A retired American businessman, and a Serbian engineer have joined together to provide children from four of Thailand’s diverse rural hill tribes with a better future through the establishment of a residential village in Phrao, northern Thailand.
The mission statement of the Bridge of Life is quite simple. “We try everyday to make a difference in the lives of children. Our goal is for children to be allowed to be children.We want to preserve this magic time of life”.
“Children of all color, religion, ethnicity – just let kids be kids!”.
Eight years ago, eleven hill tribe villages gathered together and agreed that the only way of a better life for their children was through them being able to receive a formal education.
The villagers belonged to four completely different hill tribe groups – those being Karen ,Akha ,Lisu &Lahu and collectively they decided to send their children to school in Phrao in the hope that this would afford them better chances for the future.
This plan although both very positive & brilliant in it’s approach, was fatally flawed, as the families lived a minimum of six hours away from Phrao which resulted in the children having to stay in the city throughout the nights. They slept rough on the streets, in wastelands, in makeshift bamboo shelters rented by Phrao residents.This unsecured environment was the perfect ground for child traffickers.
It was around this time that Edward Wayne a retired American businessman & Tatjana Trickovic(Tanja) a Serbian Engineer heard of the plight of the hill tribe children.
Having already established a foundation which had completed projects in Serbia, Nepal & a housing project in Khao Lak, Thailand for tsunami orphans, the couple decided to get involved & immediately took the fate of the hill tribe children to heart and decided to build a self-contained village.
The village includes dormitories, computer room and library, a kitchen in which they can cook dinner and bake cakes, a dining hall, and a sports field.
A fish pond to aid sustainability is planned for construction later in 2009.
The children will certainly find a real improvement to their previous conditions!.
One hundred days after first breaking soil, the Hill Tribe Children’s Village of San Hog Far was born.
The village will cater for 40 boys and 40 girls from 6 to 16 years of age, as well as 3 couples from the villages who will look after the children.
The selection of the children is made by the villages’ councils – the ones who lived the farthest away first, and then the ones who show the most motivation for education.
Each dorm of 20 will form a team, choose a colour and war cry, and will compete with other dorms in friendly games. The parents will cook breakfastand dinner at the village but lunch will be taken at school, which is a 15-minute ride away in the village’s two trucks.
Far from the missionary pressures that permeate many other hill tribe projects, Ed and Tanja decided early on that religious educationand activities would not be required at the village.
To keep the children entertained in the evenings, the assistant project manager, Pairoj Topa better known to everyone as Tom, will be present for a minimum of three days per week to teach English, organize games and other fun activities for the children.
Tom is also responsible to ensure that village life goes smoothly and according to Ed & Tanja’s plan during the first six month period.
The key point to understand about this village project is that Ed & Tanja, through their foundation are providing all the funding to build the facilities for the children to live, study, play AND receive a free education SAFELY!.
These children will, however, need more external help in providing food,school supplies and daily needs.
It is estimated that the financial costs for 80 children and 6 adults will be around 100,000 thai baht per month(around US$3,000 or £1,800).
This will cover food, electricity and water, fuel for the two trucks and all other necessities.
This is where you step up to the mark!, just as Ed & Tanja committed themselves to build the village, they now need YOUR SUPPORT to ensure that the essential running costs of this fantastic venture are covered to ensure that the children get the very best education & start in life possible.
Whether you want to physically teach computer sciences or English, play with the kids or just bake cakes with them in their brand new kitchen, all these things would be highly appreciated.
If actually getting involved is not feasible for you, please consider a small donation, giving just a few dollars to the project will give the children a real chance of success.
Please click here for more information on this & other projects involving The Bridge of Life.
Financial donations can be arranged by simply contacting either Ed or Tanja by email at [email protected]
Visit Chiang Mai Online are proud to be able to assist the Bridge of Life, ALL contacts received at our website will be immediately forwarded to Edward, Tanja & Tom.