"Supporting the livelihoods of children" in Thailand!

"Supporting the livelihoods of children."

The Thai phrase "Ban Rom Sai" translates as which translates as 'under the Banyan Tree' and symbolizes a haven, a safe place. Ban Rom Sai, a Chiang Mai orphanage founded in 1999 for children who have lost their parents to due AIDS or have contracted HIV from a parent, wishes to be a haven for the 30 youth between the ages of 2-17 years old who reside there.

Ban Rom Sai strives to operate not as an orphanage, but instead a 'big family' that provides the children a healthy and balanced lifestyle--even though doing so is less profitable.

The building offers a spacious and green property with plenty of space for the children to play. All aspects of health are promoted, such as hygiene, physical activity, nutrition, and free provision of anti-retroviral and other medication.

Self-empowerment is also a priority at Ban Som Rai. The children are actively involved in discussing and making decisions about their lives, whether it is pursuing a hobby of their choosing (current offerings include painting, ceramics, photography, traditional Thai dance, theatrical performances, cloth dyeing, sewing, swimming, soccer, Aikido and computer programming) or selecting a career/educational path for their future.

Ban Rom Sai also reaches out to the surrounding community. Having recently constructed a library, computer room, and activity room, staff host free educational seminars about HIV/AIDS, and permit the village residents to use the computer room as well as reading and/or borrowing books from the library.

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