March 17, we kicked off our family strengthening program with 8 Lahu families from a village about an hour outside the city. We have been working with the children in this village for the past year, so we thought this was a great opportunity to begin this program with people we already knew. At first we were worried it would not be successful because a key element of this program is that the family participates together. Typically in Thailand, most dads just want their wives to do all the family activities so they can stay home and relax. The point of the program is to build relationship between the parents and children, which is hard to do when only one parent participates. But, our wonderful team member, Somboon, visited every family and explained the benefits of the program if they all participated. In the end, all the dads from the families we chose to join the program decided to participate!
Our launch was a good time to play some team building games, share the details of the program and get all the information from each family about their individual situation and what they would like to do to increase their economic capacity. This program will be 18 months long, with a meeting each month. On odd months, we will have family trainings about everything from financial planning to human rights. On even months, we will do family outings. In April, our first family outing will be to the new waterslide park! We are so excited that Tube Trek Chiang Mai is giving us a massive discount so we will be able to take everyone to the waterslides for the first time in their lives!
An important part of this project is supporting economic development for the families to become self-sustaining long term. In this group, we have some families interested in raising pigs for the market, some want to raise worms for fishing and aerating the soil of the farmers, and some want to do sewing or open a snack shop in their community. We are excited to begin making these dreams a reality.
The cost of running this program for 18 months is $100 a month per family. If you, your business, your small group or church would like to support a family participating in Building Family Dreams, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get you details of how to set up this support.