Selling ‘Stroopwafels’ in Harderwijk

How can we generate more funds for Stichting Baan Phak Phing? This was the question we asked ourselves as board members. At that moment we decided to set up a ‘stroopwafel’ fundraiser in collaboration with Markus & Markus Stroopwafels in Waddinxveen

A large group of children and adults did their best to sell as many packages as they could. We are proud of the result of 589 packages of scrumptious Dutch stroopwafels, which raised €815,85 for the daily costs of living for the home. The top-3 sellers among the children were rewarded with a prize. Thank you to all the buyers and sellers!

If you want to set up such a fundraiser for Baan Phak Phing for your friends or family, let us help you. We can provide documentation and support.


My opinion

Some time ago we had several lessons on children’s rights. A visiting organization taught the staff and later the girls on this subject. One of the questions during the follow-up, taken care of by our staff, was what the children thought of their rights and what they personally would like to have improved or changed. It took a while before the girls dared to write something, but after some encouragement there was enough useful information and confirmation of what we had already seen and things we had never even acknowledged. The girls felt heard, and they were happy to be able to say what they thought. We got to work with their answers as a team, and we will grant their wishes as best we can. Of course, there will always be things we cannot accomplish, but those we can discuss with the girls because we value their opinion.


Where does the time go?

‘Time flies’ is what we say, or ‘there are only 24 hours in a day’ and like these there are many more expressions about time. I guess it is clear to everyone that you can’t do everything at the same time. The girls spend many hours at school, the days are long and then they also have their homework. During weekends they have time to do laundry and ironing. Even the youngest girls learn to be independent at a young age. Of course, this is done step by step, but it is cool to see them do the ironing all by themselves. When there is time left, they like to play games, make music, watch tv, work out or relax with a book. Unwinding in any way is important for everyone.

Recently the girls had several days off, and they picked up trash from the roadside. The ‘mothers’ do this together with the girls to teach them responsibility for their neighbourhood and the environment. When they do this together, they also enjoy doing it.

So, you see that the girls are quite active during their spare time in one way or another.


Being creative

One of the older girls and her ‘mother’ at Baan Phak Phing were talking about a stool made of empty plastic bottles that you could actually sit on. The girl thought this would never work, but her ‘mother’ explained it was certainly possible. Together they decided to create a stool that was strong enough to even carry the weight of an adult. They got to work together, while the others looked on, watched a movie or read a book. Lovely, such a relaxed day off.

When the project was done the girl sat down carefully and she was amazed to find the stool was able to carry her. Later that day a ‘mother’ who was a bit heavier wanted to try it as well and she too was able to sit down.

Fish from our own pond

Some time ago we received 1000 fish from our neighbor. These we put in our pond. The fish are now the appropriate size to harvest so we could organize a fishing event. One Saturday in July we made the fishing poles and divided the girls into several fishing teams. As soon as the fish were caught, they were cleaned, baked, cooked or grilled. Of course with many various spices and eaten with rice. Everyone was so enthusiastic we are planning to do this again soon.


New and exciting adventures

Three of our girls have completed secondary school and moved on to new educational programs in a city 3 hours from home. One, 18 years old, will attend a professional program for which she hopes to later find a job. It was difficult for her to leave ‘home’, her ‘mothers’, and ‘sisters’. She is adjusting well but still misses everyone at home tremendously.

The two other girls, 18 and 19 years old, have followed the first to the same city. The younger one couldn’t wait to get out on her own and to find a room on campus, while the older one was rather apprehensive to let go of all that was familiar. At the same time, both, enrolled in the sports department at a University of Applied Sciences, were nervous and excited to begin their new lives and to meet new people. The fact that everything is unknown makes life a bit anxious and emotional. They have been gone for a month now and are adjusting well to life at school in the big city.

At times mothers need to travel to this city for different types of appointments. They will make it a habit to visit all three to see how they are getting on and to encourage them.


Cooling down

Last month we received a donation to treat the girls to ice cream. It took a while before we could schedule the event but once the temperatures reached more than 40 degrees, it was really time for the mothers to take the girls to an ice cream parlor. Not only scoops of ice cream but also with many additions. It was a true celebration with so many girls and mothers in the shop. It was marvelous to see everyone enjoying themselves.

Perhaps this seems like such a simple thing but it is truly special for our girls who don’t get such a treat very often. The timing was perfect and everyone was glad and grateful that they could cool down inside and out: an air-conditioned shop with a cooling treat.


A dream has come true

For many years the girls have been dreaming about going to the beach. Many of them had never seen the beach and the sea. From Chiang Rai it means a drive of at least 14 hours and therefore this was quite an undertaking which needs planning. But after a long time the girls’ dream has become a reality.

On April 19th we got into a big coach in order to get off 14 hours later in Bangkok where we were going to spend the night. There we met a colleague’s good friend who had also worked for our organisation some years ago.  She is familiar with our house and everything we do there. She provided us with a place to sleep and as an extra we also met one of our former residents there, a woman of 34 years old now. She was so happy to see us all, especially the house mothers she still knew from her time with us. She and her husband cooked a meal for all of us, a group of about 40 people.

The following morning we visited the science museum, which was very nice. After that we drove for another three hours to the beach.  We arrived just in time for dinner and a quick dive into the sea before dark. Along the way we picked up another old-resident. She is 28 now and she stayed with us for two days and enjoyed seeing the mothers who raised her.

The next day we visited a sea aquarium which was very special, because now we were near the sea. We went swimming right after visiting the sea aquarium and played in the sand. That night we had a dinner dedicated to seafood specialties which everybody loved very much as they don’t get this type of food every day. After dinner we went for a walk on the beach and back to the coach. Fully satisfied we went back to our accommodation.

Next, a visit to a big park with botanical gardens, dinosaurs, real elephants and English and French gardens was on the program. It was a shame the weather was extremely hot, but that did not take away any of the fun. For Thai people taking pictures and selfies is very important and this was a particularly nice location for it. There was also a big dance show about the different cultures in traditional costume as well as a show with elephants.

That afternoon we had another surprise. One of our colleague’s old schoolfriend and her husband live nearby our accommodation and the two women had not seen each other for thirty years. She and her husband insisted on taking us to KFC for a meal and an ice cream. After dinner many went back to the beach for a walk or a bit of fun, it was too dark to go swimming unfortunately.

On our last day we sailed to an island nearby. Oh, it was so beautiful there with turquoise water and sand which was almost white. First we went for a swim and many of us went for a banana boat ride. The boat was pulled along by a very fast jet ski. It threw people off on purpose so they had a hard time climbing back on it.

We took another boat to a location where we could snorkel and play on the slides. Tired, but hugely satisfied  we came back to prepare ourselves for departure. This was easily the best day of the week.

Early in the evening two sisters had a big surprise when they had a visit from their mother and their grandmother who live close to where we were staying. As we normally live too far away for them to visit this was a special occasion after a long time. What a wonderful bonus on such a lovely day.

Early that night we left to go home. A large part of the journey was spent sleeping or singing karaoke loudly. Some covered their ears, but most girls loved it.

It was a wonderful trip which everybody enjoyed a lot. On behalf of the girls and staff we would like to thank everybody who contributed in making this trip possible.

Click here for more pictures of our trip, in the photo folder named: “Beach holiday April 2023”.


Art for All

The last week of March was a special week for the girls. A team from the organization Art for All filled the week with many creative activities. Everyone participated even when they first thought that they weren’t good at art. With a bit of encouragement they discovered that they were able to do better than they had thought they could. It was fantastic to see how happy the girls were. They made regular paintings, skirts out of painted paper, decorated t-shirts, made hats, hair decorations and much, much more. Eventually everyone had something to wear which they displayed during the fashion show at the end of the week. Most of the girls walked proudly down the catwalk while others crept shyly towards the end of the runway. For sure a fabulous week! Thank you Art for All team.

For more pictures click here and go to the photo album “Art for All 2023”

Do you want to know more about Art for All? Click here


In the middle of Thailand

One of the young women who used to live at Baan Phak Phing was moving with her daughter to the middle of the country to return to her mother and other family members. Since it was a long 7-hour drive, two staff ‘mothers’ drove her home. Her younger sister, who still lives at Baan Phak Phing, went along to visit their mother and family. They enjoyed several days of spending time together as a family.

In the meantime the ‘mothers’ visited two sisters who also live in the same region. Years ago these sisters spent some time with us at Baan Phak Phing while their mother was getting her life back on the rails, so that she could offer a safe environment for her daughters. It was wonderful to see that the girls have flourished. The mother is very grateful that her daughters were given a safe home during the time that she could not care for them. Now she has a small business selling Thai snacks. The staff left with enough snacks for everyone living at Baan Phak Phing!