Together we can make a difference!

Those of you that know us well will know something of the story of our family, and that in 2011 we adopted our two beautiful children. You might also know that this has been by far the hardest and most rewarding thing we have ever taken on. It has challenged and fulfilled us in equal measure.

Due to the children’s traumatic early years, trauma and loss, the typical school system was not able to support and nurture the children or allow them the flexibility to focus on their individual needs. So in April 2015 we decided to take a huge and scary leap of faith and began home educating the children so that we could focus on building good secure attachments, confidence and self esteem to enable their academic learning in time.

This has taken us on an unexpcted and enlightening journey that has seen the children transformed into beautiful kind and caring children.

It has not been without difficultes, but the experience has opened our eyes to alternative methods of education and helped us understand what's actualy important in growing and nurturing young, inquisitive and non-typical minds.

Over the last few months we have been in thinking about setting some personal and educational goals for 2018. Some of you may have followed our Home Education journey so far and will know that we have always encouraged mindfulness, and to be thankful for the opportunities we have available to us.

We feel it's important that children are not only educated in acedemic subjects but also to have a global perspective and understand that not everyone in the world is a lucky as we are or have those same opportunties available to them. We have loved learning about the planet, the environment, the animals and people that share it with us.

We have made the decision to base our curriculum this year on the concepts of the 'The Big Life Journal', a special journal that invites you to eplore interesting and thought provoking topics. 

The main themes are:

* Make a difference in the world
* Dream Big
* Follow your heart
* You are not what you have
* Beleive in yourself
* Take action
* Be persistent
* Effort is key
* Love learning
* Be mindful
* Be grateful
* Be positive 

With this in mind we have been in touch the Children's Shelter Foundation in Chaing Mai, Thailand and a local elephant and wildlife sanctuary with the aim of arranging a once in a lifetime learning adventure where we will have the opportunity to give back, meet new people, support a local community and learn about the culture first hand by spending some time volunteering with them.

The Children's Shelter Foundation provides a home, education and training to children in need and underprivileged young people from the surrounding mountain villages.  

The wildlife sanctuary provides a home for old, injured and retired elephants needing rest and/or permenant care giving them a chance to live free and to live free and have a good rest in a natural environment. In addition the team has rescued many cats and dogs over the years which roam free in a safe and healthy environment. Some aspects of the trip includes:

Teaching English
This provides the local children with better opportunities in life and a chance to live outside the farm. We also plan to collect and take educational materials such as books and pencils.

Planting Trees
Every year, during the rainy season trees are planted to give back to the environment and we can help by joining as a volunteer.

Environmental Conservation
Joining the village children in regular clean up days, removing unhygienic waste.

Visit the local weaving village
To support a group of elderly ladies who run a weaving club.

Cooking classes
Learning how to make some local Thai food.

Assist in small projects around the local area
Such as building a shelter or clearing old building materials.

Visit the Temple
To support the local community and learn about spirituality and local beliefs.

Learn about traditional Thai herbal medicine and healing
Including medication for the animals and the local steaming spa which is a traditional Thai healing centre where steam and herbs are used to remove chemicals from the body.

Elephant Care
To help care for, raise awareness and learn about elephants from a different perspective and help us bring an end to the abuse and exploitation of these majestic creatures.

* Bath the Elephants
* Walk to see the Elephants in the forest
* Learn about the Elephants
* Prepare the Elephants food
* Feed the Elephants
* Clean the Elephant area
* Help care for all the other rescued animals

With the concept of Take Action in mind we have set up this gofundme page today on 1st January so that we can start to share our plan and begin to riase the funds!

We intend to book the trip in the summer (subject to succesful fundraising!) and travel next Autumn to immerse oursleves in the 'Yi Peng' Festival of Lights that takes place on 25th November (and benefit from the cooler weather).

We have set an estimated target of £3,000 but this may change if we can succesfully secure sponsorship for flights, or raise money through the other fund raising activities that the children are planning during the year- we'll keep you posted as things progress. The timeline may be flexible depending on how succesfuly we can raise the funds!

We hope you will help us Make a difference in the world. We are positive that with effort, persisitence (and your help!) we can make this Big Dream a reality! 

Thank you!
Vickie, Jazmin & Arun


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Vickie Parris 
Preston Saint Mary, East of England, United Kingdom
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