Surrey sixth formers befriend Thai street children

Five students from Holy Cross Catholic Girls School in New Malden, Surrey, experienced the trip of a lifetime over the summer when they went on their first visit to Thailand to see for themselves how their school was supporting under-privileged children through the UK-based charity, Thai Children's Trust. 

They visited the Father Ray Foundation and other projects in the resort of Pattaya, some 80 miles south east of Bangkok. Language proved not to be a barrier as the students bonded quickly with the Thai children they met through games of football and dominoes, skipping and making bracelets.

One of the most memorable moments of their stay was a visit to the Fountain of Life Women's Centre.  Here the girls were able to see the work Thai Children's Trust does in supporting up to 400 women.  Each day marginalised women, many exploited by their
town's tourism industry, are given the resources to empower themselves through learning a trade or language. It brought home to the sixth formers the need there is to protect these vulnerable young adults from street life. 

Holy Cross Catholic School for girls has been supporting the Thai Children's Trust for the past eight months. So far, the school has raised £3,000. Their trip was made possible after one of their students, Shona Ginty, contacted Ruth Flanagan, Schools' Liaison Officer for the Thai Children's Trust, on behalf of her other classmates, as they were interested in volunteering abroad.

The girls' teacher, Tricia Jenkinson, said: "The students' eyes were opened to a completely new and different culture. They found it incredibly rewarding to see the fruits of their hard work over the past eight months go to such a worthwhile cause. Many friends were made and the students left with fantastic memories. We thoroughly recommend this experience as it was truly life changing; the girls plan to return in the future."

The Thai Children's Trust is the largest UK charity focusing solely on Thailand, supporting projects in Pattaya, Rayong, Nong Khai in the north, the Tsunami area in the south and Burmese refugees in the west of Thailand.

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