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Bangkok Travelbug Aug 2017 Wat Sa Kaeo Orphanage Pa Mok
July 27, 2017
The Wat Sa Kaeo Orphanage
Wat Sa Kaeo is an old temple built in 1699 during the Ayutthaya period. The temple was originally called Wat Sa Kae until 1952 when the name was changed to Wat Sa Kaeo. In 1942 an abbot took in about 10 children who were orphans or from very poor families, to feed and educate them.
This was the humble start of the Wat Sa Kaeo Orphanage. The abbot had a difficult time as those years were during World War II when the country faced deprivations and few people offered any help.
But he persevered and today the Wat Sa Kaeo Orphanage has 2,300 children, both boys and girls with ages ranging from 2 – 18 years. The children consist of orphans as well as children from very poor families or disadvantaged for various reasons. About 70% of the children are from the hill tribes, most of whom would be stateless, the rest are Thai citizens.
Garden in Wat Sa Kaeo
We were fortunate to meet the current abbot of Wat Sa Kaeo and the administrator of the Wat Sa Kaeo School, Dr Phra Maha Phairoh Thitsilo, 66 who has been in this position for the last nine years. The abbot gave us a briefing on the orphanage and its operations.
Dr Phra Maha Phairoh Thitsilo
With the abbot’s permission, we toured the temple area and had the opportunity of visiting the dining hall while the children were having dinner, which is served at 5:00 pm. The children are given three meals a day.
Queuing up for dinner
The serving points are manned by the older children
Mangoes for dessert
Here’s an idea of the food consumption rates; the children consume 10 bags of rice per day, each bag containing 50 kg of rice, that’s 500 kg or 1,102 lbs, about half a ton!
Some of the other items of daily use that the orphanage requires are:
The monthly operating expenses for the orphanage amount to about 1 million baht or about US$30,000.
Having dinner with friends
The younger boys eating together
No shortage of fruits here
Temples in Thailand usually have a school in its vicinity that is named after the temple. This is an old tradition going back to the time when temples were the centres of learning and before government and private schools were developed.
Wat Sa Kaeo has got three schools in its vicinity catering for the orphans at various level of education. There are 130 teachers for these three schools, with 2,300 children in the orphanage, that’s about 17 students to a teacher. Some of the teachers are from China, India and the Philippines. The rest are Thai.
The three schools are:
Thai Rath Withaya 6 School
The teachers and staff of the first two schools are paid by the state. The teachers and staff of the Wat Sa Kaeo School are paid by the foundation for the orphanage. The latter are paid a monthly salary of 15,000 baht (approx. US$450) with no increments or bonuses.
Bang Sadet Withayakom School
One of the main buildings in the Wat Sa Kaeo School is sponsored by the Chairman of Charoen Pokphand, an agro-industrial and food conglomerate. The kindergarten and playground in the Wat Sa Kaeo School are sponsored by Bangkok Bank and MK Restaurants.
Wat Sa Kaeo School
Wat Sa Kaeo Kindergarten
With the help of generous sponsors, some of the more promising students have made it to study overseas; two in China, three in India and two in the USA.
A month before our visit a delegation from Brunei visited Wat Sa Kaeo, together with iCare Thailand Foundation, to present scholarships to some of the students.
Visitors from Brunei
The Boys’ Hostel is just across the road from the main entrance to the temple.
The boys’ hostel
The Girls Hostel is located near the Wat Sa Kaeo School. As it was a weekend, the children were left very much on their own. They were free to wander around the premises and play among their friends after dinner.
The girls’ hostel near the Wat Sa Kaeo School
We had difficulties locating the Thai Rath Withaya 6 School and asked this group of girls on their way back from dinner to show us the way. They did and sportingly agreed to have their photos taken too.
The dog decided to join in
On our way out, we came across these two girls who were helping to keep the place clean.
Keep up the good work, girls!
How can we help? Next time we want to take a day trip out of Bangkok, visit the Wat Sa Kaeo Orphanage and the children instead. Our visits would mean something for the children. All donations are welcome, in cash or kind, both large or small. Donations can be made at the multi-purpose hall. Our efforts will be very much appreciated.
We can help fill his tray
"May those who find themselves in trackless, fearful wilderness – the children, the aged, the unprotected – be guarded by beneficent celestials, and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood."
"What we do to our children is done to society."
Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."
Mathew 19:14 (New International Version)
Our thanks to Dr. Phra Maha Phairoh Thitsilo, the abbot of Wat Sa Kaeo for providing information on the orphanage and his kind permission for us to take a tour around the temple and orphanage.
Map to the Wat Sa Kaeo Orphanage
If the map doesn’t appear, click on this link
How to get there
Take the Don Muang Toll Way out of Bangkok – join Highway 1 – Highway 32 past Ayutthaya – Highway 329 to Pa Mok – at Pa Mok junction turn left to Highway 309 that leads all the way to Wat Sa Kaeo.
Wat Sa Kaeo Orphanage
1/1 Mu Ban 6
Tambon Bang Sadet
Amphur Pa Mok
Tel no: 03-586-8398-9, 08185-29057
Opening hours and admission fees
Opening hours every day from 0800 – 1800 hours
Admission is free
Wat Sang Kratai, Ang Thong
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