About Our Founder – Lisa Nesser
I have been working with people on the margins of society; mostly Refugees and Indigenous people since college. I started working with Bosnian refugees in my hometown; St. Louis, Missouri, USA through a family friendship that developed between my family and a local Bosnian family.
From them I learned what it is to be a Refugee; what particular struggles a landless, stateless person goes through; emotionally, physically and legally.
This association provoked me to work with other refugee groups, I was eventually led on a journey through Asia since 2000, volunteering for three years with a Tibetan Refugee camp in Southern India and then on to working with Burmese Refugees both at the Burmese border and in the second largest city of Thailand; Chiang Mai (where I currently reside).
While working through other organizations I saw a need that wasn’t being addressed – education for the street kids that are usually Refugees or Indigenous (hill tribe) people. There was no where for them to get an education, no where for them to feel safe and be kids.
So, I started my own school for them, at my house, where it is still located. I made sure to find a house with a small garden so we could teach outdoors and use the environment in our lessons. We also have a place where the kids can wash up, change into clean clothes and relax; looking through books or playing with puzzles. All of our educational toys and materials are made of natural materials such as bamboo and wood so the students feel connected to their traditional ways of life.
We do a lot with very little. Running the learning center, our charity cafe; Free Bird Cafe and our charity donation center where we collect/distribute and sell donations is really three full time jobs so I don’t have time to work another one. That means that all of the money to run all of our projects has to come from donations from the public and money we can generate in our charity cafe. If you are inspired by this story or our mission at all, please consider making a donation today to help keep our doors open.
What A Wonderful World It Would Be, If…
This is a poem that my aunt Mary Nesser wrote for me when I was home visiting. It came after a discussion about what is happening to children all over the world and what I am trying to do with the Thai Freedom House learning center here in Thailand.
She has always been a gifted poet and often writes touching pieces for members of our family. I really appreciate this one:
What A Wonderful World It Would Be, If…
If every hungry child could lie down at night to sleep,
Knowing in the morning there would be some food to eat.
What a wonderful world it would be.
If the governments in every country would set aside supplies,
There would be no more hunger pangs nor stabbing children’s cries.
If every well-to-do house hold across the globe sent one bag of rice,
They would have made no sacrifice.
Yet, to a million hungry people it could sustain their lives.
If every Church and Ministry throughout this humble land,
Would donate next Sunday’s offerings and lend a helping hand,
It would provide the basic needs of thousands of villages
Who have not the strength to stand.
If every successful company reached out to give a small amount,
They could fill the mouths of more hungry people,
Than you or I can count.
If every department store across the nation donated just one
Blanket for every thousand they sold,
No mother would fear the death of her child asleep in the cold.
If every hospital in this country sent a small box of medical supplies,
It might spare humans the disparity from the pain in which they lie.
Without medicine and clean bandages many more shall die.
A hungry childs cries for food is one of the saddest sounds I know,
Their little tummies curl up in pain and death is sure and slow.
They survive their war torn country only to be told,
That there will be
No food on the table and no shelter from the cold.