Pattaya is a popular destination for many children who run away from home, all hoping to find a better life for themselves. Unfortunately, the streets of Pattaya are not paved with gold, and for many children who come to Pattaya, the reality is that they are in danger of having to beg, steal or prostitute themselves just to make enough money to eat.
Located several kilometers from the city center, the Father Ray Children’s Home provides a safe haven to former street kids and children who have lived a life of poverty, neglect and abuse.
No longer do these children have to go to sleep feeling hungry; no longer will anyone beat them, sexually abuse them or tell them they are worthless.
They arrive with stories of past lives where they had just enough food to survive, were beaten until they bled and forced into activities were their bodies were abused.
They live with other children and teenagers from similar backgrounds, and with the support of social workers and teaching staff, they have the opportunity to return to education and grow into decent young adults who contribute to society.
Many new arrivals at the Home will insist that they do not wish to return to school. Many have missed several years of schooling, and will have to return to the class they last attended.
For those residents who, for whatever reason, are unable to attend regular schooling, non-formal classes are held where the student can complete their education either at the Children’s Home or at classes on Saturday.
All children at the Home are treated as individuals. We know that not every child has the ability to enter the university, but for those who do, we encourage them in their studies and cover the costs until they graduate
For many children from poor families, or former street kids, proper health care has never been available.
Upon arrival at the Children’s Home all children visit our nurse who gives them a general health check.
In many cases we do not know where the new arrivals come from, what their state of health is or if they are suffering from a disease that can be passed on to others.
Within his or her first week of living at our Home each child will visit a local hospital where they receive a full medical checkup. They receive an x-ray to check for tuberculosis, pneumonia and other infections. Blood samples are also taken to rule out any sexually transmitted diseases. They also visit the optician and the dentist.
Many boys arrive at the Children’s Home with behavioral problems. They are used to fighting for what they want, and many will beat the other children to demonstrate their own strength. We therefore encourage the boys to attend the Muay Thai classes, the traditional martial art of Thai boxing. Here the boys learn discipline. They learn to respect their teacher and respect themselves. We have found that boys who train in Muay Thai are less likely to go looking for trouble, have respect for others and do better at their school work.
Each evening after school has finished for the day the children have a variety of sports to choose from. Whilst the boys will play ta-kraw and football, the girls can play basketball, volleyball and there are also traditional Thai dance classes.
The children are also encouraged to get involved with the food production facilities at the Home. Mushroom houses, vegetable and fruit gardens, fish ponds, chicken pens and a pig sty are all taken care of by the children.
Cooking classes are scheduled each weekend, and the children are taken to the local food markets where they are taught to seek the best and freshest ingredients available. They are learning where the food they eat comes from and how to eat healthy. They also get to eat what they cook.
All children who attend school must have a regulation haircut. The boys’ hair must be very short while the girls’ hair must not come below the collar. The Home has its own salon where the children learn the basic skills of hairdressing.
The Father Ray Foundation cannot change what has happened to a child in the past, but its aim is to provide the best possible care to each and every child who arrives at the Father Ray Children’s Home. Each child is an individual; no two children are the same; they have their own needs and we provide each and every boy and girl with what they need to grow into adulthood.