Daniel Marco Siegfried
Co-Founder and Head Projects
Temperatures are dropping and at the nearby grocery store Christmas music is playing to get shoppers in a festive mood. Yes, another year is coming to an end and it is time to look back, reflect and realise that most New Year’s resolutions are still only just that. And when I look into the mirror and see a few new wrinkles, I ask myself whether they are from worrying or laughing…or a little bit of both.
Although 2018 was another very successful and rewarding year for Child’s Dream, it was not entirely without challenges and worries.
At the end of every year I feel proud and satisfied with what we have achieved as a team, but at the end of this year I feel even more proud than usual because I know that quite a few of our colleagues had a rather tough year due to health, relationships or family matters. And despite all these personal challenges we were able to pull together as a team, help each other out and continue to implement many projects and serve more and more beneficiaries. Hence, this strong team spirit was celebrated during our 15 year anniversary retreat in November, which was definitely the highlight of the year. The whole team went for four days to relax and enjoy the South of Thailand.
Our Basic Education team constructed an amazing 46 schools, six boarding houses, 21 playgrounds and five water systems. In addition, we expanded our programmes to improve the quality and relevance of education such as our teacher training on both school management and teaching methodology. Our high school scholarship programme selected 331 new students, bringing the total number of currently enrolled scholarship students to 768 in the region.
Our Higher Education team was equally busy. They successfully launched a new undergraduate scholarship programme in Myanmar. Our university scholarship programmes currently support 201 motivated young adults poised to be the future leaders of their communities. They also engaged in four new partnerships. In Myanmar we are now supporting teacher training for ethnic education providers through ‘Rural Indigenous Sustainable Education’ (RISE) and we added an additional academy under our Myanmar Community Academies Programme (MCAP), based in Taunggyi. In Cambodia we are now working with Feeding Dreams to provide hospitality training to marginalised youth. In Laos we launched a new initiative together with ‘Education Zone for Youth’ to build life skills and leadership capacity for our scholarship students.
Our Health team continued to strengthen and expand our school health programmes, now serving about 4,500 students in Myanmar. Our Children’s Medical Fund not only accepted well over 150 new patients to provide life-saving operations, but also upgraded our patients’ safe house in Chiang Mai.
All of this would not have been possible without our amazing administration team that oils the whole Child’s Dream engine and ensures that it runs like a Swiss clock and, of course, our loyal donors who provide the fuel to run the engine.
Despite all the challenges that we have faced this year, I realise that my wrinkles are still mostly from laughter and happiness that Child’s Dream, our colleagues and our donors bring me every day! Thank you very much for all your support and for giving me happy wrinkles!