Friday, 22 March 2013

Sex and Relationship Education in Youth Work

Yesterday I was invited to speak on the Chester university Christian youth work course all about the importance of sex and relationship education, especially for youth worker. We got to cover lots of great stuff. I promised to post on here links to a couple of things I mentioned. If you are interested in attending the training I mentioned email me at Gareth@cscw.org.uk 





The Sex Education Forum's guide to SRE within the youth service 

The Department of Health recently published Sexual health improvement framework

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Stories from a Thai HIV orphanage

Today I wanted to share a few short insights into the everyday realities for children and young people living in a HIV orphanage in Thailand. I visited this orphanage, The House of Grace, in 2012 whilst travelling around South East Asia (read my post about it here). Like my work in UK this project is linked with ACET international. Today I received an email from the project and wanted to share a few snapshots of what it is like for children and young people in Thailand being supported in The House of Grace. Funded and staffed by Christians the project provides a hope and a home for alone, rejected and something sick young people victims of HIV. Kitisak is the pastor who has dedicated his life to supporting these children and running the House of Grace. These hopefully give a snapshot of the rough and the smooth. 

Arriving - Fah


Nine year old Fah is one of the most recent children to join the House of Grace family. One evening, towards the end of December last year, she found herself literally dumped at the gates of the House of Grace. There she stood crying, not a friend in the world, with just three plastic bags containing all her belongings. Kitisak’s staff found somewhere for her to stay that night. The next day they discovered that nobody wanted her, not even her grandmother who said that she no longer loved Fah and didn’t want her anymore. So Fah came to live at the House of Grace and fifteen year old Pakart was given the responsibility to be her special ‘big sister’. Wherever Pakart went Fah went too. We first met Fah at the Christmas/New Year party and could see that she was already beginning to feel at home.

Seeing a way forward? - Dae


Dae, who will be twelve in July is another very precious child at the House of Grace. The other day Kitisak heard him counting slowly and aloud - “eleven… twelve … thirteen …” Why was this? What was he doing? He was counting the number of steps from the boy’s dormitory before turning left into the dining room! Dae’s is a long story but briefly here it is.

Eighteen months ago it was discovered that Dae was blind in his left eye and that sight in his right eye was deteriorating. In November 2011 he had surgery in Bangkok in an effort to try to save the sight in that eye. This proved effective for a year or so but now he appears to be almost completely blind in both eyes. The other night at evening prayers it was very moving to see his friends finding a chair for him to sit on and at the end of the meeting two other friends helped him, one to put his chair away and the other taking him by the hand and leading him off to his dormitory. 


Early next month Papa Kitisak will take him to Bangkok to see if the surgeon can do any more for him. Kitisak is very concerned that if Dae were to lose his sight completely what would become of him. The House of Grace is not really equipped to give him the special care that he would need. 


Surprising Joy - Preow


Thailand is known as “the Land of Smiles” but what is behind the smiling face of two year old Preow? In June last year she came from the local provincial hospital to join the House of Grace family. She had been receiving treatment for cancer in her hip and there was no-one to care for her. It wasn’t long before she felt the love and warmth of her ‘siblings’ – everybody just loved her and wanted to hold her! Since then she has had chemotherapy several times but her smile is still so captivating! Last month when it was discovered that the cancer had spread to her lungs Papa Kitisak shared this news with all the
children at the House of Grace and said, “However long dear little Preow lives with us let us make sure that her life is full of joy and happiness”.

A Hope and A Future - Dom and Toey


The House of Grace started way back in 1997 when Kitisak and his wife welcomed two little children Dom and Toey into their family. As orphans from HIV they had been left abandoned, living in a little shack in a nearby village, to fend for themselves. From that moment on, life began to have hope and a future for them. Today Dom, now 21 is studying in a local university to become a teacher and Toey, 19 is gaining valuable work experience in his second year of a local apprenticeship scheme. Dom and Toey are just two of the 69 children at the House of Grace, of whom 38 are HIV+.



There are hardships and problems, 
but there is also hope and opportunities.


HIV, Thailand, Orphanage, The House of Grace, ACET, international, Why,