Tuesday, April 17, 2018
"Never too late to learn for Thai slum kids" Father Joseph Maier at Mercy Center - Inspirational Ministry
After nearly half a century in Klong Toey, an American priest remains determined to give disadvantaged children an education
Tibor Krausz, Bangkok
April 16, 2018
"Father Joseph Maier blesses an elderly slum resident during Thai New Year festivities at his Mercy Center in Klong Toey, Bangkok. (Photo by Tibor Krausz)
They are the kids no one wanted. They have been abandoned and neglected, left unschooled and undocumented. Many of them remained illiterate well into their teens.
Attakorn was abandoned by his parents and lived on the street, playing truant from school. "I couldn't read and the teachers didn't care about kids like me," says the boy, a mischievous, diminutive 13-year-old with elfish features covered in smallpox marks.
Yodsakorn, a lanky 16-year-old, was staying in a children's home. He wound up there following his mother's death. "My father is a woodcutter and couldn't look after me," he recalls.
Sappasit didn't fare much better, either. A sickly 17-year-old with a somber mien and prematurely graying hair, he was raised by his single mother, who works as a street vendor.
One day, no longer able to support him, she dropped him off at the Mercy Center, an orphanage run by the Human Development Foundation, a Bangkok-based Catholic humanitarian initiative that caters to residents, young and old, in the slums of the inner-city district of Klong Toey.
Yet the three boys are neglected no more. They are studying at the Janusz Korczak School of Southeast Asia, which is operated by the Catholic charity. .."