Supporting children with disability in Thailand
The Niramon school is a structure specialised in welcoming children with a disability. It is located in the town of Khon Kaen, in the big Issan region, in the North East of Thailand.
It was the initiative of the sisters of the congregation of Girls of Charity that allowed the structure to emerge. Today, it is Sister Albina Ermac who manages it. Children of the Mekong started this programme in May 2016 in order to support each of the children enrolled in school with collective sponsorship.
All of the children enrolled in school come from the area surrounding Khon Kaen. They come from very poor families, the parents cannot afford to take care of their children at home all day, without being able to work to feed their family. Thus, all the children with a disability are welcomed in the Niramon school.
Symbolic daily participation of 20 baths (50 cents of a euro) is requested from each family, an amount which sometimes is not affordable for them. The government pays a small subsidy to the school, allowing it to pay for part of the income of the teachers but it remains insufficient. Sister Albina must rely on the support of collective sponsors and donors for the school equipment, teacher training, school maintenance, bills and meals. The manager has had to develop ways of making the structure self-sufficient for the children’s meals: 14 pigs and 50 chickens are kept on-site, they also grow mushrooms and vegetables that are used for the meals or sold in the market.
Around 70 children between 3 and 18 years old are enrolled in the school and accompanied by trained teachers. When a child arrives for the first time, if the disability is unknown to the parents, a diagnosis is established in order to determine what the disability is and to target the needs and capacity of the child.
It’s a real school of life in which the child will receive individual support in order to develop a maximum of autonomy while learning to live in a community, to gain in self-confidence and to develop creativity and language.
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