Festival gifts bring a smile to the children of Khlong Toey slums

After three successful Festival of Light events, the committee had a number of gifts left over from Santa’s Grotto.

One of the committee members, Michele Savage, a former employee of The Original Cottage Company, now spends much of the year in Bangkok, Thailand, where she teaches English to the children of the city’s slums. She asked the committee if they would consider donating the gifts to the children’s Christmas party and the committee was delighted to do this.
Below is a report of the party, which it is hoped will be the start of a relationship between the Reepham Festival of Light and the children of Khlong Toey.
Was it a Valentine’s Day party or a Christmas party? Whatever it was the 80 children at Mercy Centre kindergarten had a ball when some crazy members of the British Women’s Group (BWG) arrived on 14 February bearing gift bags filled with gifts from the BWG and the Reepham Festival of Light committee, and a monster bag of the cutest teddies.
The party had been delayed owing to the recent death of Thailand’s King, Bhumibol Adulyadej, and the period of mourning that followed.
As it was Valentine’s Day we were all greeted by the children, who adorned us with heart and rose stickers, as is the tradition in Thailand.
Lots of fun and games followed, and although they were new games to the children they soon got the hang of Musical Statues (well sort of) and Pass the Parcel (just like British kids they didn’t want to “pass” it on).
The Hokey Cokey got out of hand as always, but was great fun. The children all took the opportunity to have their face painted and eventually sat down to lunch for a well-earned rest.
Of course, the exciting bit was to come when Father Christmas arrived. Each child received a teddy and their gift bag from Santa and had their photo taken with him.
They were soon all sitting on the floor looking at their goodies with big smiles on their faces, wearing their glow-in-the-dark glasses and blowing the whistles donated by Reepham Festival of Light. The special Christmas gift bags also donated by the FoL were used as prizes, as were the beautiful colouring books.
Everyone had a great time and the children of Khlong Toey want to say a big thank you to the Reepham Festival of Light committee for their Christmas gifts.
Michele Savage
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