The Alice Gleinster Foundation memorial web site. In loving memory of Alice Glenister 1984 - 2003

The First Alice Home

In September 2003 Malcolm, Mary, Tom and Chloe (Alice’s best friend) visited Thailand so we could meet the Pansomboon family who Alice had stayed with, and also to see the orphanage where she worked for three months. (See First trip to Thailand)

There are 1300 children at Wat Sarkaew Orphanage and school and most of the buildings they sleep in are in a very poor condition. The kindergarten girls were sleeping with the older girls, who helped to look after them. The dormitories are in rotting wooden structures where they sleep on the first floor, up steep stairs, 40-50 of them in a space of 12’ x 16’. The toilet block is detached from the dormitories, and at night it is unsafe for the girls to walk down steep unlit stairs to visit the toilet. So, many of them wet their bedding, which consisted of a thin blanket on the floor.

During our visit we noticed that The Ronald McDonald Foundation had built the kindergarten boys a new dormitory block with their own toilets and showers.

So we decided that we must return to the UK to raise enough money to build the 120 kindergarten girls a home of their own, with proper facilities.

After much fundraising our first Alice Home was completed at the end of January 2005 and was opened by Her Majesty's Ambassador to Thailand on Saturday February 19th 2005. The building contains three dormitories which will be home to 120 kindergarten girls at the Wat Sarkaew Orphanage in Ang Thong Province. There is a recreation room and two shower/toilet blocks.

The Foundation has completely furnished the building and landscaped the grounds. The opening ceremony was a wonderful occasion. We (that is Malcolm, Mary, Tom and 8 of our trustees and friends, plus the lovely Pansomboon family who have been such an enormous help) arrived to the sight of all the children and staff, a Band playing and flags flying, including a Union Jack. The Ambassador and his wife were utterly charming and very informal.

We had a solemn monks ceremony where they blessed the building, then both Malcolm and the ambassador made a speech. We were then presented with beautiful porcelain gifts by the Deputy Governor of the Province and entertained by the children. We saw some Thai dancing by some of the older girls and then the younger boys and girls put on a brilliant display of singing and dancing.

After lunch was served we placed the 120 donated teddy bears onto the girls beds. Their faces were a real picture when they cuddled their new gifts.

All this has been achieved at the staggeringly low price of 56,000. So it shows just how far money will stretch in Thailand. Whilst in Thailand, we visited two other orphanages which are both in desperate need of assistance. One in particular looks after 76 boys and girls. The only adults to care for them all are 5 monks. The boys sleep in an open sided barn/store room and wash in the river. The girls accommodation is little better, and they have to do all the cooking, quite a task for such young children as the oldest is only 14. They all attend a government school next to the orphanage where they do at least get lunch, but all too often there are not enough funds for breakfast and supper. So we have a great deal more work to do.

The Alice plaque

 

The British Ambassador, Mr David Fall and his wife Gwendoline, presenting Mary & Malcolm with a photo of the "Alice Home".

The opening ceremony.

Some of the orphans

Orphans with their teddy bears.

Traditional Thai dancing.

Photo of Alice on the reception room wall

The Trustees and friends with the Pansomboon family.

The wonderful Pansomboon Family.

Mary presenting a special teddy from America to Wanpen aged 5.

(Click here to see our second project, The Alice Pavillion)