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Acknowledged as

anbi

Stichting Light for Asia
NL 70 RABO 0126 9283 39 te Monnickendam
Onder vermelding van “Project Thailand”
ANBI    Algemeen Nut Beogende Instelling


Secretariaat:
Stichting Light for Asia
Melkkruid 47,
1441 XS Purmerend
T.  06-81513248
E. stichtinglightforasia @gmail.com


Peter & Tatjana Bak
PO Box 61 Muang,
Chiang Rai 57000,
Thailand

M. Peter      +66 (0) 85 719 9810
M. Tatjana      +66 (0) 81 169 6268
E. peterentatjana@gmail.com

News

You can read the latest news from "House of Refuge" here.

Athletes!

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We have 5 athletes living at House of Refuge right now who are among the best in the region and will soon have an opportunity to break through into the national level. These girls participate in something called Jiu-Jitsu which is a self-defense sport. A couple of years ago we had a volunteer with us for several weeks who taught all the girls self-defense. Due to her participation at a local sports school we were able to send our girls to practice the sport further at this sports school. After a while of practicing on Saturdays it turned out that 5 of our girls really love Jiu-Jitsu and are quite good at it too. The teacher at the school wanted to give them a chance to see if they could get to higher levels in the sport. He, along with other trainers, got them to the point where they started to rise in the regional group. The sport isn’t cheap and we are extremely grateful for the continual financial support of the sport-teacher and his wife as well as the volunteer. They often have to play in competitions and not just in Chiang Rai but also Chiang Mai and Bangkok.
The 5 girls now play at a very high level which takes a lot of dedication because they have to keep their weight in check, so they don’t jump to another weight class, and they have to train every day to keep in shape. They have to do this on top of a full school-week and all their homework but these 5 are fully capable of doing this and they are really enjoying it. They are learning a ton and we have seen them grow a lot in their self-esteem over the past couple of years.
We try to find something that they can learn outside of school for each of the girls, for example: an instrument, something creative, or a new language. When they know what they want we start looking for a good place for them to do this. It is incredibly important to do something you really want and in that way develop new skills.

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A Normal Month!

altAugust is a month like any other and the girls at House of Refuge have to go to school. This means getting up early and getting home late. After they get home they still have homework and chores to do and then the day is already over. Of course it is a privilege to be able to go to school but it’s also fun to do other things. In Thailand Mother’s Day is in August and the girls celebrate that the same as everyone else. This year, instead of celebrating at home, they went out into downtown Chiang Rai. During Mother’s Day there are a lot of things to do in the city and shops often have a lot of free items and there are all kinds of fun activities and performances throughout and in the big malls. The girls enjoyed this day immensely.

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Making Food!

altDuring the school breaks and during the weekends the girls often help cook food. It is a part of their chores and is a way of preparing them for becoming more independent in the future. They help with cooking the rice or noodles, washing the vegetables and then cutting them, cooking or frying the meat, adding spices, cleaning fruit, etc. If there is extra time the girls not only learn to cook a meal but also how to make traditional snacks. This is often more fun than cooking a meal because after making the snacks they get to eat them. The last time this happened they made and ate a jelly snack with coconut milk.

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Establish, lead, entrust and release!

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Christina Overeem, one of the co-founders, is, after 28 years, saying good bye to House of Refuge. She looks back briefly on what was built over the years and how House of Refuge has grown.

Looking back and looking ahead
It all started in 1990, somewhere in Bangkok in a small street. Together with Heidi and Phouang, we took the first girls into our home. They had been rescued from brothels and couldn't return home. This was the start of House of Refuge. We moved to Chiang Rai after 6 years in Bangkok because most of the girls came from the North of Thailand. In Chiang Rai our work started to grow and we began taking in girls who had been abused by people in their immediate environment.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Thai people started taking care of their own people, outside of their immediate family. My vision has always been that Thai people would end up running this House of Refuge. The daily care of the girls has always been taken care of by Thai “mothers” but until recently I was always the leader of the house. That has now changed. Over time my vision for House of Refuge has become the vision of the “mothers” as well and 4 of them have grown into the leaders of this work. Together they decided that they wanted to be responsible for the ministry. One of their first questions was: “Do you trust us?” Without even having to think about it, my answer was: “Yes.” I started to move into a supporting role and they became a team of leaders. Meanwhile the Bak family had been working with us for several years and Peter and Tatjana took over responsibility for the administration and finances. About a year and a half ago a young psychologist joined our team and I was able to help her settle into the work of counseling the girls with their individual traumatic experiences. Now, after 28 years, I feel like my vision has been fulfilled.

Living and working in another language and culture hasn’t always been easy. At times the concern I felt for their wellbeing weighed heavily on me but one thing was very clear to me: Never give up, look for solutions together. People have often said that our work is like a drop in the ocean. But I tend to think more of a pebble that gets thrown into a pond and creates ripples that keep getting bigger. It only takes one person to bring change in their environment.

My calling hasn’t ended but has expanded to include other places where I get to share my experiences about working with our girls. I also help the staff of those places to see how they can continue to do their amazing work without losing hope. I will stay in contact with House of Refuge here in Thailand and will continue in my position on the board in the Netherlands. In one of the last sessions with one of the girls she told me: “House of Refuge is my home.” Thailand is my home and I hope to live here for quite a while longer.
God knows our past, present, and future.

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Special trip!

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It is Thursday morning and all the girls are ready, with their bags packed, to go. We have three days on the road with all the girls and all the “mothers”. The girls are excited and are looking forward to this trip. We are taking 4 trucks with us to Chiang Mai. When we have reached the half-way point we stop to eat lunch and then continue our journey. In Chiang Mai everyone gets out and walks to the train station because aside from the drivers everyone is taking the train down to Lampang. For many of the girls this is the first time traveling by train and they are really enjoying themselves despite the heat. The youngest girl soon falls asleep because after an hour and a half it is no longer new and exciting. Days later everyone is still talking about the train ride and how beautiful the scenery was, the sounds, the ravines we passed and the length of the train that became obvious when we rounded another corner.
When we get to our destination it is evening and everyone is ready for a shower but a storm has just passed through and has knocked out the power so there is no water. But with the help of the handyman the problem is partially resolved and there is enough water to freshen up a bit. Then it is time to sleep and everyone lays down in the big meeting room at a local church where we will be spending the night.
The following day we go to an elephant reserve where we get to see how in earlier times the elephants worked for the humans by moving logs. The elephants have been trained to greet, let their caretakers mount and dismount, and even paint. What beautiful animals they are but also somewhat scary. The girls get to feed the elephants afterwards and they are even allowed to pet them and of course pictures have to be taken with them as well.
Other things we did include shopping at a big mall and at the local market, eat good food, go to a powerplant to learn how power is generated, and to a ceramics factory. We all had loads of fun and we learned a lot. Everyone arrived back home feeling satisfied after 3 incredible days on the road.

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More Articles...

Latest articles

Nog maar negen jaar oud!
Tatjana Bak | 29 March 2021, 07.32 | Nieuws
Nog maar negen jaar oud!
Voor dit artikel is geen vertaling beschikbaar.There is no translation available for this article. Een meisje van 9 jaar is eind 2020 weer bij ons komen wonen. Als jong meisje van nog geen 6 jaar oud woonde ze ook al bij ons...
Een eigen plekje!
Tatjana Bak | 05 March 2021, 00.00 | Tatjana's Blog
Een eigen plekje!
Voor dit artikel is geen vertaling beschikbaar.There is no translation available for this article. Voorlopig wonen Chester en Pim bij ons, maar niet in huis hoor, ze hebben een eigen plekje in ons gastenhuisje. Het is een...
Een groot feest!
Tatjana Bak | 25 February 2021, 00.00 | Nieuws
Een groot feest!
Voor dit artikel is geen vertaling beschikbaar.There is no translation available for this article. Een jong stel wilde gaan trouwen en was op zoek naar een goede trouwlocatie en hulp bij de voorbereidingen van het feest. Nou ik...
Verse aardbeien!
Tatjana Bak | 02 February 2021, 00.00 | Peter's Blog
Verse aardbeien!
Voor dit artikel is geen vertaling beschikbaar.There is no translation available for this article. We wilden heel graag Pim, onze schoondochter, haar familie ontmoeten voordat Chester en Pim gingen trouwen, maar ze wonen niet...