(From an email sent by Fred on Tuesday, January 21, 2014)
On my last trip home the fundraising was very successful, and with help from supporters in Thailand and other countries I have the confidence to go forward with programs on a longer-term basis.
We have put a new roof on the community center and secured the emergency food program. And although everything is important, I think one of the best investments is getting children into English lessons which take place two hours on both Saturday and Sunday. That only costs $15 for the weekend. Each week we notice a huge improvement in the children’s skills, as well as growth in the relationships between the children as they work together becoming friends and each others support. Also, an English woman named Mel comes once or twice a week in the evenings to work with them on their English. We supply all their school needs and treat them to special activities afterward, such as a meal and perhaps a bit of shopping. Since this has started, other children and their parents are expressing an interest in English lessons, so this can only grow.
As ours efforts have improved so many things at the dump, other agencies are now coming to Eyes to Burma for advice since they see the success and know we have a method which IS making a real difference. So this year we know we are going to build on the education in addition to all our other efforts to date. The goal really will be to try and break the cycle where there is another lost generation who only have a prospect of working in the dump. I really do believe this is achievable.
The Circus and Fire Show is coming again this weekend for another exciting show for everyone. It was a huge success last year, and the entire community turned out in their Sunday best to be part of the fun. The Circus also leaves a whole kit of circus items like balls, hoops, etc. for the kids to enjoy and play with after they have gone.
A few days ago, a dump community group identified a need for a new water tank where water access was quite a long walk away. We met and agreed on a location and we are working on that today.
We are already buying roofing material in preparation for the rainy season.
So I am happy to say things are going very well this year with improvements in health, housing and morale. On the whole, the people at the dump and I are all working as a team. And this is only January!
Thanks again to everyone at home. Hope you are all well as I think of you often. Happy Chinese New Year,