The Keep Girls Safe project has gone through some major improvements this past month, and it’s all thanks to Sanitarium and their crew flying over from Australia! The team of highly capable individuals arrived on Sunday the 15th and got stuck right into business discussing what needed to be done.
Already having some ideas, they talked to the staff to see what improvements would be needed the most and divided it into three project areas; excluding odd jobs around the place. As the plans evolved the team decided upon erecting an area for drying clothes, storing rice, and planting vegetables; as this would be the greatest benefit to the shelter. “The expectations of what we could do changed a bit, as we spent time with the staff to assess needs” Team Leader Julie Praestiin mentioned whilst showing us what was happening at KGS. The team has come as an executive group working at Sanitarium Factory in Australia in varying leadership positions. They work with Mission Health Foods in Asia in manufacturing and distributing food to Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. Due to this the staff at Sanitarium decided to base the next company volunteer trip in Thailand to give back to the community.
Sanitarium provided 18,000 AUD for the project, a great amount to make some much needed changes around KGS. The group helped setup an area for the girls to dry their clothes, which meant laying concrete, extending the veranda and stringing the clotheslines. The end product looks fantastic! Now the girls are able to have dry clothes even in the wet season when rain is constant. Another building was built in the corner of the KGS property to store large quantities of rice. Soil was spread across a designated area that will be used for planting larger crops later on, which will help keep down food costs and will be a good project for the girls to engage in.
Julie planting in the newly made raised garden bed.
Photograph by Brittanie McLean
Daniel preparing wood for the raised garden bed.
Photograph by Brittanie McLean
The last aspect of the project included creating raised garden beds so that the girls can grow vegetables for the kitchen and learn about gardening. It also includes a compost heap which comes in pretty handy for the garden and reducing waste! Apart from this, the team conducted improvements in other areas as well, including painting the kitchen. Dominique and Sharon even brushed up on their cooking skills, helping the staff to prepare lunch everyday.
“Essentially the project is about Sanitariums work with Mission Health Foods in Asia and giving back to the community” voiced Cyravil, the groups ADRA Connections staff member earlier. The group were met with loads of enthusiasm from the girls, who just loved having visitors to play with and share meals with. Some of the girls are learning English, but most find it difficult to understand so it was interesting to see how the group interacted with them. Team member Sharon Green found it “surprising how much people can communicate with body language once language is taken away”. The team were sad to say their goodbyes to everyone at KGS, but left on a high note and have already conducted their own needs assessment of improvements they can make on the next trip! They even contracted someone to take a look at the KGS water waste management system, and proposed a semi-permanent fix which should be put in place in the near future. So it would seem that the team are already thinking of the possibilities further down the road, which is good news for us!
The Team has been a wonderful help to the KGS shelter; and we are grateful for everything they have accomplished in their short time here. A special thanks to Lynden Rochford for organising the trip and Daniel Bernhardt for representing Mission Health Foods here in Thailand. We hope everyone got just as much out of the trip as they put in; which is no small amount. We are excited about what the future holds for KGS.