Serving “Differently-abled” Children in Thailand-written by Yen Lao Executive Director
Instead of “disabled,” we identify the orphans we serve in Thailand as “differently-abled.” This goes towards our mission of rehabilitating children with disabilities so that they may one day live full, independent lives. To achieve this mission, the Christian Care Foundation for Children with Disabilities (CCD) tries to bring medical attention, education, mental and physical stimulation and love to as many children living in government run orphanages as possible. Through the help of our donors, we employ physio-therapists and teachers who go into the children’s institutional homes to provide therapy and care as needed. We also accept volunteers from all over the world to assist our staff as well as provide the children with more love and attention. Our volunteers commit to a minimum of 3 months so that the children we work with are not subjected to volunteers constantly coming and going.
CCD’s commitment to the children we work with lasts a lifetime. We provide basic needs for young children, get school-aged children into mainstream education and provide job training/placement upon graduation from high school or college. CCD is in the process of constructing a vocational training facility to prepare some of the grown children in our care to enter the workforce. The vocational training facility will complement our independent living homes where some of our “graduates” now reside on their own. It has been extremely rewarding to see children who came to us as infants graduate college and live independently. We hope our donors will help to grow our programs for those transitioning into adulthood as this is the final step in our mission to help “differently-abled” children live independently.
Taking a holistic approach, CCD also work with parents with “differently-abled” children through our Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) program. The CBR program hopes to stem the flow of children being abandoned or surrendered to the government by providing parents education on how to care for children with disabilities. Parents are taught how to advocate for social services and how to provide physical therapy as necessary. These services are brought to the parents in various locations around Thailand. CBR brings a community of parents of “differently-abled” children together and creates a local social support network with the hope of making the care of “differently-abled” children seem a little more manageable. Thus, parents feel enabled and confident that they can care for their children at home. This, of course, is the best care any child can receive.