Sunday, January 24, 2010
An artist named Kru Nam couldn't ignore the street kids she passed every day - where did they live? Did they have mothers? Why weren't they in school?
So one day she set up a canvas on the street and began to paint. And the kids came to watch... a few here, a few more there. The next day she came back - this time with extra supplies for the kids to paint along with her. The kids had nothing else to do, nowhere else to go, no one watching out for them. So Kru Nam did something about it.
Volunteers for Children Development Foundation now runs two orphanages in Chiang Sean and Chiang Mai and two drop-in centers in Mae Sai and Chiang Mai. The orphanages provide a more stable, consistent, long-term opportunity for the kids to get off the streets. The drop-in centers are a place for kids still on the streets - many of them are young boys working at the bars for western men- and is a place for them to nap, relax, and receive education (including STD, HIV/AIDS prevention information).
So that's the information.
But the story is really in the individual faces. Each comes with a past of sexual exploitation - too awful to sensationalize on this blog - or neglect, or child labor, or abuse, or a combination of all of those and then some. They are loved back to life by the VCDF staff. Through art therapy, for example. And through a venue where they are allowed to be loud, silly, giggly, sweet, crazy kids.