Moo Baan Dek Raises Kids to be Powers of Good in the World – Thailand

Rajani Dhongchai, affectionately known as Mae Aew, and her husband, Piphop Dhongchai, started Moo Baan Dek, an alternative education school for underprivileged children, around the time when Thailand was adopting democracy as its government. Rajani Aew had taught in public schools but didn’t really like it, and was inspired by A.S. Neill’s Summerhill School to do something more for students. Since its conception, their philosophy has been simple–raise children with values of freedom, empowerment, equality, and compassion, and they will become functioning members of a democracy and happier human beings. 

Children come to Moo Baan Dek by way of state social workers or charity organizations. Around 150 students live at the site, many of them have been abused, abandoned, and orphaned.

Full Story available here:

Knitted Toques for Neonates

By Rie Tai,  Lao Friends Hospital for Children.

On behalf of the staff, families and children of at Lao Friends Hospital for Children would like to send a sincere thank you to Dr. Michael and Jane Woolnough. Their group has generously donated their time and resources to the kitting of small hats for young babies. These toques help keep the babies warm in their beds and provides a treat for their mothers by allowing them to choose a small (and important) gift for their newborn!

We are grateful for the work your group is currently undertaking. Depending on the desires of the group and your available resources, we have other demographics who would benefit from this program. For example we have many sick babies who are 30+ weeks old who would benefit from extra warmth during their recovery time.

I have attached a few photos of two neonates wearing the hats. 

Thank you again!

Best regards, 

Rie Tai


A Child Specialist’s Reflection of LFHC

Anna Tu is Certified Child Life Specialist from Vancouver, BC. Her role is to support, educate and advocate for children and families during healthcare experiences to improve coping and control. 

“My favourite part about being a Child Life Specialist is that I am always learning; everyday is different and I get to exercise my creativity to engage with patients. The biggest reward is to see their confidence grow as they learn through play and exploration with medical supplies and dolls.” 

Anna Tu Preparation Dolls AL2

Dr. Cheri’s Leadership at LFHC

by Akiko Arai, Friends Without a Border

Canadian involvement has been important since the very inception of the hospital. Canadian Dr. Cheri L. D. Njissen-Jordan, MD FRCPC FAAP MBA assumed leadership of the hospital as the Executive Director during the critical initial year, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the hospital as well as up to 100 Lao and international staff and volunteers. Just for Canadian Doctors magazine featured her work in the Spring 2016 issue. 

Support continued to come from the general public based in Canada, most notably through the annual Taste the World event. Since 2010, a dedicated group of community leaders have been hosting the charity wine tasting event at the Four Seasons Hotel Ballroom in Vancouver. Looking to bring the event back to Calgary.  

This event is been raising fund for LAO FRIENDS HOSPITAL FOR CHILDREN in Luang Prabang Laos and MEDICAL ACTION MYANMAR Myanmar/Burma. From time to time funds also support Lao Friends sister hospital, Angkor Hospital for Children , in Siem Reap Cambodia. 

High resolution image of Dr. Cheri with child - full head shot of both Dr. Cheri coming out of surgery holding child high resolution


Teaching English as a second language can definitely be a challenge. Our experience at Wat Prok January 2017

By Valerie Hotte-Kilburn and Clea Jullien
“We had a wonderful experience working at Wat Prok for Maryknoll. We were welcomed and felt immediately at ease right from the beginning. We met many diverse and interesting people with lots to say, learned about the children, their lives, the culture and about the temple itself. Teaching English as a second language can definitely be a challenge, especially with the language barrier. It did take us some time to get used to the language barrier. But once we figured out our teaching methods and more importantly what works better for the children and their individual needs, we felt much more at ease and definitely had lots of fun with the kids. It was a wonderful experience to say the least, and would highly recommend it to anyone.”
We would like to thank you for the amazing opportunity.

Valerie and Cléa

Volunteers in the field

Living conditions

A different type of travel

A Different type of travel:
Why people are starting to travel this way. There is a ripple effect, people that go there are truly inspired by what they see, they want to help, and they see they can make a difference. They see the effort that is being made, the need that is so great and the philosophy behind it which is only to help where it is needed.

Corinne and Brad Jefferson travelled to Cambodia with their family. Brad tells a story of walking through the hospital with hundreds of kids needing care and he was moved to tears. “It seems unreal because in Canada we just don’t see that much of a gap between those who need care and those who can access it.”

He was forever moved when he witnessed little kids rowing themselves to school in little boats. “All of a sudden the mom in the minivan shepherding her kids to French, ballet and gymnastics seems to be more about our parent agenda and I had this thought that maybe are impoverishing our kids of their internal motivation. I mean, these kids, with literally nothing, they want to go to school so they have to figure out how to get there. There is a six year old girl with a baby under her arm and a water snake for a toy. I am not kidding you, there is no one to come get them or think about what else they might need.”

Medical services in a city of extremes ©

Medical services in a city of extremes -printed with permission of Mike Kear  

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Medical Action Myanmar provide vital medical services to some of the poorest suburbs on the outskirts of Yangon. Services range from sexual and reproductive health, HIV testing and treatment, to treatment of malaria and tuberculosis (TB), all packed into four small but very efficient and effective clinics. The original and largest clinic in Hlaing Tha Yar township, which has been operational since 1994 and originally set up by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), serves a population of about 400,000 people and they typically see 300 clients a day.

What struck me most was the many pragmatic and common sense approaches they took to looking at the patient in the broadest sense. The efficacy of treating HIV is restricted if the patient is lacking in basic nutrition, as is so often the case in clients who discover they are HIV positive at the clinic. The clinic has a feeding centre which provides a balanced diet for a six month period for malnourished children. The centre is a fun place for the children to play and be monitored, thereby making feeding a more positive experience. MAM also provide what is called “Dry Rations” to patients on ART or TB medication that have dietary needs.

Health care in Yangon is generally regarded as poor with less that 0.5% of national budget spent on it. Yangon is growing at a rapid rate and accommodation in downtown Yangon is some of the most expensive in SE Asia, partly as a result of supply not meeting the demand from foreigners working for NGO’s and large companies with the resulting knock on effect to locals. There is severe economic hardship in the suburbs surrounding Yangon that the clinics serve. MAM provide assistance with transport fees for some HIV child pushing toddlerpositive patients to ensure they can attend clinic regularly.child in for treatment.child-in-for-treatment-150x150

The clinic has an outreach programme to encourage sex workers to attend the clinic for regular screenings for STIs including HIV. This includes a dedicated waiting area which is comfortably set up with coffee and noodles are served. This makes for a positive experience for anyone attending and provides a space to relax, chill out and share time with each other. The aim is to “make it their home” so they visit regularly, ideally every month. They have a trained peer educator who used to be a sex worker and she overseas the outreach programme. This also includes making a payment to women who recruit new patients and bring them to the clinic.

The clinic provides TB services, but unfortunately the government won’t allow patients to stay over night as it is not a hospital, so all patients have to go home. MAM now has a separate patient house for those that have to travel a long way to the clinic.

More images  


Helen Catton’s visit to Vancouver January 2015 for Taste the World,

Helen at TTW January 2015On the 27th January 2015 over 480 people collected in the Four Season Hotel Vancouver for the 6th annual wine tasting event. The vibrant crowd enjoyed wine tasting, a silent auction, raffle, live auction and learned more about how healthcare in South East Asia is supported from funds generated at this event. The atmosphere was pulsating as people mingled and enjoyed the evening events. In order to give thanks and encourage support a short address was given. Here is a synopsis.
’Every year I am humbled by the incredible amount of hard work that goes into this event and the dedication and commitment of the co-chairs, committee, volunteers, sponsors and donors who make it all happen. Money raised here tonight goes directly to the projects on the ground. A donation of $5 will provide pain medication for 50 children in Cambodia. A donation of $50 will provide testing and treatment for malaria for 10 patients in Myanmar. Your support not only has the power to change lives, but also to save lives. ’