New walking bridge [28.Dec.2006]
The walking bridge which joins the new Daycare and Infant Orphanage is nearly complete. The bridge will make it easy for the older children to drop their younger brothers and sisters off at the daycare before they head off to school. The location of the school is just 100 meters from the new site. The plans have been sent to Thailand and a local engineer will complete the drawings after which we can obtain the permits and approvals necessary to commence with construction. We hope that construction can start in the next month or so. The first stage should be complete by April 1.
Amazing response for our Feb. work trip [16.Dec.2006]
We have had an amazing response for our Feb. 2007 work trip. A total of 15 people will be joining us for another opportunity to help the migrants along the border region. The work tour will leave for Bangkok on Feb. 8th and returning on Feb. 22. We will be building desks and helping out at some of the small migrant schools. We are in the process of collecting kids clothes and school supplies to distribute in the migrant villages as well as at the refugee camp. We are also hoping that construction will be underway for the new daycare center by the time we arrive. Some of the men hope to help on the construction site. We will keep you posted as the departure date gets closer.
Day Three in Mae Sot [15.Nov.2006]
After taking the second group of girls out for breakfast, we started loadingdesks for an early morning delivery. Villagers soon gathered to see the new improvements to their school. We also purchase text books for the 30 kids at a of costs about $1.20 for a set of four text books. We bought a plastic cabinet so the books would stay dry. After the village leader arrived we asked if they could build a Bamboo floor if we provided the materials. They were more than happy to do this for us. The cost of the floor was about $140.00 Cdn. This will make a huge difference in the conditions at the school. Scott and Tyler built another 17 desks today which will be delivered to another school in the morning. The bed frames are painted and will be ready for decks in the morning. Hopefully the balance of the materials to complete the beds will arrive in the morning.
End of Nov. 2006 work Trip [21.Nov.2006]
Our Nov. 2006 work trip is winding down. In the past few days we have visited Umphium Refugee Camp as well as Mae La Oo. Before our trip into the camps we finished our work in Mae Sot. Over 30 desks were built for a small migrant school by Scott and Tyler. Check the gallery for pictures. They also built a wall unit for the orphanage. We will be adding another 27 beds so that the last of the kids can move into the new dorms. A local migrant shop will be completing the welding over the next few weeks. All the bed decks are ready for installation. On Thursday the kids put on a talent show for us. What a transformation over the last 2 years. The older children have grown into young men and women. They love singing an playing instruments. They had a band competition; the winners preformed their favorite songs followed by a Karen fashion show. We were told that 10 migrant families will have to move by the end of November. We will have them stay on our land until they find a more suitable place to stay. We will also help them by supplying some new Bamboo materials for them. We hired a local migrant contractor to build a walking bridge to our new property. He got started on Nov. 20. The entire fill is in place and a new driveway has been built. We will be finalizing our building plans over the next month.
Nov. 06 Work Trip [14.Nov.2006]
After the first day of organizing materials and scheduling meetings, day two went well. Scott and Tyler built desks from the scrap material left over from our March trip. These new desks will be going to a small migrant school on the outskirts of Mae Sot. They currently have a dirt floor which is still wet from the rainy season. The desks will provide a dry place to sit while they do their school work. The desks will be delivered and we will provide the paint. The students and parents will enjoy putting on the final touches. The land title for the new property was transfered today. It is very different doing business in a foreign country! The children from Hsa Thoo Lei cleared the trees from the area where the new lane will be built. There were about 50 children and young people who went to work. They had a great time, although some were quite dirty after they were done. The land fill will be complete by Friday. We took 12 girls for a Burmese breakfast today. It was amazing to see them eat. They were so full they could hardly walk. We had a great time. Another group will join us tomorrow. Thank you for supporting us so that we can have the joy of working here on your behalf back to all news
Charity House sells [ 3.Oct.2006]
Global Neighbors is pleased to anounce the sale of the Charity House in Prince Albert. The proud new owners will take posession on October 12th.This is the culmination of a very sucessful fundraising venture. We want to thank all the people who have made this project possible for the kids in Mae Sot. You should all be proud of making this world a better place!
Nov. work tour deadline approaching [19.Sep.2006]
November work tour dead line is appoaching fast. Only 2 weeks left to register for an amazing life changeing experience. This two week adventure will give you a new prospective on how ordinary people like you, can make a real difference in the lives people on the other side of the world. You will be building , teaching and developing new friendships with children you will never forget. If you have any questions or are interested in joining us, please contact us. Phone numbers and addresses are on this website. back to all news
New refugees flooding into Thailand [ 8.Sep.2006]
As many as 17,000 new refugees from Burma have fled into Thailand since February 2006. More than 100 clashes between the SPDC ( Military Dictatorship) and the KNU (Karen resistance) has caused the biggest exodus of Karen villagers in the past 10 years. Many of the mountain villages have been burnt which leaves no option but for the villagers to run for safety to Thailand or to face starvation in the jungle. Even though they have more safety, the new refugees face enormous hardships as they try to find their way into the already crowded refugee camps. If you would like to help these new refugees, please contact me through the email addresses or by the phone numbers on this website.
Mothers Day at Hsa Thoo Lei [14.Aug.2006]
August 11th was Mother's Day at Hsa Thoo Lei. There, as here, it is an occasion to honor our Mothers' with flowers. At Hsa Thoo Lei many of the children are without parents, so they chose a teacher to present their bouquets to. Paw Ray had tears in her eyes as many children presented her with flowers. These children are so blessed to have Paw Ray and the other teachers to love and care for them!
Record attendance [20.Jul.2006]
There is a record attendance at Hsa Thoo Lei School this year. We now have 426 students attending for the 2006 & 2007 school year. There are a total of 25 teachers, which include 2 volunteer English Teachers and 1 local artist who teaches Art. With the new facility, we are now offering 1 post Standard 10 class, Wide Horizons, which has 22 students enrolled. This program is an English Immersion Program developed by local team called World Education. This program was specifically designed for the migrant students in the Thai Border Region. The students in this program are from the following ethnic groups: Mon, Arrakan, Karen, Shan, Pa'O, and Burman. The students are living in the old Hsa Thoo Lei compound. On July 19, 2006 a group of 50 from the Thai Education Team had a seminar with the teachers from the BMWEC,( Burmese Migrant Workers Education Committee. There are 49 schools under the umbrella of the BMWEC. Many of these schools are small rural schools with bamboo walls and a leaf roof. Global Neighbors will be replacing some of these small schools in 2007. There are a total of 1900 students in the 49 schools. If you would like to involved in building new schools for the migrant boys and girls, please contact us!
New Projects for 2006 [16.Jun.2006]
Global Neighbors has two new and exciting projects for 2006. We are in the process of purchasing a property near the existing orphanage. We are planning to build an orphanage for younger children. Hsa Thoo Lei is currently equipped to handle children 4 years and up. This new building would be for children from infancy to age 4. At age 4 the children would be transfered to Hsa Thoo Lei. We are working with an architect to do the design and drawing of blue prints for this new structure. We are planning to fund this entire venture, including staff and all costs relating to the operations of this undertaking.The second is to build a new school for two migrant communities south of Mae Sot. These two communities currently have two small schools that would measure about 14 X 20. There are several hundred children in the area that would like to go to school. If you would like to contribute to either of these ventures, we would love to hear from you. Check.. contacting Global Neighbors tab on this site for our email address and phone numbers.
Trip to Mae La Moo [25.May.2006]
Hello friends,On Monday morning I finished the last business in Mae Sot, beforeheading off to Mae La Refugee Camp. There are 48,000 refugees in thiscamp. My friend Christopher (his English name) had come through thecamp a day earlier. Some one asked if he could find some help for 2little girls, 5 and 8 years old. The father had been killed by the S.P.D.C. and only the mother was left to care for the. She was gathering fire wood when she fell and was impaled and later died. At this point her Aunt tried her best to care for the two girls.Christopher was told that the aunt was now in the hospital and no onewas looking after these kids. He asked if we could help by bringing some clothes for the girls. Cheryl, my daughter, went shopping beforewe left Mae Sot. She bought 2 sets of clothes for each of the, sandals and 2 blankets. We delivered them to Dr. Simon who runs a Bible Schoo lin the camp as well as an orphanage. The girls were waiting for us when we arrive. I will post some pictures in our gallery. During our March trip we were guided to a remote water fall by a loca lKaren man. After the tour he asked if I could give him a picture, sohe could tell his Grandchildren that he was the first to show "White People" the water fall. I followed up and delivered the picture to his village.We spent the night 3 hours north of the camp in a small city called Mae Sariang. We were scheduled to leave at 7:00 A.M. for a remote refugee camp which is almost inaccessible. We traveled for 3 1/2 hours over several mountain ranges. The scenery was fabulous, however the road was extremely treacherous. There had been rain overnight, which made the trail very greasy. Our crew cab Toyota was full of passengers, plus a man who sat on top of the 2000 cans of canned fish.His daughter had been arrested by the police and he had come to get her released from prison. He had managed to get her out ( by bribes,I'm sure)and was now returning to the camp. We had some clothes that some ladies had sent from Prince Albert. We were going to give them out at the camp. The man riding in the back had very tattered clothes and asked if he could have a new tee shirt and shorts so he would arouse the suspicions of the police would may be on the road during our trip. Back to the story of our trip in. We turned a corner and there was a very steep section. The water from the overnight rain had cut the ruts down to over 16 inches. The driver couldn't stop in time and we got ourselves very hung up. After finding a few small iron spades, about 2.5 inches wide we started to dig ourselves out. I was in mud from head to toe! It took over an hour. I wish I had my videocamera running after the truck got out. The driver had the frontwheels in one rut and the back end of the truck was wanting to pass the front. On the return trip the sun had dried the trail a bit and with the help of chains on the rear tires we managed to get back to the main road.I had a defining moment at the staging area for refugees. The refugee committee systematicaly handed out the fish to the families who had just arrived. During this time we were giving out candies. A middle aged lady asked me for the lid from the candy container, it really isn't good for much. When the candies were gone a kid just took the bottom half. I didn't think much of it until the lady had a very disappointed look on her face. Then I realized she wanted the complete container. I stopped the kid and gave it to her. She hugged that plastic container and laughed and skipped.It was like she had won a new car. She had absolutely nothing, and this was important to her. I need to remember this for a long time!This part of the world desperately need peace soon. One of the men that was living under a plastic tarp,who we interviewed, said the Burmese military are trying to kill all the Karen villagers. This is happening today!Lets not give up in our efforts to help these helpless people and their kids.Thank you for making a difference!!Dave from Chiang Mai
Kids move in [16.May.2006]
The children from Has Thoo started moving into the orphanage tonight. It was fun and at the same time a little sad to see them coming down the road with a little arm load of clothes. This is all possessions they own. They were so appreciative. We were overwhelmed by hugs and thank you's. I don't think the kids will sleep much tonight. It's great to hear the building alive with children!
Water purification is nearly complete [25.Apr.2006]
During our last few visits to Hsa Thoo Lei, we noticed many of the kids had red bumps on their bodies. Paw Ray told us that this was from water born parasites. Global Neighbors has just completed a new water purification system that will help reduce the incidences of this type of medical condition. Please visit the gallery to see the new system. I sent out a request for donors to help with the purchase of the kitchen equipment and chairs for the hall. All the funds are in place to purchase these items. A big thanks to all who have contributed to raising these funds. We now have the play ground and soccer field left to purchase. We have about $1000. Cdn in place for this purchase. Any one who would like to help in this endeavor can talk to Luc April, Irwin Wiebe, Dave Heppner, Matt Tiegrob or Gary Peckham. If you are not from the Prince Albert area, and would like to help, please email me at email@example.com
Opening ceremonies [31.Mar.2006]
We are happy to announce that our opening ceremonies for the new HsaThoo Lei Orphanage will be on May 21, 2006. There are a couple of small side projects that we are going to mention to you. This is information for you, please don't feel that we are twisting any arms.These are some of the items that are still needed.1. Dinning room tables - $910.002. Dinning room chairs - $680.003. Assembly hall chairs at a cost of $15.00 each. We need 150 chairs.4. Kitchen cooking supplies - $1,2005. We are also collecting donations for the purchase of a playgroundand soccer field. The cost of the parcel of land is $17,000. If you are interested in sponsoring any of the above items orpotions of them, or if you know of anyone who would, please forwardthis email on to them.Thank you for your past support!
Last work day [13.Mar.2006]
The work ream split into two groups this morning. Luc, Evan and Brigette spent the morning in the market buying supplies for the evening farewell party. They bought meat, vegetables and fruit crystals for a beverage. The other team finished the drawers, while Marie did the painting. Irwin bought text books for the rural school which we picked up at 10:00 this morning. We delivered the school supplies to the Head School Master and his wife. We left with goodbye waves while some of the children shouted thank you for helping. Evan, Scott and myself picked up a guitar tuner and ice cream for the evening party. The evening farewell started with a short program. The teachers and students thanked us for our help. We all had a turn at responding to them. After the program we had a Thai style barbeque. We had the privilege of serving the ice cream! There many tears as we said our goodbyes. Some of the students gave small gifts before we left. I got a small worn teddy bear, which was likely the only toy this little girl had. I would have liked to have returned it, but she really wanted to show her appreciation. Brigette had tears rolling down her cheeks , a little girl came and wiped them away. These poor kids have a way of melting our hearts. Tomorrow we will be traveling to Chiang Mai, but each of us will leave a piece of us here in Mae Sot.
Safe Arrival Home
It was a great experience to see how the work team became friends and co workers over the last two weeks. Diverse in ocupation and character, each of us worked to a common goal, to making a difference in the lives of the migrant community in Mae Sot. We worked, ate and traveled together for two weeks. At the conclusion of these work trips, we all have a sense what it means to be a part of migrant community. We have seen and felt the sting of poverty, and a renewed appreciation for our good fortune in Canada. It has been a privilege to help these people. I would like to thank each of you that has contributed, either by volunteering or sending supplies for us to distribute. It is good to be home, but I think we have all left a part of us in Mae Sot.If you are interested in joining us on our next trip, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Small rural school [11.Mar.2006]
Paw Ray showed us a small school in the middle of nowhere. This is one of the poorest schools we have seen so far. The students have only one tattered text book for each of the subjects they are taking. There are no desks, partitions or exterior walls. I made arrangements to have all the materials deliver to the site, along with hand tools. There is electricity at this school. We arrived at the site to give the migrants in the area the clothes that we brought from Canada. We laid out the bamboo sheets that were delivered, the girls spread the clothes out so they could easily identify the sizes that were to be given out. About 35 to 50 ladies ,men and children showed up. It didn't that long and all the supplies were distributed. We soon noticed that the saw was very dull, so I went on a hunt for a generator. This took almost 2 hours, but finally found one. This really helped to get the work done more quickly. We completed the framing for the bamboo exterior and built the interior partitions with the help our some local men. The weather was in the High 90's, so we were well worn out by 3:30 P.M. The small broken down tractor was removed by the men. This created space for another classroom. We will be purchasing text books on Monday and delivering them to the School Master. Each day is full of fantastic experiences. You will hear many stories when we arrive back in Canada. We will take the weekend off to relax and enjoy the uniqueness of Mae Sot.
Village tour [ 9.Mar.2006] What a fabulous two days!
We purchased food supplies for our overnight stay, sports equipment for the mountain villages and cloths that we brought from home. We stopped at the Ma La Refugee Camp to visit an orphanage with about ninety kids. We had a chance to discuss the current issues with the man running the orphanage. We presented them with a volley ball, net and air pump along with a cane ball and net. They appreciated the cloths and school supplies. We dropped of the food supplies at Ban Mae Khum Noi, and then headed out to the second village. A couple of men showed us how the leaf roof panels are made. Some team members bought hand woven sarongs. We wondered through the village taking pictures and visiting with the locals. We were served a traditional Karen supper of pork, vegetables and rice. The meal was topped off with pineapple and watermelon. Some of us slept and snored, while others listened to the cats fight and roosters crowing at 4:30 A.M. You could smell the smoke from the early morning fires.We removed the cap from our 4X4 so that we could fit our seven people into one vehicle. We picked up our guide at the second village and headed out to even more primitive villages. The third village had never seen white people. They showed us a water fall that was simply spectacular. We all had our morning shower. Talk about refreshing! We traveling over another steep mountain pass to visit the last village. This was by far the poorest village, so we left the balance of the clothes and volley ball/net with these people. We arrived back in Mae Sot in the middle of the afternoon. Showered and enjoyed a Thai massage. We spent the evening with the kids at the orphanage. The kids sang songs and told stories from their past. This has be a day many of us won't soon forget!
Second work day [ 7.Mar.2006]
Some of us had an early start, and decided to visit the morning market will the others finished breakfast. After we returned, I drove the carpenter team to the work site where they finished building the drawers. Brigette spent the morning varnishing, while Marie and Terry joined Dr. David at the Clinic. They had an amazing morning following along and watching procedures. Later in the after noon we were shown a small school in the middle of no where. The 50 kids who attend here have no desks, partitions or exterior walls in their school. A small broken down tractors sits in the middle of the building. There are several small villages in the area, kids have to walk from 1/2 to 1 mile to get to school. The head Master and wife live at the school. They have asked us to help the with installing partitions and to buy some bamboo sheets to keep the wind and rain out. We are planning to do a one day project there on Friday. We will be working at finishing the painting on the drawers tomorrow, and then visit the Mae La Refugee Camp in the afternoon. We will be spending the night in a small Karen village,Ban Mae Khum Noi on Wednesday night. We will be bringing pork, chicken and rice from Mae Sot. The ladies at the village will be preparing a tradition meal for us for supper. I will post my next report on Thursday night
First work day [ 6.Mar.2006]
We split the crew into two teams this morning. The men minus Evan went to the work site to set up the tools and started building the drawers for more bunk beds. Marie, Evan, Briggette, Terry and myself sorted the supplies that we brought. We use a lower section of the lobby of the hotel to repack the entire luggage. The hotel staff made a few trips by to have a look. I will post some pictures on our web site. www.gnci.ca Evan is a Pharmacist who helped us decipher the different medication. We left the over the counter medications for the medic at Hsa Thoo Lei. We delivered the balance of the medical supplies to the Mae Tao Clinic. Dr. David Downham, a retired Urologist (?) from Canada was there to help us unpack. He was like a kid at Christmas. He said, how did you know what we needed? It was especially enjoyable for Marie, who collected all the medical supplies. We were given a tour of the clinic. Marie and Terry will join the Dr. for rounds tomorrow morning. We went to the work site to pick the men up for dinner. They had all the material cut for the drawers. The table saw really paid off. Steve, Jason and Evan worked at the construction site in the afternoon, caulking, cutting steel and sanding the exterior to prepare for the paint. We will be joining the kids for evening assembly at 8:30. We're having a great time!
Group arrives [ 5.Mar.2006]
I left Mae Sot at 9:00 A.M. to take a 4 hour drive to Phitsanulok where I met the work team. We have many bags of relief supplies. The truck and van were cramed with luggage. After we arrived back in Mae Sot I took the team to the orphanage where the kids welcomed visitors. It was fun to see the team members and kids interact. Lots of hugs. After 30 minutes I gave the group a quick tour of the construction site, and walked back to the orphanage through the migrant village. You can only truely understand this place if you actually hear the sounds, smell the smells and see the faces of these people. We are truly blessed to have been born in a free and democratic land. It feels so good to give these people and their kids hope for the future!
Roof system (Mae Sot) [ 8.Feb.2006]
Check the gallery to pictures just sent from Mae Sot.Local welders are building the truss system for the new orphanage and assembly hall. Many of these workers are migrants from Burma who live right next to the construction site. They are all very appreciative of the employment they are receiving from this project.
March work team [17.Feb.2006]
The entire eleven member work team is getting very excited as we make final preparations to leave for Thailand on March 2. Individuals are assembling donations of clothes, medical supplies, toys and school supplies, to make up a part of the luggage that we are taking. Each traveler is allowed to take two pieces of luggage, so we use one for ourselves and the second for donations from Canada. We are planning to update the website each day while we are in Thailand, with the exception of the evening of March 8th, when we will be overnighting in the remote jungle village of Ban Mae Khmu Noi. This is a primitive jungle village near the Burma border. We will be sleeping on bamboo, inside a grass hut and eating food that has been prepared over an open fire. Should be a lot of fun! The team varies widely in age and experience. We have a nurse, medical staff, several carpenters, a pharmacist, a retired developer, a news paper reporter, and a cook. Its going to great to get to know each other and to work as a team. If you are interested in joining Global Neighbors on a future trip, please email us!
New construction (Prince Albert) [ 3.Feb.2006]
What a fabulous winter to build a new house in Saskatchewan! In mid January , Dmyterko Enterpises broke through the frozen ground to kick off the construction. They found only 2.5 feet of frost. Darren Dmyterko was right behind with the footings, and a week later the basement walls were poured. The framing is currently underway, which is being done by Scott Bridge and a Jovin Homes emloyee, Trevor. The pilings for the garage have been poured and the grade beam will soon be in place. The workmanship of the trades is second to none. The future owners of this house can be assured that the quality of this home is superb! Check the gallery for current pictures of the construction and also the bottom of the projects page to see a list of the trades and suppliers.
Global Neighbors builds house to raise money for school [15.Jan.2006]
GNCI is building a house for resale in Prince Albert as a means to raise money to pay for the orphanage in Mae Sot, Thailand. We are asking local suppliers and trades to donate supplies and time to complete this house. The net proceeds from the sale of the house will go to pay for the orphanage. None of these funds will be used to pay for administration or any other expenses.We have already had overwhelming support and generosity and thank you in advance for the helping us make this dream come true for 180 children! We will be issuing official tax receipts for all contributors.