For more than a year now we’ve been helping ten or so vulnerable families. Our support has provided much needed aid for them while they’re getting official status with the UN and awaiting resettlement to new countries.
In the last update I mentioned the desire to create some income generating project to help support the families and over the past few weeks, a small group of determined volunteers has been forming to make sure this project comes to fruition.
Among the volunteers is Ben Viapiana, who runs a company designing custom jeans in Bangkok. While jeans may be his forte, Ben has a gift for designing and making all sorts of things. Over the weekend he gave the first vocational training workshop to two of the families.
We provided all the materials and Ben taught them book binding, starting with how to make a simple notebook. Other volunteers participated learning the skill along with the families and helping make sure everyone understood and followed the instructions. The result was a few pleather notebooks and a homework task requiring everyone to craft something more difficult before the next workshop.
While the end goal is to eventually generate funds to support the families, there are other important benefits to this sort of project. For instance, the project would provide families with some sort of skill they could take with them once resettled in another country. There’s also the psycho-social benefit of having a sense of purpose and being rallied behind a task that will serve to improve the mental health among these families who aren’t allowed to work to support themselves.
There’s still a long way to go to make this into something that pumps funds into the project, but I’m happy to have moved a few baby steps closer and thankful to everyone working to help us create some sustainability.
-DwightPhoto credit: Kim Wied