Father Joe wins Award

Father Joe Receives Honour

On January 26, 2012, The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of Thailand gave recognition to Fr. Joe and six other fighters for equality at its annual awards ceremony, held  in Bangkok. The award recognizes national heroes who have the courage to stand up and fight for the rights of those who cannot fight for themselves.

In accepting his award, Fr. Joe spoke of what such recognition means: “This award,” he said, “is not about yesterday. It is about tomorrow. It means that you trust us to continue to do what is universally right. It gives us strength and courage to continue our struggles. It is a promise on our part – a promise to help defend the rights of street children and to make every effort to help every poor child and street kid in need, and to send them all to school.” Father Joe continued, “Finally, this award recognizes that we are not alone in our struggles. It honors everyone who works and lives at our Mercy Centre. It is recognition that our teachers and social workers at Mercy Centre are the real heroes to all the throw-away children who live on the streets.”

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Fr. Joe with fellow award recipient Patimoh Poh-I-Taeda-Oh of the Yala-based WePeace Group.

Fr. Joe was the sole foreigner honored at the annual ceremony.  Previously, he has received several lifetime achievement awards, most notably, in 2004, when Her Majesty the Queen of Thailand presented a lifetime achievement award to Fr. Joe as the foreign resident  “who has contributed the most to the promotion of the status and protection of women and children in Thailand.”

Flood Update 22nd Nov

UPDATE - Bangkok Floods

Message from Father Joe - 22nd Nov

Please click here to watch a YouTube video of Father Joe in Bangkok talking about the flood relief efforts.

It's 22 November 2011 in Bangkok. Day 26 since our first slum kindergarten flooded - a total of eight went under water.  In three slums, the water came up in an hour.  Water to the ceiling. The children are safe, everything was soaked.  In my letter of a couple weeks ago, I said 10 schools were going under water.  I believed 'the T.V. weather guru'.. but in truth only eight flooded and 750 children lost their schools, most of them lost  their homes also.   Our other 14 schools are in slums on dry ground, and school is back in session as normal.

As I write this today, some of the waters have gone down some. Our shack'school buildings are a mess, but we have patched and scrubbed and cleaned to get them functional, at least temporarily to get the kids back in school.  Future repairs will be a head-ache, but I don't even want to think about that right now.

The slum peoples have all helped.  Most important, re-wired the buildings since the electrical outlets were flooded, rusted and dangerous as can be - for shorting out and electrocuting people.  We got the toilets working - bought new kitchen equipment, brought in clean drinking water. Books and pencils etc etc etc.  Eighteen of our teachers (whose homes have been totally flooded also)  have moved into the schools, as they have no where else to go. We have bought mosquito nets, sleeping equipment,  refrigerator, fans, - a small old fashioned clothes  washing & dryer to make their lives as comfortable as possible....under the circumstances.  Got them new mobile phones, as most of them had lost their phones in the floods. We have resumed class (after a fashion) in five slums. Of the 550 slum children who usually attend these five kindergartens shack/schools, 250 are back in class. The other children are still literally "Up country in the Rural Provinces" staying with their grand parents - for safety. They are slowly returning to Bangkok.

Three other slums, where we have schools, according to the Weather man.. it will take another 45 days for the waters to go down.  Two hundred children attend these schools. We are trying to do what we can to begin school as soon as possible. We did some 'horse trading' with the marine police who received 750 small plastic boats from the Government of China (the boats hold a maximum of 8 children) - the police let us use two boats and small putt-putt motors   So the teachers, somewhat captive in their flooded schools have freedom to travel in the boats - also if one of the children get sick, etc, they have transportation.  We have been lucky thus far, only two children and one teacher have been bitten by creepy-crawlies. Nothing serious, but they have had to  'shoo  shoo away a few snakes, also looking for a dry place to live!!!
So in conclusion - we're doing our best. Some of the children are back in school.  That is so vital. Our teachers are real heroes - beyond belief, living, in difficult circumstances!


Cycle Challenge Completed

Congratulations to Kevin Fitzgerald who has recently finished an amazing cycle challenge to raise funds for Mercy Centre UK. He completed the whole Pyrenean section of the Tour de France (and a couple of extra climbs), with 39000 ft of ascending. What a fantastic achievement!


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Update - Bangkok Floods

UPDATE - Bangkok Floods

Message from Usanee Janngeon (Executive Director of Mercy Centre, Bangkok)


"We are still dry here but the water creeps closer every day and some of the schools and our staff have been affected. The main work will come when the floods start to recede.  Some people have lost everything and the floods waters are now so dirty picking up everything as it sweeps along. There are also the potential health risks from the flood water, disease, mosquitoes, other wild life and of course electricity and water do not mix."

If you would like to give a donation to help staff at the Mercy Centre in Bangkok with the efforts in dealing with the aftermath of the floods please follow the 'Donate Today' link on the left.

Coming to a cinema near you...

Life in a Day is a groundbreaking, feature-length documentary created from 4,500 hours of footage from 192 countries — all shot on July 24, 2010 — from producer Ridley Scott and Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald. Th is extraordinary film portrays this kaleidoscope of images we call life and is being shown at VUE cinemas from Friday 17th June.

Mercy Centre UK will automatically recieve 25% of all ticket sales purchased through our 'Micro Mogul' site click here to go there!

Click here to view the trailer. Enjoy the film!

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Photos from Bangkok

mcphotosGet a glimpse of special events and everyday life at the Mercy Centre Klong Toey in these photo galleries.