A very special family – the Southern Thailand Orphanage

By Judith Schneider

Two weeks ago, just before I left Thailand with a lot of new experiences and unforgettable impressions in my heavy luggage, I had the chance to visit the Southern Thailand Orphanage with who Andaman Discoveries is working together.

This place is located between Phuket and Khao Lak and was developed one year after the tsunami to shelter children in need.

Beside the loss of many people, the Tsunami also unsettled a lot of families who then had to struggle for their survival. Root and Rasa, a lovely couple in their fourties, recognised the need of many innocent children and founded a protected home for them. A place of love, trust and encouragement. Started with 20 children, the orphanage now is home to 26 individuals, some of them siblings between 5 and 17 years who got the wonderfull chance to enter a welcoming home with many new brothers and sisters.

And this is exactly how I felt when I visited this center – it seemed like a big happy family where every single child has found a place to feel loved, comfortable and confident.

The first thing you see when arriving at the orphanage is the sign of their own backery: Especially during the high season, this makes a little income for the foundation and baking a valuable activity for the children to be thaught. Unfortunatly, the bakery was closed when I arrived but I could try their cookies which were so yummy you could taste the love with they where made.

Then, entering the area of 5 small buildings with a big vegetable garden, I felt straight away the peace and calmness of the place – everywhere you see beautiful flowers and paintings and surrounded by the comunity- and sleeping rooms is a little green area with a swing.

The children just came home from school when I arrived and were about to have dinner together in the outside area. Afterwards, each one tidied up their own plate and then run out to go playing with their brothers and sisters.

Later in the evening, routine was to come together in the community room to do their homework and play. This was when I had the chance to interact with the kids and found out how open and happy they are towards the volunteers who come and stay for a couple of weeks so several month. As the foundation doesn’t have a lot of money for employees, it is very important for them, to have volunteers to engage and play with the children.

Before I went to bed, I read the ‘welcoming book’, where the story of each child is written beside their picture. I was very touched to see, how 2 people can change the life so dramatically for all those children and, for a change, fell asleep with the warm feeling of trust in the good of the people.