Thanks, donors! With your help a new home has been built for a severely handicapped adult in a hill tribe in Northern Thailand.
Last month, we appealed to former residents, volunteers, friends and family to donate money to build a home for Naha, a 35-year-old physically and mentally handicapped woman from Cha Derh, a village in the mountains near the Thai/Myanmar border.
Cha Derh has about 80 residents – some of the most disadvantaged people in Thailand. Without means, education or hope, many have turned to drug trafficking and become addicts themselves.
Unable to walk or care for herself Naha has never left her hill-tribe village. Until a few weeks ago, she spent all her time in a tin-roofed 8ft by 6ft wooden shed. She had no furniture and her toilet was a hole in the middle of the shed.
New Lifers donated more than 94,000 Thai baht to help Naha. Now, she has a bright and airy hut with a sturdy concrete foundation and a bamboo floor. The hut’s durable metal roof can withstand the elements and is topped by traditional Thai leaf roofing for insulation, which helps with both the hot and cold weather. Her new house has a bathroom with a shower and a ramp for her donated wheelchair.
The building work on Naha’s new home was carried out by Creating Balance Thailand (CBT), a non-profit organization that works with handicapped people, orphans, and children whose parents cannot adequately care for them.
CBT, founded in 2007 by Ron Gerritts from The Netherlands, hires villagers and parents of handicapped children to carry out the work on construction projects. This provides income for families and also promotes the benefits of a community pulling together to provide for all its members. Ron believes community action is the way forward to help alleviate some of the worst suffering in Thailand.
Not only did Ron’s team build the home for Naha, once a week they visit her to provide her with companionship. While Naha is cared for by her grandmother and mother, the two women had been working construction jobs to provide food for the family, which meant Naha spent her days alone.
That also has changed now. CBT has provided the two women with training in handicrafts. They are now making key chains and bracelets which CBT will sell overseas to help fund their charity. The women receive materials from CBT and an hourly wage for making the goods. The new jobs now give them more time to spend with Naha.
With the wonderful response and generosity of the New Life extended family, it meant that in addition to helping Naha, we were also able to aid another handicapped adult – 42-year-old Gahaa.
When Gahaa was a baby, his father was left to look after him while his mother was out working. However, Gahaa’s dad was a drug addict and found caring for his child difficult. One day he left Gahaa unattended and Gahaa fell into a fire. The accident, and lack of proper treatment afterwards, left Gahaa paralyzed. The only part of his body he can move is his head.
Gahaa now lives with his mother out in the jungle. They have no support from family, neighbors or a village.
The government stipend for handicapped people who cannot work or care for themselves is 500 Baht a month - US$17.37. It is not sufficient to live on so Gahaa’s mother still has to go out to work – she works in the fields to earn money for food. This meant paralyzed Gahaa was left alone each day in their home – a hut without a roof. There, unable to move, he was at the mercy of the elements – the scorching sun of Thailand’s summers and rain or hail during the wet season. He was alone all day without food, water or sanitary help.
With the funds donated, New Life was able to provide Gahaa with a sturdy roof that covers his room and his mother’s outdoor kitchen. He also has been provided with a large water bottle that has a straw attached to it – something so simple yet transformational for Gahaa’s life quality as it means he now has access to drinking water during the day.
Believe it or not, there are still some donated funds left over, so we’re not finished yet. The money will be used for ongoing support and therapy for handicapped people in the region. Naha will receive therapy to help her develop.
We have lots of people to thank for donating money – all our New Life extended family from around the world, the scope of which even surprised us. Bighearted Raul Campos found out about Naha on a former New Life volunteer’s Facebook page and was so moved that he ran a 10km race in Hamburg, Germany to raise money. Welcome to our family Raul!
If you have also been touched by Naha and Gahaa’s plight, you can help us support CBT’s work to help the handicapped in the hill tribe region by making a donation here www.newlifethaifoundation.com/support-us/donations/ donations are made through PayPal in Thai Baht.
If you have organised your own fundraising event – let us know. We would love to hear your story.
To all our wonderful New Life family who have helped so far – thank you again for making a difference. We send our love to you.