Posted on November 5, 2015
Comments Off on Camillian Home for Children Living With Disabilities
by Lucy Chin
I have recently moved to Bangkok and one of the things I was keen to do once I got here was some volunteer work. Over the last couple of months I have been visiting Camillian Homes on a weekly basis.
Camillian Home is out near the airport at Lat Krabang and is a centre that cares for children living with disabilities. Currently there are almost 30 resident children and about 40 day care children all with a variety of needs.
My first impressions of Camillian were very good considering I really didn’t know what to expect. Before heading out for a visit I received information from another volunteer about all the children and their needs. After reading the information I was worried about meeting some of these children, as I haven’t had any experience of working with children with disabilities. The first time I visited I went out with a couple of other ladies, Julie and Sue from the BWG. The first thing that impressed me was the facilities as there was a small, well kept garden and a smart and clean building. The next thing I saw were the children and they all had big smiles for us. There were children in classrooms, others receiving physiotherapy and blind students in class with a teacher who was also blind. Every time I have visited the children are always smiling. It was an emotional visit as I have 3 young children of my own that are all fit and healthy and don’t know how lucky they are.
One girl in particular caught my attention, Pee. She is 13 years old and has both mental and physical disabilities as well as having HIV. The first time I met her she was sat in the hallway on the top floor and huddled up like a ball. It saddened me to see here sat alone like that but it was then explained to me she was on the floor so that she can get around a bit by herself, which I then saw. I also thought that she wasn’t able to communicate but then realized that wasn’t the case. It would have been easier if I could speak Thai but whilst I helped with feeding her at lunch time she would turn her face to look at me, or somebody coming into the room through one of her eyes. She also understood me when I asked her if she was ready for her next mouthful and would communicate with a nod or a shake of her head.
The next time I went out to Camillian was as a volunteer rather than a visitor. I wasn’t sure what I should do or where to help so I headed to the 3rd floor, which is the floor for the children with the most severe disabilities. I ended up taking Pee out into the garden for half an hour in her wheel chair, sat and observed in the therapy room for a while and helped with feeding some of the children at lunch time. I left after that visit feeling a little disheartened as I felt like I hadn’t really done anything and wasn’t sure I was of any help. However, the next time I visited I realized that the little I did was still of benefit as I walked into a room on the 3rd floor and Pee squealed in delight when she spotted me. She sat in the doorway pointing to the outside and it made me realize that if all I do when I come here is take her into the garden then it is worth it.
Sadly I don’t always make it out to Camillian each week as something may come up but when I do go I am always greeted by smiling faces as the children begin to remember me. Camillian Home would love to have some more volunteers. I am currently visiting every Tuesday morning from Sukhumvit and if anyone else were interested in helping then I would be happy to offer a ride, as it isn’t the easiest of places to get to.