by Derek Franklin
Founded in Switzerland in the late nineteenth century, Roche has become one of the world’s leading healthcare companies, employing almost one hundred thousand and producing drugs used in the treatment of cancers, depression, HIV, malaria and epilepsy, to name just a few.
In 1971 it opened its first office in Thailand and each year since then the company has supported local Thai charities, big and small.
This year the Father Ray Foundation was fortunate to be selected to be Roche’s chosen charity and receive all the proceeds from the annual Roche Children’s Charity Walk.
Not only did a large contingent from the company arrive at the Father Ray Foundation, they also organised a wonderful art activity where the children from the Father Ray Center for Children with Special Needs were given a brand-new t-shirt which they then painted.
The managing director together with the executive director presented Father Peter, president of the Father Ray Foundation with a cheque for 470,000 baht.
A few days later more than 150 children and teenagers from the Foundation, as well as those living in other charitable organizations, gathered together at the Father Ray Children’s Home for a three day – two night camp where the main focus and topic of conversation was drugs, the bad ones.
There is a big problem in Thailand with drugs, ya-ba, Ice, methamphetamines, call it what you want, but young people in Thailand are not only taking recreational drugs, they are also becoming addicted.
The aim of the camp was to introduce the children to the dangers of taking drugs, no matter how trendy they may be, or how cheap, or if all your friends are taking them.
Children from the Children’s Home shared tents with the blind students, teenagers with special needs, students from the vocational school and newly made friends from Baan Jing Jai.
They listened to experts, watched videos, heard some real life stories and joined in activities to not only be aware of the dangers of illegal drugs, but activities which increase confidence and self esteem, as well as have a lot of fun.
We can only hope that they learned that there is nothing positive or good about taking illegal drugs.