A Note from Jane McBride
November 6 was the Loy Krathong holiday in Thailand. In honor of the holiday, FTD co-founder Jane McBride took a moment to write this note.
Twelve years ago today, Patty and I were traveling in Northern Thailand and came across 15 girls living in an abandoned school. They had no plumbing and only one light to study by. Their kitchen was a mud floor room. They shared bunks and used an outhouse. They were AIDS orphans or cast-offs, children of prostitutes and sisters of girls who had been trafficked or sold.
They had no place to store their clothes but had an iron to make sure their school uniforms were pressed.
They were cheerful, friendly affectionate and curious. We spent the day making “krathongs”, elaborate flowers that are sent down the river as thanks. (Sort of like making Christmas ornaments.) We had no common language but connected in an unexpected and wonderful way. We aren’t “kid people” as you know, but that afternoon touched our hearts and changed our lives. We made a pact to let those girls know that their lives mattered and that we would do what we could to help.
Thanks to tremendous generosity from you all, starting with building a kitchen and providing basic stuff like blankets and a rice cooker, to getting them out of the school where the teachers sat and drank all day (the “English” teacher couldn’t say “hello”). To later creating our Sunflower House, a loving home where they blossomed and were safe and secure, to today where the first generation are college grads– nurse, teacher, artist, real estate broker, and budding entrepreneur.
We’ve met their families, consoled them through the deaths of their drug-addicted parents, helped their siblings, obtained Thai citizenship and passports, counseled them about boyfriends, and celebrated university graduations, two weddings and one baby. We are now embarking on building a sustainable project to help the next generation.
Autumn 2014 Sunflower News Arrives
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