The history of the Children's Shelter Foundation
Happy Birthday CSF 2006 - 2016
10 years of the Children's Shelter Foundation
.. it all started in 2006 with a trip to the mountains
During an excursion to the mountain villages around Chiang Rai, the founders of today's Children's Shelter Foundation, Ulrike Meister and Joy Hanfaifa, see the sometimes catastrophic situations and conditions in many mountain villages.
Whereas some mountain villages have a good village community and work in their own fertile fields and the children can
at least attend a primary school, in other mountain villages there is great poverty, children and young people who had never
attended school, illness and tragedy. Drug villages, child labour, child marriage and closer to the border with Myanmar, child
soldiers or fleeing orphans.
There is a need to change something, give children a secure home, improve education, but how?
Within a very short space of time, Ulrike and Joy decide not only to think about it, but to do something.
Providing a small-scale emergency aid centre for children is their plan. With dormitories, a kitchen and probalby a teacher. Ulrike mobilise some friends in Germany and found the non-profit association Children's Shelter e.V. Germany to collect donations and activate volunteers.
In the next 5 months she move the center of her life to Thailand. In the meantime, Joy looks for a piece of land for the little aid centre,
and for contacts and employees.
The year 2006/2007
Ulrike Meister and Joy Hanfaifa personally finance the land as well as the first buildings for the Children's Shelter Foundation in the mountains of Doi Saket. The first 8 children are taken in; 2 employees and 2 farmers are hired.
Many volunteers and friends join in and so a pleasant home for the children's emergency aid centre is soon created.
Dormitories and a kitchen are built, an old bicycle shelter is converted into a classroom, and the initially infertile ground gradually becomes a beautiful and productive farm.
At the same time, the founders renovate and enlarge the guest rooms in Joy's House Guesthouse and offer Holiday & Charity.
The year 2008/2009
With enthusiasm, a wealth of ideas and tireless commitment from everyone involved, the small children's emergency aid centre turns into an internationally recognised aid project. Children's Shelter is awarded the title "registered charitable foundation".
The Foundation quickly becomes known in the mountain villages and in Chiang Mai, and so requests to take in more children are not long in coming. The number of children increases to 25. Teachers and educators are recruited and other necessary buildings are financed. Advertising for godparents and sponsors gradually gets underway. Through the Association CSF Germany godparents and sponsors primarily from Europe are found. Areas for cultivation and the urgently needed water system can be expanded.
The year 2010/2011
The number of children and young people in the Children's Shelter Foundation rises to 45.
Concepts relating to education for life, formal education and vocational training for the children and young people are
individually designed and improved.
From now on young people learn within the Dual System, i.e. in addition to high school or university, they complete a period of work experience at Joy's House. Because of school and work experience, all the young people move to Chiang Mai/Joy's House.
CSF is able to finance the new concept through Joy's House, which experiences a boom in the number of guests in 2011, and
through the camps offered for international schools. In addition, guests of Joy's House, sponsors and volunteers help financially
as well as practically and make such great and rapid progress possible.
The year 2012
In order to secure and create new training places for the increasing number of young people in 2012, Joy's House reinvests in the modernisation and extension of the Chiang Mai guesthouse and in the expansion of the rooms and area for youth.
21 young people educated in the Dual System now live in Joy's House in Chiang Mai.
28 children aged between 1 and 14 live with teachers and educators on the farm.
A serious problem is the bad euro/baht exchange rate.
The donations from Europe suddenly lose up to 25% of their purchasing power in Thailand.
Sponsors and godparents from Singapore and the USA are found, which reduces the deficit slightly.
The year 2013/2014
In 2013 the focus continues to be on school and vocational training. The Foundation's own programme for the primary school is expanded. Advancement in the spoken and written Thai language is given priority status.
The facilities for music, art, dance and theatre are expanded. Overall, there is an increased focus on educational and training qualifications. The opportunities for the young people in Chiang Mai are diverse and there is potential for development.
Different is the situation at the farm. We can only advance slowly with the children, because there are no further schools for them to go on to and it is difficult to attract qualified teachers to a life in the mountains.
The year 2015
The children are getting older, and so the number of young people in Joy's House in Chiang Mai is increasing.
The number of children on the farm has dropped accordingly to 23.
Maintaining the separate groups is expensive and it continues to be difficult to find qualified employees for the children on the farm. In addition, the children miss their big brothers and sisters and perceive themselves as a small group increasingly alone on the big farm. Restructuring is necessary.
With a heavy heart, we decide to sell the farm in the mountains and bring the children to Chiang Mai as well.
The Children's Shelter Foundation Chiang Mai is at the planning stage.
The year 2016
By the middle of 2016, the Children's Shelter Foundation is again one big family.
Close to Joy's House is the new home with a children's and young people's area, lounges, a classroom, its own
practical training centre for young people, a school garden and space for chickens, dogs and cats.
Many areas are improved as expected, and the many helping hands on site facilitate the day to day work,
the individual support and care of the children and the taking in of other children.
The children love their new home. This is wonderful and shows us how important and right this difficult decision was.
Without the support of the charitable organisation Children's Shelter e.V. Germany, without the help of friends, godparents and sponsors and without the kind and labour-intensive deployment of Sonja Neusser from the board of CSF Germany, great and rapid progress such as this would not have been possible.
Today, the Children's Shelter Foundation offers a home for up to 50 children and young people
and has a teaching and training centre connected to it with many valuable activities.
Joy's House Guesthouse in Chiang Mai has been extended by Joy and Ulrike since 2006 and is today a sponsor of the Foundation as well as a training company for young people. 2015 saw the opening of the Foundation's own Non Profit Italian Restaurant, Tamarind Garden, which provides income for the Foundation as well as training places for the young people of CSF.