Ort's house is in Klong Toey slum - the largest slum area in Bangkok. Like many houses in this area, it is a simple and makeshift wooden structure that sits on unstable ground, directly above the khlong (sewage water). Often, during the wet season, these houses are visited by pythons who come up through the floor.
Ort's house has become increasingly dilapidated and dangerous to live in - it was burnt to the ground in 1995, and rebuilt using recycled wooden planks. Many of the boards have since weakened and become unsafe to even walk on. Two weeks ago, several floor boards broke in half and Ort's elderly mother fell through the floor, injuring her leg. The floor next to their small bathroom now sits at a precarious 45 degree angle, making their bathroom inaccessible. It is clear that it is only a matter of time before they will be unable to enter and live in this house at all.
Ort has talked to a local builder who has told her that the house needs to be rebuilt, with a new, solid foundation and a concrete base - but the cost of doing this is estimated at 120,000 baht (£2,800 or USD 3,750).
Ort is 38 years old. Because she suffers from a severe case of psoriatic arthritis, which makes it difficult to stand for long periods of time or walk for long distances, Ort has found it difficult to maintain a paid job. Her main source of income is through two informal jobs: the coordination work she does for Proseed, the jewellery group that Amalee established in 2002 to help low income women in Klong Toey slum, as well as another faith-based group called Hope Cards. We have long considered her to be trustworthy and hard working, but Ort and Khun Nuan have a combined income of just 243 baht per day, which is equivalent to £5.60 or USD 7.50.
Because of Ort's situation, the sum of money needed for rebuilding the house is completely out of her reach, so we have pledged to help her by setting up this crowdfunding campaign. We are putting in some of our own money to get this done as quickly as possible.
Please can you help us? A donation of any size will bring us closer to getting a new home for Ort and her mother.
To ensure full transparency in this fund-raising effort, we will gladly share itemized quotes given to Ort by local builders in the area, as well as a breakdown of how all donated money has been spent on the repairs.
Here are some pictures of Ort's house, in order to give you an idea of the situation they are living in:
The exterior of the house has been patched up many times over the years.
This is where Ort and he mum sleep, on the floor.
In this photo you can see how the floor has collapsed and now slopes away from the bathroom door frame. Despite enduring a life of grinding urban poverty, Ort takes care of several dogs and cats in her area.
The gradual collapse of the floor and Ort's poor health have combined to make it very difficult to manage the house in an orderly manner.
Reticulated Pythons are regularly seen in the slums. This is one that Amalee and I encountered there with Ort last year.
UPDATE, 5th December 2018.
Thanks to the generosity of our friends in supporting this campaign we were able to get the work started last week to rebuild Ort's house. We are still some way short of our target, but are working with the builder to build in efficiencies based on what we are able to raise. This means WE ARE STILL looking for donations in case your are looking for a worthy cause to support as the festive season approaches.
Here are some photos of the work undertaken so far...
This image shows the old structure being removed - rotten wooden floorboards over stinking, fetid water that often hosts pythons. The builders undertook heavy work to establish a new foundation for the rebuilding work.
The new concrete floor and breeze-block walls installed! These photos were taken today (5th Dec) and as you can see building work is well underway. Clearly Ort's quality of life will be hugely improved once the work is completed.
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