Peace and Good wishes for Christmas and the New Year
We send great thanks to all our kind donors who support Mercy Centre so generously.
Keep in touch with us and come and visit, either in London or Bangkok.
With love and thanks from Mercy Centre UK's Trustees and helpers.
Mercy Centre World of Music
Last Hollowe'en saw us holding a very special fundraising concert in the crypt of St Peter's Church in de Beauvoir, north London. Music plays a large part in the life of everyone at the Mercy Centre in Bangkok, so we used the event to play some videos of the children singing and playing intruments. But we were also very privileged to have two eminent Prague musicians, Libor Nováček (piano) and Petr Nouzovský (cello), play for us. They generously brought us a selection from their latest touring repertoire which included work by Janáček and Martinů.
(photo: Martha McAlpine)
During the interval, Ratana Chanto and Usanee Jangeon from the Mercy Centre in Bangkok served up delicious Thai coconut soup, stir-fried chicken with ginger, vegetarian green curry, Thai-style fried eggs with spring onions and stir-fried vegetables.
The concert was also due to feature a well-known local choir, but other commitments meant they were finally unable to join us. As it turned out, we had enough talent attending the event, so we turned to these generous and talented special friends of Mercy to provide entertainment for the second half:
By any standards they were remarkable, and brought the house down, putting everyone into a generous mood for the final auction of promises.
We raised over GBP 2,000, and went home grateful for and inspired by the great generosity of our supporters, old and new, of the work carried out at the Mercy Centre in Klong Toey.
Beach Party 2015
At the end of September, Mercy Centre UK Trustee Denise Gray spent a weekend with the young people from The Little Birds group, as well as our good friends Usanee and Moe, along with some of our lovely house Mums and a few of the younger Mercy children.
They had an action packed trip to the beach in Chonburi, staying in a big house on the shore, swimming, eating, playing football, team games and, probably most important, chatting with the friends they grew up with, but don't see as much now that they have moved on from the Mercy Centre.
Teenagers are the same the world over, and it's important for them to be a part of a group, to share their experiences and challenges. And it is especially so for our teens who have to deal with the added challenge of having HIV.
During the weekend they also spent several hours at the Art in 3D centre in Pattaya. Artists have created a building full of realistic paintings on the walls and floors that provide a lot of optical illusions. The youngsters (and adults) loved the photo opportunities they provided. It will be an everlasting memory for everyone.
Then it was back to the Mercy Centre in Bangkok to visit some of their wonderful children, and see how they had grown since last year. It was heart warming to see how healthy and happy they all were in the haven provided by Father Joe.
Surrey school's literary success
The children, staff and parents of Danes Hill School in Surrey, about 20 miles southwest of central London, recently held a Charities Day and Readathon, raising the magnificent sum of £8,105 to help the children at the Mercy Centre in Bangkok.
The Charities Day was a huge success with the children setting up and managing a number of fundraising ventures – including cupcake decorating stalls, movie venues, hair styling salons, a pizza stall and tombola.
The Readathon, an event run by the school's Senior Librarian in which the children are sponsored to read, was a similarly big success. Staff say the children’s enthusiasm for reading for a good cause was a joy to see. One Year 7 pupil said, “It is a great way to raise money for charity as I love reading".
Year 8 Charities Prefect Toby Hanley hands over their cheque to School Governor Mrs Rosie Wood (Photo: Claire Walsh)
An important project their contribution is supporting is the English teaching programme in Bangkok founded by long-term Mercy supporter Alf Collett. Alf describes himself as an educator, musician and humanitarian; he's a UK qualified primary school teacher, and has been teaching for over 16 years, during the last decade in Bangkok.
Alf has now stepped away from the classroom in order to manage and inspire others to become involved in the language programme for the Mercy Centre funded kindergarten schools.
Volunteer teachers are now providing English lessons for as many as 300 children – those who live at the Centre in Klong Toey, and those who attend 11 pre-schools. The children have 4 half-hour lessons each week and are learning fast. Their futures will be transformed by an ability to speak the ‘universal’ language of English; it will enable them to progress in education, and multiply their chances of good employment later on. The goal is to provide English teaching for all Mercy children – a goal which is much closer now with the wonderful donation from Danes Hill.
Father Joe has sent a message to everyone involved saying, “You are absolutely AWESOME!” – which they certainly are.
Bangkok's Janusz Korczak School
The Janusz Korczak International School is one of the many ventures of the Human Development Foundation established by Fr Joe Maier and Sister Maria Chantavaradom in the Klong Toey slums of Bangkok.
On 14th January 2015, Mercy Centre UK Trustee Louanne Richards visited this small school, developed in memory of the progressive educationalist Janusz Korczak, to meet the children, all of whom have special needs.
Paediatrician and writer Janusz Korczak was born in Warsaw in 1874. He believed children could structure their own worlds and become experts for themselves. He built his first Jewish orphanage in 1912.
During the year following Germany's occupation of Poland in 1939, the school was moved into the Nazi-established Jewish enclave, the Warsaw Ghetto. Korczak received many offers of help to escape, but he refused them all because he did not want to abandon the children. In August 1942 he, and around 200 children and a dozen school staff, were deported to Treblinka concentration camp. It's believed he and the children went to their deaths by gas chamber soon after they arrived.
Korczak's courage and unwavering commitment to the children in his care inspires the work at the school in Bangkok. His book Ghetto Diary describes his undiminished sense of responsibility to the children, despite starvation and other privations they suffered.
Khun Branee, the head of the Janusz Korczak school, seen here with one of her helpers.
A portrait of Korczak is on the wall behind them.
Thanks to the great generosity of our many Mercy Centre UK friends, Louanne was able to take a large number of Go To School gift items: pens, crayons and other school equipment, together with cash amounting to 11,700 baht (£255).
Louanne Richards (right), with the children holding their ‘Go to School’ gifts.
Mercy Centre UK is a charity set up to support the work of the Mercy Centre in Thailand. Mercy Centre UK is inspired by the dedicated and highly professional team of carers at the Mercy Centre in Bangkok who do invaluable work for abandoned and vulnerable children; who respond to every emergency within the slum communities; offer shelter, protection & loving care to street kids & orphans and especially to children & adults dying from AIDS.
Mercy Centre UK is the 'helping hand' in Europe for this remarkable organisation, which supports the rights of the communities living in the poorest areas of Bangkok. We raise funds for specifically chosen projects, which run alongside the work of the Mercy Centre in Thailand. We provide assistance for initiatives that empower those who are working in the field, and that support the physical and spiritual well-being of the children, enabling them to achieve a meaningful place in life. We also raise awareness, in the UK and Europe, of the heart-felt impulse that inspires all the work of the Mercy Centre with the poor.