ThailandThailand

Sports and learning centre

Constructing a sports and learning centre for youth in rural Thailand

Housing & InfrastructureHousing & Infrastructure
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The Need

Not only do youth growing up in rural Thailand face the typical struggles of teenagers as they transition from children to adults but they also face the added challenge of living in poverty—meaning they struggle with food insecurity, finishing their education, finding gainful employment and overcoming unstable home situations.

Many young people are home alone while their caregivers work—so there is no one to help them with schoolwork or check in with them. Without basic literacy, job skills or strong relationships, they qualify only for low-paying daily labour jobs. Many young men and women are heading down a dangerous path as they follow friends into risky behaviour like drugs and gangs. Without a safe place to belong, these teens will become further secluded and vulnerable, entrenched in the cycle of poverty.

Frontline church partner Ban Mae Hoe Church desires to offer at-risk beneficiaries a youth-friendly sports and learning centre that encourages learning and relationship-building, strengthens holistic development and mental health and prepares them for economic independence.

Our Response

Thanks to your incredible support, construction is well underway for the new sports and learning youth centre. The first step was a church kickoff meeting with the project committee and Compassion staff to plan the implementation, select a qualified contractor and pray over the entire endeavour.

Church leaders, church members and Compassion staff have taken turns helping with construction and even by contributing money as they were able. Construction began with the volleyball court followed by the takraw court (a cross between volleyball and soccer, played with a rattan ball). Currently, the crew is working on the classroom facility building, which is 70 per cent complete. As of September 2022, the facility has two rooms and a bathroom, with an expected completion date of March 2023.

Ban Mae Hoe Church decided to change the location of the learning centre from the top of the hill to the lowland, where the land was already level and adjusted. The church also decided to leave the top floor of the learning centre open without a roof in case they wanted to build a meeting hall in the future. They are trying to use the limited space as effectively as possible by leaving room for future opportunities and expansion.

One significant obstacle during implementation has been weather—in particular, the rainy season. The church decided to deliver construction materials on a dry day and to stop working on rainy days for safety issues. Construction is also taking longer than anticipated because it is farming season so labourers must also work the fields. Finally, the paint on the takraw and volleyball courts was damaged by rain before it could dry, so the lines will need to be fixed.

Thankfully, the construction company calculated all the expenses up front—so even though building material costs are rising, the total price remains what was initially agreed upon. Soon, this new youth-friendly facility will be complete with two open rooms for playing sports, two classrooms and the two ball courts, providing a safe place for children and youth to gather and be mentored by Christian adults.

Activities

Laying the foundation: The church changed the location of the learning centre to be behind the vocational building where the land is already adjusted. Laying the foundation was the first step, followed by construction of the first-floor structure.

Sports courts: The takraw and volleyball courts are finished, but they need to be repainted since the lines were damaged by heavy rains. Youth helped to prepare the sports courts.

Learning centre: The upper floor contains two rooms with bathrooms. The church decided to leave the top of the building open to perhaps build a meeting hall in the future.

Your Gift Provides...

Your investment is funding the construction of a sports and learning facility:

• Acquiring and preparing the site
• Purchase and transportation of construction materials
• Construction and labour for two open gym spaces, takraw court, volleyball court and two classrooms
• Sports equipment
• Follow-up evaluation

ReportThank you for your generosity

You are creating a place for at-risk youth to find purpose in their young lives as they navigate the often rocky transition from childhood to adulthood. Thank you for seeing this great need and meeting it by partnering with the local church to build a sports and learning centre so teens can play sports, learn music, make good friends, bond with mentors and gain vocational skills.

Since the intervention is not yet complete, Ban Mae Hoe Church is not able to fully evaluate the impact on their beneficiaries. However, joy and gratitude are evident among the youth, caregivers and church members as they express their excitement for the opportunity to enjoy a sports field and learning centre. We know this will be a great place for them to gain self-esteem, grow in their faith, pursue economic independence skills and develop as servant leaders. Already, more children are coming to the church to practise volleyball and football (soccer) together. This centre is providing a safe space to establish strong relationships between vulnerable youth and caring Christian adults in the church.

Your generous investment is creating a welcoming place for young people to belong and have fun instead of isolating at home or living in danger on the streets. Thank you for showing the love of Jesus to these young men and women—reminding them of their inestimable worth and God-given potential.