CS300 : Your Support Means The World To Them

2009-11-30

Changing Over  

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In the next few months, RADION will be doing a massive migration of the current newlifeoutreach blog to a web based blog. This new portal will be a one stop site where you can get all your updates on radions progress from the blog to our corporate info.

The new contributors will be Benjamin (Operations Director), Bruce Thao (Director Of Operations USA) and yours sincerely .... and many many more :)

Keep yourself updated at www.radion-international.org !

2009-10-25

Volunteer Management Committee  

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As part of RADION International's master plan, we have formed a management committee made up of young working adults who have a passion to impact the lives of the marginalised and needy.

These management committee members will take on a vital role in bringing greater awareness to the masses though campaigns and innovative programs in Singapore.

More details to follow !

Fond Memories  

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What a privilege to have been part of RADION for the last 2 years ! As sat at my desk reminiscing both the ups and downs of RADION, it brought back bitter sweet memories.

It has been such a harsh but beautiful 2 years. Yes pains and disappointments are plentiful but as I look at the lives that have been touched. The negatives just seem to pale in comparison to the joy of being able to help and give the simple measure of hope to that someone.

Memories of refugee leaders breaking into tears as blankets were given to them...
Memories of refugees rushing up and kneeling down to be prayed for....
Memories of that elderly later who held my hand so tightly during a routine home visit (she passed on during the cold snap disaster)...
Memories of hopeful children as they got their first chance to see the sea.

What a privilege to be able to make that journey of faith and walk through that season with these people ! I can't wait to get back !

2009-10-20

Revamping Of RADION International Singapore  

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RADION International is in the process of revamping its organisation structure to cater for new growth areas while maintaining the versatility of a small organisation.

Do stay tuned for the updates in the weeks ahead !

2009-10-07

A sad moment  

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Last sunday as I was sitting in church, the pastor came up with a solemn note, asking the church to pray for people who face the brunt of Typhoon KETSANA, earthquakes and tsunamis.

As I prayed, I teared because the affected region is so wide, from Philippines to Vietnam, to Cambodia to Indonesia.... tears rolled down my cheeks as I prayed feeling helpless that RADION could not be able to do more within the region.

With limited funding, RADION can just do this much and our reach is largely limited to Thailand. What a grieving moments seeing disasters, but yet having to sit down and the only thing that I'm able to do is to pray.

2009-10-04

News : Health ministry warns of diseases during floods  

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-By The Nation


Health Ministry warned people on Sunday about possible break-out of six diseases during floodings.

Acting Permanent Secretary for health Dr Paichit Varachit said the diseases; leptospirosis, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, red eye and dengue fever, usually break out during floods.

Provincial mobile medical units will provide free service to flood victims as well as distribute information on preventive measures for flood-related disease to the public, said Dr Paichit.

Of the six diseases, the number of patients suffering from red eye and leptospirosis had risen sharply by about 8 per cent from January through September 29 compared to the same period last year, Dr Paichit said.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said in his weekly talk on Sunday that his government has been closely monitoring flooding situation in the country and the cabinet will this week evaluate damages again.

The evaluation will enable the government to allocate budget to assist the flood victims.

Abhisit said he had ordered relevant government agencies last Tuesday to lay out their plans to respond to Thailand's floods, and urged the public to listen to weather forecasts on a regular basis as weather is still unpredictable.

So far 12 provinces, mostly in the North and Northeast, have been under water with Ubon Ratchathani and Si Sa Ket suffered serious floodings, while Lampang and Lamphun provinces in the North are the worst-hit following heavy rains last weekend.

The Cabinet would discuss the flood situation on Tuesday and re-evaluate the country's damages.

Government closely monitors flooding; Health ministry warns of six diseases

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Sunday his government has been closely monitoring flooding situation in the country and the cabinet will this week evaluate damages again.

The evaluation will enable the government to allocate budget to assist the flood victims.

Speaking in his weekly television talk, Abhisit said he had ordered relevant government agencies last Tuesday to lay out their plans to respond to Thailand's floods, and urged the public to listen to weather forecasts on a regular basis as weather is still unpredictable.

So far 12 provinces, mostly in the North and Northeast, have been under water with Ubon Ratchathani and Si Sa Ket suffered serious floodings, while Lampang and Lamphun provinces in the North are the worst-hit following heavy rains last weekend.

The Cabinet would discuss the flood situation on Tuesday and re-evaluate the country's damages.

News : Ketsana floods wash thousands out of homes, worse on way  

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Bangkok Post :

Many provinces remained submerged yesterday as humanitarian aid trickled to thousands of marooned and homeless residents left uprooted by the heavy downpours of Typhoon Ketsana.

The North and the Northeast are the worst-hit areas after a weekend of heavy rain with thousands of houses and thousands of rai of farmland flooded.

Affected families have been living on relief supplies.

Ketsana's lingering effects were most widespread in the northern province of Tak, where about 1,700 families in nine villages in tambon Mae Tuen of Mae Ramat district were cut off from the outside world after a bridge collapsed, preventing troops from reaching them with emergency help.

Many provinces in the north, northeastern and southern regions have experienced flooding after heavy rains.

Despite official efforts to pump out floodwater from the affected areas, the water levels in some areas are not receding but are actually rising, and rains show no signs of letting up, officials said yesterday.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has told agencies to rush relief aid to victims in hard-hit provinces.

He plans to visit the worst-hit areas to give moral support and make sure help is reaching the affected people.

The prime minister has ordered irrigation officials to monitor water levels in the dams and reservoirs as they could overflow as weather conditions are expected to worsen in the next few days.

Mr Abhisit said Thailand was also sending aid to the Philippines and Indonesia, which were heavily hit by the typhoon and an earthquake.

Rice, medical supplies and electricity generators has been flown to Indonesia and would be sent to the Philippines as well, he said.

In Tak, where residents were cut off from the outside world, the bridge over the Mae Tuen River collapsed under the force of the flash flood. It is the main transport route out of the tambon.

A temporary bridge could not be built immediately due to the high water level of the river, leaving the military rescue teams unable to get into the flooded villages to extend help.

In Sam Ngao district, about 400 houses were submerged after the Wang River burst its banks. Residents and farm animals have been either evacuated or moved to higher ground.

In the northeastern province of Chaiyaphum, motorists were yesterday warned about possible landslides along the Nakhon Sawan-Chaiyaphum Road.

About 500 houses in Phakdi Chumphon district and another 1,000 in Kaset Sombun and Phu Khieo districts were flooded. In some areas, the water is three metres high.

The overflowing Lam Pa Thao Dam has flooded Muang district where the floodwater in some spots is almost half a metre deep.

Residents of the central province of Ayutthaya are also assessing the flood damage to their houses and land.

About 1,000 homes require extensive repair work as a result of flooding in the rice-producing district of Sena.

In Phetchabun, more than 5,000 rai of farmland in Nong Phai district has been swamped.

Meanwhile, 13 Thai crew members who survived after their fishing boat capsized in Malaysian waters on Friday returned to Pattani yesterday.

Another 13 are still missing.

According to reports, waves as high as three to five metres hit the boat, the Pornpitsanu 91, which had 26 crewmen on board when it had left Pattani to receive fish from another trawler anchored in Malaysian waters. BANGKOK POST AND TNA

2009-09-30

RADION Expansion  

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With effect from 1 Sep 2009, Mr Bruce Kou Thao will be joining RADION International as our Director Of Operations (USA). He will be pioneering the awareness and assisting with the charity setup in the states to support our outreach efforts in Thailand.

Mr Bruce Thao is no stranger to RADION, in fact he has served a summer term with RADION right in Khek Noi Thailand as part of his PhD program internship. Bruce has teared with us, labored alongside us into late nights and now he is jumping on-board to be our ambassador among the Hmong Americans back in the states.

Bruce Kou Thao is the first generation of Hmong who were born and raised and America. Both his parents fled persecution during the Vietnam War in Laos and lived in Thai refugee camps in 1975 before being repatriated to the United States. Bruce is now pursuing his 2nd Masters and a PhD in Social Work at the University of Chicago.

If you're in the states and would wish to contact Bruce to speak at your organisation/church/school, you can reach him at bruce.thao@radion-international.org

RADION International USA :

Radion International
P.O. Box 15274
Chicago, IL 60615


News : Bad Weather To Hit Thailand By Ketsana  

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BANGKOK: -- Thai authorities upcountry and in the capital are braced for a major blow from tropical storm Ketsana, which has intensified to typhoon status, and is moving towards Thailand's Northeast and North, Interior Minister Chavarat Charnvirakul said Tuesday.

Having ordered the authorities in the northern and northeastern regions to be on alert for possible flash floods, Mr Chavarat said the Interior Ministry had allocated Bt50 million from its emergency budget to each province to help flood victims.

Meanwhile, Governor Sukhumbhand Paribatra said the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) will keep Bangkokians updated on the weather condition in Bangkok.

The updates include the amount of rainfall and flood-proned areas, he said, adding that announcements will be made via radio, television and traffic signs so that residents will avoid entering flooded areas, move their valuables to higher grounds and prepare themselves in better manners.

In a bid to protect Bangkokians affected by heavy rains, the BMA has set up mobile emergency units to visit flood-impacted various areas and provide drainage pumps, temporary accommodation, medical teams and other facilities.

Mr. Sukhumbhand also said that the BMA would help repair and clean damaged homes after the floodwaters recede.

He instructed the heads of flood-prone districts, in particular the eastern metropolitan area and Thon Buri, to urge community leaders to brace for possible flooding.

The governor himself will be at the emergency relief centre to inspect the authorities response to flooding.

The BMA has launched its Hotline 1555 to receive complaints from flood-hit residents.

Meanwhile, in the southern province of Songkhla, fishermen in the Gulf of Thailand started sailing for shore after a warning was issued by the Meteorological Department.

The department earlier announced that strong winds and waves would likely be higher than two metres due to tropical storm Ketsana which was moving across the South China Sea and expected to enter Thailand's northeastern provinces of Mukdaharn and Ubon Ratchathani via neighbouring Laos.

Meanwhile, customs officers in the northeastern province of Nong Khai warned ferry boat and motor raft operators plying between Bung Kan District and Laos against overloading with cargo and passengers to avoid possible accidents during the heavy rain and strong winds.

-- TNA 2009-09-29

2009-09-19

A Reminder For Myself  

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The last few weeks have kept me really busy, hunting for jobs, filling up painful applications that never seem to end and going for job interviews.

The scary thing about it all is how quickly I get so terribly comfortable and absorbed in the Singaporean lifestyle. How quickly I find myself chasing material comfort and momentarily forgetting Khek Noi, the kids, the people.... those who really need our help.

There were moments were I was starting to revive the drive for recognition in the corporate world, nothing wrong about that. But when that pursuit of material comfort slowly eats away my passion of touching lives, i'll be back in square one.

We can always come up with reasons and excuses to justify our every decision. But may I never forget the real reason why I'm doing what I'm doing.

2009-09-08

The Painful Flight Back  

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It was a nostalgic day as I boarded my plane back to Singapore. The sights, the sounds, the all so familiar surroundings... all in exchange for a more urbanized lifestyle.

Arriving Singapore felt strange, it had a sense of familiarity but it strangely felt foreign, almost as though as I'm away from home right here in my homeland. Thoughts of the streetkids flooded through my mind as well as the faces of the elderly folks that we reach out to regularly, their wrinkled smiles that fills my heart with warmth.

Right now I'm blogging in my bedroom and looking towards a new phase in my life, hopefully this phase will be short (or maybe a miracle happens) so I can rush back to rejoin radion full time :)

p/s : Thank you for your encouraging mails and messages.

2009-08-25

Nostalgic Day  

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Today, 4 of us, my 2 Thai staff and Bruce (our PhD intern) headed down the mountain to Phitsanulok to grab the supplies for tomorrow's mission team. This is a routine chore that we do prior to every volunteer team's arrival.Though routine, this trip turned out to be a nostalgic one for me.

As I stood in the all-so-familar surroundings of the Thai hypermart (Tesco Lotus), I was reminded that this would be last time I'll be here; hearing the repetitive thai music while struggling to get groceries that have their labels written only in Thai.

With every step, my heart felt heavier. Looking through the items brought back memories.
Going through the children section, reminiscing how I have previously bought some of these kids on our streetkids program. The dried noodles & bedding section, brought back memories of late nights where Ben and me will be filling our empty stomachs with instant noodles and wondering when will we be able to buy a proper bed instead of sleeping on the floors.

Each section took me back memory lane, though the hard times, happy times and times that was filled with tears.

Finally i stopped by the Audio & Video section to pick out a few educational documentaries for the kiddos. This too brought their faces to mind, and my heart sank knowing that I may not be around to watch these shows with them.

On the journey, Bruce asked me what made me the same question as many of our dearest supporters. A simple but painful question "Why did I decide to leave full time service in Thailand to head back to Singapore?"

Now, we have been on the mission field for some 2 years now and since we started, we have drawing from our personal savings . Its only of late that we managed to draw a small allowance from our lifeline project- CS300. Without CS300 attaining full financial support and the ministry has pressing needs for the money, both the directors bore the burden and survived on a terribly small allowance.

My decision to leave is not a sudden one, neither is it one of disappointment, instead its a hard decision that have been rendered months of careful thought.

With low financial support and insufficient manpower, having Ben to manage the operations in Thailand and me to work in Singapore to support financially would definably be at the best interest of RADION.Without having to cater for allowances, RADION will now be able to free up some funding to employ 2-4 more local destitute villagers to continue and expand our work.

That i guess is the best option right now.

It's saddening just thinking of how to break the news to the kids, but i do hope that i can quickly clear off all my existing commitments and return to Thailand as soon as I can. Missions is fun ;)

So do keep me in your prayers :)

2009-08-18

2 Year Old Child Sexually Abused To Death  

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Yesterday, we received news from the villagers that the body of a 2 year old child was found near the guesthouse. The body had bite marks all over the body and her lips were bitten apart. Investigation indicated that the young toddler has also been raped before being killed.

The hideous act was committed by a local villager who kidnapped the young toddler when he was high sniffing glue. The attacker tried to to silence the girl from screaming and closed her mouth with his hands but she ended up suffocating to death. The arrest has been made however it offers little to the parents who have lost a child.

Glue sniffing/substance abuse is a prevalent problem in the village, attacks are also common ranging from gang rapes to murders. That's the reason why we focus our efforts to bring awareness and aid to children from high risk background such as this to prevent them from going down that path....

2009-08-16

StreetKids! Update Aug 2009  

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The Program
StreetKids! program is a rehabilitation program giving substance abusers and children from high risk backgrounds a second chance to study. The program provides shelter, food and education for each of these needy ones.

The Process
Poor parents will always push their children to be on our program, but only the children who are deemed within the high risk categories are accepted. Most of children are ostracized and their own parents and the village has given up all hope on them.

The Need
Right now on the streetkids program, we have 16 children. 12 have already been sponsored, leaving the following 4 kids who have either completed probation and awaiting a sponsorship, or children who have just joined us



The Children
1 ) Tao ( Waiting For Sponsorship) Tao is a 13 year old young lady who comes from a high risk background. Her father was caught trafficking drugs and she has been left without a fatherly figure in the family. Her mother was a poor odd-job laborer and she subsequently remarried to another villager. Tao in her growing up years had little guidance and was slowly starting to loose interest in school to hang out in the streets with gangs that had a reputation for substance abuse. Tao has just passed her probation with us and will be a needing a sponsor to enable her to continue her rehabilitation program and education.

2 ) Manak (High Risk Family)
Manak's father who is the sole breadwinner for the family was diagnosed with stroke and has since been unable to find work. To make matters worse, Manak's mother is a drug addict(current) and the family has little to make ends meet. Manak is always seen walking around the village barefooted before he joined the program.
Each sponsorship cost just SGD96/month. If you wish to sponsor Manak, please email me at eugene@radion-international.org

3 ) Kua & Tong (On Probation) Tong and Kua are siblings. Both of them come from a complex background of neglect and vice. Tong was recently caught sniffing glue while Kua was well known for stealing. Both these children are not well liked by the village due to their vices. Both are now undergoing probation. They should be up for sponsorship in 2 weeks.

The Rehabilitation
All our child sponsors play a crutial role, not only in providing for these kids financially but also in the area of emotional rehabilitation. Its simple. The sponsors are required to communicate with their sponsored child to let them know that someone cares for them. These children have no sense of hope, but when they know that their sponsors care, they try harder in everything they do so as not to disappoint their sponsors.

Each sponsorship cost just SGD96/month. If you wish to sponsor a child, please email me at eugene@radion-international.org

2009-08-07

Update On John's Brother  

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John's brother was admitted to Khao Khor hospital with a high fever and he was bleeding profusely through his nose.

Upon arrival, it was most disappointing. The doctor on duty was not around and the nurses were terribly rude. One of the nurses asked him, "What are you feeling" and this young man would only muster a inaudible sound as he was having a high fever and having blood choking back in his throat he was unable to talk.

The nurses retorted "Can't you even speak up ?, are you mentaly disabled or what ?"

My medical staff rebuked the nurses telling them that the patient cannot speak clearly because of bleeding. She also relayed my concern to the nurses that it maybe dengue and requested for a them to run proper tests.

This was probably the most disturbing behavior we received from government hospitals which are normally of excellent standards.

Anyway, the boy was admitted to hospital and some blood test were ran. He was diagnosed with dengue fever. He is now out of the red and recovering as we speak.

Thanks for keeping him in your prayers.

Community Development : Hip Hop ?  

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Bruce a PhD student from University of Chicago is now doing his internship with RADION. He is spearheading a new drug awareness project in the local schools under our community development Program.

He has been teaching english in the local school to build rapport and foundation for his drug awareness program.

...and tomorrow, he'll be teaching HIP HOP in the Shophouse! to his students !

A creative way to bring awareness and reach children !

2009-08-05

STK : Tao For Sponsorship  

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We first met Tao during our mass educational outing sometime back last year. We remembered her well as she stood out from the rest of the girls - She got into a fight with our boys on our streetkids boys.

Tao's father was part of a drug trafficking circle and was caught and imprisoned many years back, leaving Tao without a fatherly figure. Tao grew up to be quite a rebel and the mom could no longer control her.

Few months back, Faa (a child on the streetkids program) informed us that Tao was getting into bad company and she has started loosing interest in her studies. Many days, she would play truant just to hang out with her delinquent friends.

Her mother got seriously worried when she heard that her friends are also connected to glue sniffers and her main concern is that Tao may be taken advantaged or even raped by these gangs (which occurs frequently here)

Tao was placed on the high risk children's category in our streetkids program and has been showing positive signs of improvement in our program. She has passed the probabtion phase and is ready to accept a sponsor.

Sponsorship cost SGD96/month and it provides her with a shelter and everything she needs to go through school.

If you would like to sponsor Tao, please email me at eugene@radion-international.org

2009-08-03

Bad News  

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Our sturdy Mitsubishi L200 was our first vehicle donated by supporters.
It cost just under SGD5,000 and has lasted us for almost 2 years.
It has accompanied us on humanitarian operations, used to ferry children to school, carry pigs....etc etc. Everything that the ministry ever needed.

2 months back, an unfortunate incident happened. Our car was parked at the children's home and when my staff started the engine. It refused to start, so we did a check. The batteries are fine but the truck just refused to start.

A mechanic was called in and he did a couple of checks before opening up the engine belt compartment. To our horror, we found a dead rat dangling by its mangled skin in the compartment.


The whole compartment was splattered with blood and organs. The mechanic told us that it was a common sight in the village as rats are known to find cozy places to sleep at nights.

So here are some pictures of what happened.

After checks and repairs, we were told that the truck was only good for another 20,000-30,000km before we have to scrape it. (Below : when engine is started radiator turns into a fountain)




The streetkids! work requires a truck to send the children to school. A 2nd hand truck will cost roughly 10,000SGD. If you would like to sponsor a truck, please contact me at eugene@radion-international.org

2009-08-02

Sunday Emergency  

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Just about 10mins ago, i was called from my office by one of our streetkids to do a home visitation.

John was terribly frantic asking me to quickly visit his brother and render medical aid. According to John, his brother had a bad case of nose bleeding.

We responded to the house call and discovered that it was not a normal case of nose bleeding.
John's brother was lying outside his home on a blood soaked make-shift blanket bed. As we attended to him, he was hardly able to sit up and the fresh blood was literally dripping out of his nose.

As the village ambulance is not available, we turned our outreach vehicle to a make-shift ambulance and sent him to the nearest hospital for further checks. Now the child is on his way to the hospital, do keep him in your prayers.

Gentle Reminders For Visitors  

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General Rules
- Please inform us at least 1 month in advance if you plan to visit us
- RADION management reserves the right to decline visitations or volunteers
- All visitors are to stay at the guesthouse (approx 400baht/night) as we do not have guest rooms
- Transfer cost per truck & driver
200bht/way (from Khek Noi), 500bht/way (from khao khor bus station), 1000bht/way (from Lomsak)
- Local meals are chargable at 60bht/meal
- All visitors are required to be covered with personal insurance before arriving

STK! Sponsors

- You are encouraged to visit your sponsored child at least once a year.
- 2 X meal with your sponsored child will be waived and FOC.
- Each visit should not last for more than 3 days
- Only during the 1st week of each month
- Please send your proposed visit date at least 1 month ahead of time for de-conflicting of resources (ie if we are running humanitarian trips, you will have problems reaching us)

For existing CS300 supporters and friends (non-volunteer visit)
- Each visit is not to last more than 2 days.
- Orientation trips can be organised for teams of 6 and above
- Each trip should be on the 1st week of each month.

Open/Single volunteers
- We accepts only skilled volunteers (translators, trainers, teachers, counsellors, doctors, medical personnel, preferabally proficient in Thai/Hmong languages)
- Only self-supported volunteers with a minimum commitment of 1 month will be considered

Group Volunteering / Mission Teams
- Minimum of 7 days to a max of 18 days
- Minimum of 6 pax
- RADION will quote a full package price for accomodation, transport and meals.
- All mission trippers and group trippers are subjected to a mandatory contribution of SGD200/pax which goes towards the outreach fund

2009-07-26

A Close Shave  

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Last week, Ben received a call from one of our regular informers of a small community living between the borders of Burma and Thailand. This community were struggling to make ends meet and Ben called the informer to our office to discuss further.

To our surprise, the informer retorted saying that he will not reveal anymore information unless we employ him as a regular staff. Immediately we knew that he needed money but he refused to divulge further.

Last Monday, the informer called in again and asked for meeting to discuss this issue in person. Over the meeting, he gave some rough details of this needy population and told us that the only access road will be through the mountains ranges of Chiang Rai. He also asked to be stationed permantly in the vicinity to help us with our outreach (which we found suspicious considering his family is in Phetchabun)

This wek, we're scheduled to head back to Chiang Mai to complete some paperwork and of course this will be a fantastic time conduct a full needs assessment of this new site as well (as per our operating policy) and if we have time -to also conduct a medical outreach.

We set in the rendezvous day and there we went ahead of time. The informer told us that he will meet us on 25 July to bring us to see the site.

On the 24th, we called up the informer to confirm the time and location to meet up but his phone was switched off, immediately we knew something was not right. We called back to his wife and was greeted by a sobbing lady telling us that her husband(the informer) had been arrested in Chiang Rai. On further probing, she told us that he was arrested as he was making his first drug trafficking run into Thailand from Burma.

Now, we know this informer for close to a year and he has always come across as a kindly man who has assisted our humanitarian work without asking for financial remuneration. Many times his entire family will volunteer to come alongside us to help out.

This man, a loving father in a moment weakness, fell prey to the temptation of making quick bucks went ahead to do this run and now his wife and children has to bear the brunt of his actions as he is likely to be put behind bars for the rest of his life.

Our work is always risky. Thinking back, had the arrest been later, the entire medical and needs assessment team would be probably been caught up in the this mess and arrested along with him.

All is over now, but please do keep that guy in prayer as well as his family.

2009-07-15

Article : Thailand to repatriate 4,000 Hmong by year's end, Radio Laos says  

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Posted : Thu, 09 Jul 2009 05:41:44 GMT





Bangkok - Thailand plans to repatriate about 4,000 Hmong refugees to Laos "by force" by the end of this year, Radio Laos said Thursday. Thailand has already repatriated an estimated 2,000 Hmong from its Huai Nam Khao camp and would repatriate the remaining 4,000 to Laos by year's end, the state-run radio station said in a broadcast monitored in Bangkok. "If the Hmong wish to seek resettlement abroad, they will do so from Laos, not from Thailand," the station said. The Thai military, which controls Huai Nam Khao camp in Petchabun province, 270 kilometres north of Bangkok, has been systematically intimidating the camp's ethnic Hmong population to return to Laos, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres, which previously provided food and medical supplies to the camp. On May 20, the aid group announced its decision to end its assistance to the camp after failing to prevent the harassment of the Hmong refugees. The group called on the United Nations and US and French governments to pressure Thailand and Laos to stop the forced repatriation of the Hmong and to allow an independent third party to assess the areas selected for the returnees and to determine whether the returns are voluntary. Many of the Hmong, an ethnic minority group in neighbouring Laos who were used by the US military in their "secret war" against communism in Indochina, said they face persecution and personal danger in their homeland. The Thai and Lao governments have agreed that all residents in the camp must be repatriated to Laos before 2010.

2009-07-13

H1N1 Arrives In Rural Villages  

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Just received news from Ben that H1N1 has arrived in Khek Noi.

Some of our children came down with flu and was sent for testing.
They are Jai, Faa, Tim, Manak, John, Saa, Kut, Kita (All will be quarantined for safety)
Mong, Kanya, Dao, Plaa, Mai Mee and Nuu are all alright.

All the children are tested H1N1 negative.

2009-07-12

A Glimpse Into The Life Of The Poor  

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http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/investigation/20125/government-policies-fail-the-poor

This recent news article showed pictures of the urban poor in Bangkok City. The story is appalling to some in our developed countries, but this cannot be compared to the poorer folks living in the more rural states or among the hilltribes.

Many of the villagers we know live in less then humane conditions and do not have the access to proper assistance programs.

This is one of the houses..... that not the room. that's the entire house.

2009-07-02

StreetKids! Jun 2009  

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Streetkids! Program
An outreach work aiding children from the following area of need :
1 ) History of drug/substance abuse
2 ) High risk family background (drugs/prostitution)
3 ) Abusive & special needs

Each child is tagged to a sponsor who will then commit on a year to year basis to put the child through the program. Each child cost SGD96/month and this includes everything. Yes, everything. From the clothes, to the day care to uniform to hygiene, everything is taken care of.

So this is the picture that some of you have been asking for ;)

Notes : We need more sponsors for this program for newer children undergoing probation or joining the program. Please write to eugene@radion-international.org if you wish to be placed on the sponsorship queue to sponsor the next child in need.

2009-06-13

A Collaboration In Place ?  

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As of now, we are looking towards a collaboration with the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs and provincial governors on how we can go about helping communities in need as well as the Hmong refugees/asylum seekers (ie those who have just arrived in Thailand and have yet to receive any UNHCR papers.)

Main points of emphasis :
1 ) Our regular humanitarian missions are non-political by nature and we have aided both refugees and Thai citizens alike.
2 ) RADION is fully inaugerated as a Thai Charity and has been providing aid (medical, relief and support) to communities since 2007.

Credentials :
Jan 2009
RADION responded to the government's declaration for cold disaster and
responded with providing some 500 warm blankets and relief to affected areas and communities.

Since Jan 2008
RADION (Streetkids! Project) has provided housing and assistance to children involved in substance abuse and from high risk families.

RADION provided jobs to abused womenfolk and destitute communities though our community development projects.

Since June 2008
RADION has provided humanitarian assistance to the Hmong Lao refugees in Nong Khai Immigration Detention Centre

2008
RADION provided translation staff to MSF in support of medical operations in Huay Nam Khao camp

July 2007 - Jan 2008
RADION has provided humanitarian assistance (medical, food & relief) in Huay Nam Khao refugee camp.

Oct 2007 - Nov 2007
RADION assisted in an unexpected cold in Huay Nam Khao refugee camp by providing 1500 blankets to needy families.

2009-06-10

Being Watched  

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The old news :
RADION International (Thailand) has finally received full accreditation as a Thai charity after more than a 1 year wait.

The new news :
We're applying through the governmental channel to grant us access to the main Laotian refugee camp and they have set down several conditions and gave us a list of paperwork to complete.

Some of the more interesting notes :
1 ) Names of 10 permanent staff that will be working in the refugee camp.
2 ) All 10 must be present at the camp gate before access is granted
3 ) No additional staff is allowed

So yes. Now you see the challenges.

Newer News :
Just yesterday, we also received a mail from my secretary in Thailand telling us that the Thai ministry has informed her that they are watching all our media releases, from youtube to web etc etc. And they have been watching us from the sidelines for a long time.

They also claim that they have watched our outreaches at Site X first hand and the good news is that they know that we are genuinely helping the community through our relief work. The bad news is that they were not too pleased about us assisting the whole Hmong refugees community- quoting that some of the Hmong do not have official UNCHR certificates as such they are illegal migrants. So their implication is that we should focus on the refugees only.

(Background : These so called illegal migrants are all waiting for their UNHCR papers to be approved and last heard, these papers have been put on hold as the Thai government wishes to handle this issue unilaterally.)

So its quite a check mate here. But keep us in your prayers.

2009-05-26

Streetkids! Update  

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Mai Mee, Mong and Kita have all completed their probation. Among the 3 kids, 2 have been sponsored by Li-En and Jocelyn.

Mong is now open for sponsorship. Please drop me a note if you wish to sponsor Mong. eugene@radion-international.org

Note :
1 ) Tau a young teenage girl from a high risk family will be under probation till next month. Do look out for her if you wish to sponsor her.

2 ) Manip (high risk) will be joining the program next week

FRT May 2009 - 14-24 May  

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Day 1 : Transportation
A full day of traveling from Bangkok to Phetchabun. This journey took us some 7 hours to complete, reaching Phetchabun around evening.

Day 2 : Training & Preparations
A entire day of intensive language and cultural training

Day 3 : STK Outing Day 1 (Lan Hin Taek)
This was when we brought the children from destitute families out on an educational excursion. Laan Hin Taek is translated as the field of the broken rocks. Its a nature reserve boasting stunning scenary. Halfway through the trip, we realised to our horror that the kids were plucking flowers, uprooting plants from the park to give to the volunteers.

Day 4 : STK Outing Day 2 (Khao Khor Park + Swimming)
This day we had a full day of tele-matches and of course not forgetting the mandatory swimming time at the village lake. Aterwhich, we had a campfire session with the children before seeing them off back home.


Day 5 : Village Outreach
Day 6 : Village Outreach
Day 7 : Village Outreach
3 Days of visiting destitute families with medical and food supplies.

Day 8 : Destitute BBQ
Today we gathered some 60-80 destitute villagers for a simple meal together. We also slaughtered a black pig for this event as most of the poor had no opportunity to eat meat very often, not to mention black pigs.

Day 9 : R&R + Logistics Packing
Our retreat was at Khao Khor Highlands Resort and just prior to lunch, we rushed back for about 3 hours of packing and logistics loading for the refugee settlement.


Day 10 : Site X
Morning : Children's outreach & Milk! Mission


Afternoon : Medical Mission

Evening : Relief Distribution

Day 11 : Return

2009-05-20

MSF Video On Hmong Lao  

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MSF Video On Hmong Lao

Click Here

Update : Deperate Hmong Lao Threatening Suicide  

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A report was received this morning informing us that the Thai government officials had decided to deport all 158 refugees in Nong Khai and no resettlement (to 3rd countries) will be granted for these Hmong Lao refugees.

All 158 refugees have been issued with UNHCR refugee certificates and have been held up in the immigration detention center indefinitely without any hope of being repatriated. They have been locked up for the last 2 years in less than humane conditions.

Our source also informed us that the authorities told them that the only way to be relocated would be to return to Laos first and applying to be resettled.

Right now, the refugees are in a desperate and emotional state. Many have threatened mass suicide if the deportation happens. They claim that if they are forcibly deported back to Laos, they will be tortured to death.

Press : Laos Military Kills 9 Hmong Children In Attack  

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Laos Military Kills 9 Hmong Children In Attack
Tuesday, 5 May 2009, 12:03 pm
Press Release: Center for Public Policy Analysis

Laos Military Kills 9 Hmong Children In Attack

Bangkok, Thailand and Washington, D.C. , May 5, 2009, For Immediate Release

The Lao military killed at least nine (9) Hmong children in an April 3, 2009, attack on Lao Hmong civilians hiding in the Phou Da Phao area of Xieng Khouang Provice, Laos.

"Multiple sources in Laos, including Lao government and Hmong sources from within the Lao Peoples Democractic Republic (LPDR) regime as well as refugees, have recently confirmed the bloody April 3, 2009, attack by the Lao military that left dozens of civilians dead and wounded, including 9 Hmong children who were confirmed killed, whose bodies were recovered and buried by their families," said Philip Smith, Executive Director of the Center for Public Policy Analysis (CPPA) in Washington, D.C.
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Smith continued: "On April 3, 2009, Lao military forces deliberately targeted for ethnic cleansing three Lao Hmong civilians groups in the jungle and mountain area of Phou Da Phao who they brutally attacked and began slaughtering with machine guns and other weapons, the victims included many innocent Lao Hmong children, and villagers. The confirmed Hmong children's names and ages killed by Lao military and security forces in the April 3rd attack against unarmed Hmong civilians groups at Phou Da Phao, Laos, include: Ker Lee, 10 years old; Xue Thao, 8; Thong Thao, 7; Ka Lee, 6, Moua Thao, 3; Yer Thao, 4; Thao Houa, 2 ; Kao Lee, 1; and Chia Thao, 15 years old."

"Many more Laotian and Hmong women and children have been captured, or have disappeared, or else killed in the jungle of Laos, as a result of additional attacks that have been launched in recent weeks and months by the Lao military; However, we have the confirmed deaths and bodies of nine (9) Hmong children in Laos that were the result of the Lao government's military attack of April 3 at Phou Da Phao, " Philip Smith concluded.

Recently, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the BBC, New York Times, Al Jazzera, Time Magazine and other independent human rights organizations and journalists have documented the Lao military's attacks and atrocities against Lao Hmong civilians and political and religious dissident groups seeking sanctuary in the jungles and mountains of Laos.

"Cher Tong Thao, Nom Long Lee and Tong Pao Yang are leading unarmed Lao Hmong civilians groups in-hiding, composed of mostly sickly women and children survivors, trying to protect them from LPDR ethnic cleansing operations and military attacks in Laos, as well as the Lao military's cruel efforts to starve them to death," stated Vaughn Vang, Director of the Hmong Lao Human Rights Council.

Vaughn Vang continued: "The unarmed and defenseless Lao Hmong civilians, especially the women and children who are so very hungry, are crying out and pleading for emergency help from the United Nations and world community as well as the United States, Amnesty International and human rights organizations, to please immediately put pressure on the Lao Communist government, the LPDR, to withdrawal all its military forces, and to stop attacking, and ambushing all locations of Hmong civilians in-hiding in the jungle of the Phou Da Phao mountain area."

"They are only civilians, women and children; Their only wish is to live peacefully, free from persecution, torture and killings of the Lao Communist regime," Vaughn Vang observed.

A spokesperson, who spoke on condition of anonymity, in Laos for three of the surviving Hmong groups in hiding, that have been under attack in Laos in the Phou Da Phao mountain area of Xieng Khouang Province in recent weeks and months, issued the following statement describing the situation: "We the Hmong civilians in-hiding in the jungle of Phou Da Phao currently are surrounded by the Lao communist government military forces. The Lao PDR military are ambushing us everywhere in the mountains; hills, rivers, and where ever natural food is growing that we can try and eat. Water and food are currently cut off, we are starving, while our people are being hunted and being killed daily. All of us will likely be killed in the next few weeks without help."

The Lao Hmong spokesperson who witnessed the attack of April 3, and other recent LPDR attacks and atrocities against the Lao Hmong civilians continued: "The Lao military is surrounding and launching heavy attacks and ambushes with troops and artillery from everywhere in the mountains, hills, and river valleys around the mountain area of Phou Da Phao,"

2009-05-19

STK Mass Outing May 09  

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Just over the weekend, we had the first mass children's outing involving 2 villages. Khek Noi and Huay Nam Khao.

Over the 2 days, we brought some 50-60 kids out to Lan Hin Taek (Field Of broken stones) for excursion. The second day we had telematches and mass games in Khao Khor before heading to the final place - a place where children never get bored.... the brown watered village lake !

Pictures will follow shortly

2009-05-14

Head Office Temp Relocation  

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For the next 2 months, the RADION head office in Chiang Mai will be relocated to Phetchabun for renovation. So for the next few months the field office will be the main hub.

Send all your correspondences here if necessary :)

Phetchabun Field Office

3/1 Moo 8,

Tambon Khek Noi

Amphur Khao Kho

Phetchabun 67280

+66 5692 5580