A story from the Outreach program

Partnerships are important, especially when delivering a service to people in the community who have a wide array of needs. A family in crisis was referred to the outreach program recently. There were four children under the age of 10, all in the care of a grandmother in her sixties. All of the children had different fathers and the youngest was only one month old. Not long after giving birth to the youngest, the mother had left in search of work. However, the grandmother hasn’t seen any money or heard from her daughter at all. The old lady has to work every day, doing whatever she can, selling vegetables at the market or working in construction in order to have enough money to provide food for the children. On top of everything else, her husband has been bed bound for 6 years following a stroke and lies on a wooden table in a small concrete room with a sloping floor and a hole for a drain in one corner. His wife hoses him down a few times a week and the room reeks of urine. When she can afford it, she buys diapers for him and she tries to get home every lunch time to feed him. He has the use of one arm but cannot walk and his speech is very affected by the stroke. His isolated situation was deeply depressing. There is no social support or nursing home option for bed bound people. Families have to manage as best they can.

The grandmother asked Sarnelli House to take her youngest grandchild, Ice, who was one month old, until such time as she could care for her properly and safely. She hoped that Ice’s mother would eventually return and the family could be together again. After discussion with the welfare department and determining that there were no other relatives available to help care for the children, Ice has come to live and be cared for at House of Hope. Her grandmother can visit her whenever she likes, and her placement is simply respite care at present. The grandfather, who had not had any rehabilitation or physiotherapy, was referred to the Good Shepherd Sisters Garden of Friendship. They have a wonderful health care centre, with a registered nurse, volunteers and trainee nurses working there. They currently have two other men who have had strokes and they are providing physiotherapy for them. Now the grandfather is sitting out of bed every day, having a shower, on a commode chair and smiling and interacting. He has had his dignity returned to him. The grandmother finally feels she can manage the other children and also knows that she can further call on the outreach program for help with education scholarships for the little ones attending school. Without the partnership of The Good Shepherd Sisters and the Thai Welfare Department, this family would have continued to struggle in a high risk environment for the children and the sick old man. 

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