So the work begins…

This month saw me complete my full-time language learning and begin working full time. To remind you what my projects are, I will be working with CAM and Hope Home. CAM stands for Church of Christ in Thailand AIDS ministry and Hope Home is a foster care home for children with disabilities.  It looks like I will be spending the vast majority of my time working with CAM and helping with Hope Home if they ever need an extra pair of hands.

CAM is made up of 8 staff, social workers, healthcare professionals and church ministers, who work to care holistically for individual and their families who are affected by HIV and AIDS. Initially, their focus was on people living with HIV and AIDS but in the last several years they have been reaching out to vulnerable people subjected to social difficulties as well. They work within the city of Chiang Mai and throughout the northern region. This is done through home based care and community support, running extensive health and social education programmes in schools, universities and churches. And running an emergency centre for people in times of crisis called Baan Saybaay, which means pleasant home.

Hope Home is a foster care home for children with disabilities. There are currently 9 children who live at Hope Home full time and they, also, support some families in the local community with respite care. The staff carry out day to day care for the children, meeting any medical needs they may have, carrying out physiotherapy and schooling needs.

In my first 2 weeks with CAM I have been spending time at the office and getting to know the staff, going out with them and observing their education sessions and being at Baan Saybaay getting to know the clients currently using the centre. The staff have been so welcoming and made me feel part of the team.

A highlight of the past couple of weeks was when I accompanied the team to a village in the Chiang Dao region close to the Myanmar border, where they did a teaching session for the local children and young people on alcohol and the effects it has in the family and the local community. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) Thailand has the highest alcohol per capita  consumption in the South East Asian region among those aged 15 years upward and there is growing concerns about the negative effects of alcohol consumption on the lives of others through drink-driving, violence and drinking alcohol throughout pregnancy leading to birth defects.

There were about 30 children who attended and through this teaching session the staff hope to get the children and young people becoming more open to express about how it makes them feel seeing other family members drink and talk about how they would like to see their local community function well.

There is still a lot to learn about what CAM does but I am excited about working with them and how my role will develop within the team.

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Staff asking the young people about alcohol consumption within the family
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The children drawing the what makes a good community