Highlights from 2012

The R2G Annual Report 2012 is now available but here’s a quick view of the highlights from last year.

Annual Report 2012 CoverIn 2012, Room to Grow provided services to 1,780 children in 15 primary programs and helped over 650 children in five additional dormitories on a more limited basis.

We expanded our scholarship program and supported 33 children’s attendance in Thai schools this year. Our basic feeding program also expanded, with Room to Grow staff delivering over 53,300 kilograms of rice, 2,525 kilograms of yellow lentils and almost 54,400 eggs over the year. More than a thousand children received a year’s supply of underwear in 2013 and 270 girls received a three month’s supply of sanitary napkins.

Our lunch program expanded most dramatically this year. In twelve months, cooks served up more than 350,000 breakfasts, lunches and dinners to children in 10 different locations.

The mushroom growing program expanded this year and 13 programs participated, growing over 4,700kg of mushrooms between December 2011 and December 2012. Children ate over 60 per cent of the mushrooms and generated over $2,600CDN in revenue from the sale of mushrooms. Income funded better nutrition programs and was used in two programs to buy more mushroom spore bags.

After several years of support to Social Action for Women’s scholarship program, we were able to expand our assistance to their work sheltering children who are orphaned and abandoned.

Working together with individual donors, local groups and international charities, we were able to coordinate support for two children with special needs living in the Safehouse, to enable support for them to return to educational programs and improve the quality of their daily lives.

Room to Grow staff responded to two emergencies in 2012, sending support for the rebuilding and resupply of the nursery building in Umphium Mai Refugee camp following a large fire in April. In December, a fire destroyed the homes of migrant workers on the outskirts of Mae Sot, and Room to Grow responded with emergency supplies for many of the students affected.

Joanna Flint was Room to Grow’s Program Coordinator for 2012. Myat Nobel Than and Thae Thae Khoo formed the field staff for the year. They were joined by Sandra Jones for several months at the beginning of 2012 and Jennifer Jones at the end of the year.

Kicking it… Gangnam Style

It’s almost the new year so in celebration, we here in Mae Sot are doing quite a bit of dancing.

Our usual favorites are: Who Let the Dogs Out? and Whoomp! There it is! But lately Justin Beiber has been creeping onto the dance agenda. How can I refuse? So many girls faces just light up for a little Baby, Baby, Baby, Oh!

Today, I was accompanied by some visiting guests who helped keep the dancing going while I sweated my out-of-shape self into heat stroke.

The boys especially appreciate some dancing male role models, I suspect. At the back of the crowd, some of the older guys showed me some wicked moves.

Today there was no school, so we had a smaller group than the usual chaotic 300 kids. A few faces always stand out in the crowd for me. Seeing this little boy’s smile always makes my heart sing.

He and the crowd are watching an amazing little boy who I have never seen dancing before. He got into the middle of the circle and pulled out some astounding moves.

Even though we were dancing Gangnam Style, he had a little bit of a Michael Jackson thing going for him. And so he should. Let no one be told how to dance and what moves go with what song. Kids remind us that we don’t have to follow the rules all the time, or be like everyone else. Its enough to be totally awesome, all on your own.

From all of us over here in Mae Sot, in all the boarding houses and all the schools, we hope that you are smiling and dancing your way into the New Year as we are. May the year ahead be full of joyful surprises, afternoons of fabulous excitement, shared smiles, lots of laughter and some sweaty, or not so sweaty hugs and cuddles. Happy New Year!

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