) Luicardi from TCK returned to provide an update on their work and how it has been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Gio previously spoke to the Club on July 15, 2018. He spoke about their three main projects: (1) The Foster Home; (2) Providing support to single mothers outside the shelter; and (3) Supporting children and single mothers in slums and construction site camps.
Originally a media journalist in his native Italy, it was never on his mind to open a shelter for abused and deprived children in Thailand, but things took their own direction. In his previous presentation, he mentioned how his meeting Father Ray and helping out with the annual rice collection is when he decided he was not a person who could sit idly by. This is when he felt he had to help in whatever way he could. TCK was created to protect children and in certain cases single mothers with children from violence and various forms of severe abuse and to help them rebuild their lives and a new future. It was in 2013 after fulfilling all the legal Thai requirements, TCK officially opened as a shelter for children. As such, they were only allowed to take children from two and a half years of age and upwards.
His presentation dealt with an overview of TCK. Initially, they had just an office before creating the shelter. In 2016 they moved into their current premises, comprising of two townhouse units with a total of five bedrooms, office, kitchen, four bathrooms and a courtyard. In 2018 they gained recognition as a Foster Home, which allowed them to provide more than just temporary care. He noted that many children are referred without their mothers by local government authorities, police or other foundations. He mentioned that many are referred from local hospitals where mothers have left their newborn children. For children that have been abused, they also have a psychologist to help them.
They also provide support to single mothers outside the Foster Home who stayed with them before they moved out, but still stay in Pattaya. They also support others in the closer neighborhood of the Foster Home who are living in desperate conditions and still have to take care of young children. Many of these are single mothers (some as young as 16 years), abandoned by the father of the children and if they have a job, the salary is very low. They are vulnerable to traffickers and may end up as sex workers. Others may live with parents or grand-parents in desperate conditions with many having experienced domestic violence and have a history of alcohol/drug abuse. TCK staff regularly visits them to help in solving their problems step by step, enroll their children into public schools, and look for jobs for the mothers who do not have one.
In their 3rd project, TCK staff visit slums (mostly Thais) and construction sites (mostly Cambodian and Burmese migrant workers) around Pattaya. These visits are at least once a month to check conditions of single mothers with newborn or very young children and those who ask for help after having heard about TCK. In responding to requests, TCK evaluates who really needs its support, which can take time and patience, but is necessary to ensure the limited resources and capacities are well spent. If serious problems such as abuse, mistreatment, etc., are discovered, TCK reports them to relevant authorities. Anything can happen in the camps, especially after dark and the regular presence and activities of TCK are very important in order to respond to or even to prevent it from happening in the first place. They also provide essential food items, clothes, and in case of emergency (illnesses, abuse, etc.) are ready to respond at any time around the clock.
Gio said that as of now, 82 children and mothers have left the Foster Home and most of them returned to their provinces of origin. Currently, there are seven mothers with a total of ten children who have left the shelter and are still supported mainly with regards to the schooling of the children.
The Covid pandemic has increased many problems they encounter such as poverty, abandonment of minors especially newborn, crimes against children, mental problems including suicide, and the number of homeless families. This has impacted on their resources. Gio also explained that they have lost 80 percent of their revenue because of the inability to organize fundraising events. Even so, they have quadrupled aid to single moms outside their Foster Home since they have had requests for help at least twice its capacity for accommodation. Further, they have distributed ten tons of used clothing and four tons of rice and cooking oil.
In conclusion he explained how his audience can help them to continue their operation through donation of funds, used clothing, rice, and cooking oil.
After the presentations, MC Les Edmonds brought everyone up to date on the latest events. This was followed by Robert Fox conducting the Open Forum where attendees can make comments or ask questions about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya. For more information visit the PCEC’s website at https://pcec.club/. To view the YouTube video of the presentation, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGtzkdingvw. TCK’s website can be visited at: http://www.takecarekids.org/en/home-en/.