Biography Child Friendship.
THE LAND HE JUST VISITED
A Burn-out in 2008 laid the foundation for the creation of the Child Friendship Foundation, Alexander took his backpack and started a tour through Asia. There he visited Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Bali. During this trip he had an appointment in Bangkok with a Dutch friend, Frank Dirks from Nijmegen and he told him the terrible developments that had taken place in Myanmar / Burma, the country he just visited. had visited. Huge hit by the stories, their own problems were greatly reduced and the provision of aid through the founding of the foundation became “the priority”. Incidentally, this also proved to be the way to effectively combat the Burn-out.
Cyclone Nargis had raged over this land and the tidal waves had made one million people homeless. One hundred thousand people had drowned and tens of thousands of children were staying overnight in the travel fields or had ended up on the streets. He had met a monk in Yangon who had visited the disaster area and told about people disgraceful scenes that took place there. Children who had lost their parents and family and who slept in the fields or on the streets were put in camps. At night these camps were besieged by men who climbed the fences and kidnapped these children for the sex industry and child labor in Laos, Cambodia or Thailand.
The monk from the monastery and from the Phaung Daw Oo High School, had attracted the fate of these children enormously. Together with the other monks of Phaung Daw Oo High School he has taken care that 80 children from the disaster area 800 kilometers away, in two trucks to the monastery in Mandalay were brought. Frank was enormously touched by this story and after returning to the Netherlands took the initiative to return immediately and to look at the living conditions of these children in Mandalay. He personally took the initiative to buy two houses on the grounds of the monastery, where this group of children could be accommodated. During the conversation the idea came to start with a foundation where both friends would take over Frank as secretary and Alexander as chairman. With the support of many sponsors, the two houses were refurbished and the children were provided with all necessary clothing and sleeping materials including a mattress, blanket, pillow and a mosquito net. A steady team of very dedicated staff members, including Yi-Mon and her assistants Cho Cho and Tsai Tsai, are doing a great job for these children. They live together with the children 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year. They themselves sleep in the girls ‘house and the boys’ house is headed by three young men who do so on a voluntary basis. Meanwhile, the group of children has become a big, close-knit family. The two houses are located on a huge school ground of the monastery. In 20 years time, with support from abroad – in particular aid organizations from Germany, Switzerland and Australia – a school has been created where more than 7000 children are now attending school. 170 teachers and 20 staff members are currently working. More than 5,500 children come every day on foot, by bike or by bus to school. In connection with limited space they are divided into a morning or afternoon study. The remaining 1300 children live permanently on the school grounds. These are more than 700 novices (young monks), 400 girls from villages in the region, 160 children of ethnic origin, 80 street children and since the cyclone of May 2008 some 140 (orphaned) children.
The initiatives that have now been developed in Village 31 are bearing fruit. It gives the children a better and safer future perspective. Village 31 is a (gold) mining village and children are put to work there at a very young age (8 years). Through the realization of a high school the children can continue studying and working in the gold mine or on land is no longer the only option. After an evaluation of the past 10 years, it appears that these initiatives have had a major positive impact on the way in which the villagers live. Besides the building of the schools and the training of the teachers, the realization of wells, hygiene and the effective use of money and resources have also produced a clear result. The school has also created a much greater cohesion in the village. We hope to find more sponsors in the future to invest in these wonderful projects and in this way to be able to realize more activities in the surrounding villages. The political unrest that occasionally emerges is reasonably regionally bound. Here too, we hope and expect that this will stabilize over the years. It is clearly a developing country that will not be able to take these necessary steps without outside help.