According to UNICEF, “the benefits of economic progress have not been shared by all children in Thailand. This is particularly true for the children of ethnic minorities, migrants, refugees and the very poor. These children are still denied many of their basic rights to survival, protection and development.” Amongst the challenges faced by these children are poverty, marginalisation, lack of birth registration, child labour, vulnerability to trafficking and other forms of exploitation, lack of access to education, basic health care, and adequate nutrition.
The Pistorio Foundation is convinced that providing access to education up to at least professional school is key to prevention of trafficking and other forms of exploitation for underprivileged children and adolescents at risk. Education is the best way to empower children and youth and make them less vulnerable to the tragedy of trafficking. In addition, education is the best way to break the families’ cycle of poverty and lift the present generation out of poverty.
Our Holistic Village Model Approach
Village by village, the Foundation ensures that children are given access to school either by providing transportation to the nearest public school or by building school infrastructure in the most remote villages. Kitchens and canteens are also built at the school premises to ensure that the children receive one meal per day at school. Where needed, we build Clean Water Systems for the school and village. In one village we have developed a School Farm which has provided the school with all the needs in vegetable crops and fruits. We are developing this also in another village and wish to expand this to all the villages. Where we have built a school, we also build school dormitories for neighbouring village children and teacher accommodations.
Schools are run by the Thai government who also provides and pays for the teachers. In two primary schools we have also built libraries and computer facilities. In addition, the Foundation renovates village preschools, adding sanitation facilities and kitchens and canteens to preschools and we also build school playgrounds. Finally, we wish to promote agriculture and income generation programs for the poorest families in the villages. The long-term aim is to create strong, self sufficient village communities. We only work with communities that demonstrate motivation and cooperation. In our construction works, villagers provide labour, which also enables them to learn new construction skills, and the women provide meals for workers.
The villagers are also involved in levelling and preparing the land for construction and in the maintenance of school buildings. We regularly visit villages and schools throughout the year to oversee the progress of children at school.
Our Results and Impact
Direct Children Beneficiaries: 2,087
Our programs and results are as follows:
Scholarship Program – over 1,800 underprivileged children from Kindergarten to Professional School from 16 villages on scholarship which includes shoes, uniforms, backpacks, school supplies, toothbrushes, soap, towel, transport to school, medical check ups, one meal in school, teacher salaries when necessary;
Preschool Program – providing uniforms, carrier, toothbrushes, soap, towel, school supplies, and teacher salary when necessary, to 170 preschool children;
Infrastructure Program – 26 projects completed including two primary schools, three kindergartens, seven dormitories, two libraries, two computer rooms, five preschool renovations, and numerous school playgrounds
Mobile Clinic Program – in partnership with the Camillian Hospital, we provide health screening for common ailments, informative leaflets, and medical supplies to each village we support at least once a year;
Water System Program – we will have completed 3 Water Systems for villagers by the end of 2012
Agriculture and Income Generation Program – we teach students and villagers to cultivate the land for their own consumption and needs of the school. By the year end we will have completed two school farms. We have funded on income generation program for coffee plantations and will be launching in 2013 a pilot program for other income generation activities that match the villagers’ desires and available resources
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