Most tourists who visit Thailand only see the modern shopping malls and pristine beaches and not the areas where many poor people live in harsh environments.
I recently visited the Mercy Centre in Bangkok who help the children and communities in the slum areas. Around 180 children live at the Mercy Centre 50 of whom are HIV and they provide a safe place to live, education and healthcare.
I was introduced to Father Joe a Catholic priest who has been living among the poor in Thailand and Laos since 1967. Father Joe is a truly inspirational character and I felt privileged to witness at first hand the wonderful work they do.
While I was there a 14 year old girl Nicole came in with her aunt and explained that she was in school and her grade average was excellent but they were struggling with the bus fares. Father Joe told me they have visits like this all the time and they try and help out but they always need funds.
How could I refuse so my company Mambo Retreats offered to pay Nicole’s bus fares to school each month.
I was the taken on a guided tour of the Mercy Centre and even though it was school holidays there were many children playing games all supervised by the staff in a safe and loving in environment.
Father Joe told me that they always welcome visitors so next time you are in Bangkok and have a couple of hours to spare why not pop down and see the incredible work they do.