Father Ray Foundation
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The Father Ray Foundation is a charitable organisation located in the Thai resort town of Pattaya.
It currently cares for more than 850 underprivileged, orphaned, abused, neglected and abandoned children and students with disabilities.
It was in 1974 that Father Ray Brennan C.Ss.R., an American priest of the Redemptorist order, first accepted an unwanted baby into his care. That one act of kindness would be the start of a life of devotion to help the underprivileged in Thai society. He opened an orphanage, a pre-school facility for deaf toddlers, a vocational school for people with disabilities, a home for street kids and a school for blind children.
Father Ray died on the morning of 16 August 2003 and since then the Father Ray Foundation has continued his work in his vision and continues to live by its motto that ‘we never turn a needy child away’.
Since 2003 the Father Ray Foundation has opened several new projects including a children’s village, a drop-in center for street kids, a facility for children with special needs and a day care center for toddlers from the poorer slum areas of Pattaya.
The Father Ray Foundation helps children through the following projects:
- The Father Ray Vocational School for People with Disabilities
The School was opened in 1984 and offered part-time courses in Computer Science. It was in 1987 that the school accepted its first full-time students, offering free accommodation, food and medical help to young adults living with a disability. Students study for two years and courses available include -
- Information Technology
- Electronic Repair
- Computer Business Management in English
- Elementary English
Since the school opened its doors more than 2500 students have successfully graduated and are now able to, in the words of Father Ray, 'earn their own rice'.
- The Father Ray School for the Blind
Established in 1986, the purpose of the school is to give an education at primary and secondary levels to those children who are blind or severely partially sighted. In the first twenty five years since the school opened more than 400 students have graduated.
- The Father Ray Children’s Home
The aim of the Home is to provide assistance to under-privileged children who lack proper care from their own families. At the Home the children live in a safe environment, free from harm and with access to education, medical assistance and a nutritious diet. As in all programs where there is a family breakdown, it is the goal of the Father Ray Foundation to re-unite the family and assist them to maintain their family life. The Home offers scholarship to children living in the local community with the aim of keeping the family together but ensuring the child can continue with their studies.
- The Father Ray Outreach Work & Drop-In Center
This project is the smallest, but one of the most important of all the Father Ray Foundation projects. It is a temporary place of residence where children and teenagers can find a safe environment to live, one where they will be free from risk of any type of harm. Children from broken families, those who have been abused, orphaned or neglected or those who have run away from home will find a safe haven while a more suitable and permanent location to live is found. Many of the children living at the Father Ray Children's Home and the Children's Village first arrived at the Drop-In Center. The outreach team also work in the slum areas of Pattaya, offering help and support to families where children are at risk of harm or at risk of becoming street kids.
- The Half Way House
Located on the same site as the Drop-In Center, the Half Way House is where teenagers live while they are seeking work, in employment or continuing their education. They learn to live independently, while knowing support is nearby if they need it.
- The Father Ray Day Care Center
When the Father Ray Day Care Center opened in 2008 the aim was to provide kindergarten education for children from the poorer slum areas of Pattaya.
Children from the age of one to three spent their days in a safe environment while their parents are working or seeking work. No other organisation in the Pattaya area if offering care facilities to children of this age group.
- The Father Ray Children’s Village
Opened in 2008 the Children's Village is based on the SOS Children's Villages that were founded in 1949 to provide a home to children who had been orphaned during World War II. Children live at the Father Ray Children's Village is houses with five to eight other children. They live as part of a family, with their new brother and sisters and the lady who will take care of them, cook for them, support them, love them and who they will call mother.
- Father Ray Center for Children with Special Needs
In 2007 a mother arrived seeking help for her son who is living with cerebral palsy. As word spread of the help that was on offer parents from all over the Pattaya area arrived, all seeking help for their child.
The Center offers physiotherapy, occupational therapy and an education to the children while supporting the family and educating they in the condition their child is living with.
The Father Ray Foundation provides nutritious meals to its children and students every day.
Rice, the staple food of Thailand, is served at almost every meal and more than 75,000 kg of rice are cooked each year.
On World Food Day, in mid October each year, the Father Ray Foundation appeals to the people of Pattaya to help feed the children and students.
During the annual SOS RICE Appeal, taking place each year over one weekend in early December, the children, students and foreign volunteers ask shoppers at all major supermarkets to buy and donate a bag of rice. Each year more than 10,000 kg of rice is donated and almost 1 million Baht in cash is donated to buy rice.
The Father Ray Foundation has several initiatives to become more self-sufficient in providing food.
At the Father Ray Children's Village the agriculture farm is providing fruits and vegetables, grown without pesticides.
At the Father Ray Children's Home the residents take care of two chicken houses, which between them are providing almost 500 eggs each day.
The children also take care of several mushroom huts. The children harvest the crop before washing, weighing and distributing the mushrooms to the Central Purchasing department. The mushrooms are also sold at local food markets.
It is essential that all the children and students under the care of the Father Ray Foundation have access to medical assistance if they need it. Each project managed by the Father Ray Foundation has a designated health care professional who is able to deal with any minor health problems that may occur. Serious injuries or ailments are treated at local hospitals.
Funders and supporters
The Father Ray Foundatibon receives support from the following organizations and companies:
- Rotary International
- The Thai Children's Trust - UK and Ireland
- Father Ray's Sponsor a Child Foundation |  - USA
- Les Amis de l'Orphelinat de Pattaya - France
- Thomas J. Vincent Foundation, Honolulu, Hawaii
- Den Danske Pattaya Fond - Denmark
- British Community in Thailand Foundation for the Needy - Bangkok
- Pattaya Sports Club
For many years the Father Ray Foundation has welcomed foreign volunteers who want to come and help improve the lives of the children and students of the Foundation.
Volunteers stay for a minimum of 6 months and work in the various projects. Work includes teaching English at the vocational school, helping the nannies at the Day Care Center and organising educational activities for the blind children.
On the weekends they teach English at the Children's Village while over at the Children's Home they organise arts & crafts, sports activities and provide English and Chinese lessons.
Accommodation and three meals each day is provided free of charge. However the volunteer must pay for their own flight, medical insurance and pocket money
Volunteers arrive in late April or in late October, ready for the new school terms