With half the year gone, I wish I could stand before you and say I’ve accomplished everything I imagined when the year started. But the nuisance of creating ambitious goals at the year’s beginning, is the unescapable necessity to reevaluate and adjust those goals at regular intervals throughout the year. Such honest evaluation makes you vulnerable, dependent on others, and at times, depressingly human.
So this quick update is to let you know that we’ll we’ve got fun, worthwhile things brewing, but I’m not fully ready to launch into them just yet. Since publishing our 2013 Annual Report, I’ve been actively experimenting with new ways to 1) make our project more sustainable and 2) renew purpose in the lives of the people we’re helping, by giving them the skills and support they need to help themselves.
Unfortunately, my plans for new programming have been thrown off track by Bangkok’s refugee crisis and the unstable political situation in Thailand. Although it’s safe and mostly business as usual for most people in Thailand, minority communities who already had little access to public services, are languishing under new waves of arrests and pressure from authorities unsympathetic to people seeking asylum in Thailand. These factors are compounded as the city is flooded with Pakistanis, Syrians, and those fleeing other countries you may be hearing about in recent international news coverage.
Mosques are overrun, church leaders are dizzied by the requests for help, and the civil service sector, including large agencies such as the UNHCR have been disgustingly slow to respond to the needs of this vulnerable demographic. Meanwhile, zealous Thai military leaders attempt to smolder any appearance of public scrutiny, while simultaneously running an effective government, bent on enforcing only the most nationalistic laws, including a crackdown on migrants, which may bolster their appeal.
This isn’t the first military coup I’ve been around for. For some reason over the past six years I’ve developed an involuntary knack for being around when things go awry. But when I read the news this time around, I’m cognizant of how I never considered the consequence of these events on communities where I’m now working. The last few weeks I’ve spent Father’s Day with dads who can’t afford to feed their kids, celebrated the recent World Refugee Day with families who will wait YEARS before their persecution claims are considered by the UN, and commemorated the start of Ramadan with families whose daily fasting was a reality long before the holy period began.
I’ve been working on launching our self-esteem teaching kids cooking project, The Courageous Kitchen and I hope to let you know more about how you can purchase hand sewn products which will directly benefit a group of women who desperately want to provide for themselves. However, those are on the back-burner for now, as I focus on emergency housing needs and getting food aid to families afraid to venture far from where they’re living. Thank you for your support during this critical time, I hope to get back to the ‘sanuk’ stuff soon!