Ban Rom Sai started as an orphanage for children affected by HIV / AIDS, and was established in 1999 by Ms. Miwa Natori in the suburbs of Chiang Mai. When Natori visited a German doctor who lived in Thailand with her friend and stayed in Thailand, she helped care for HIV-infected people under the guidance of the German doctor. One day before the HIV-infected woman died, she took Natori’s hand and lamented, “I’m not worried because I’m going to heaven, but I’m really worried about the children left behind.” Natori took care of her mother, promising, “Don’t worry, I’ll take care of them.” She then set up an orphanage, Ban Rom Sai, to raise HIV-infected orphans in the suburbs of Chiang Mai. At that time, AIDS was rampant in Thailand, and many people were infected and died. Since many children lost their parents due to this disease, and many were born HIV positive through mother-infant infection, it was a quick decision to establish a living facility accommodating 30 children. At the time of establishment, many children appeared AIDS and died. Natori herself attended 10 children’s deathbed. Nowadays therapeutic drugs have become widespread, leading to a normal life and preventing mother-infant infection. Currently, Ban Rom Sai accepts HIV-infected children as well as children who have difficulty living with their parents due to various reasons.
Ban Rom Sai is operated by donations from the NPO Banromsai Japan, which sends the collected donations and profits from selling originally produced clothes and accessories. They are also making various efforts such as having soccer players and artists from Japan come and teach them so that children will be interested in art and soccer in addition to their study.
OCA has been cooperating with the operation of library projects since 2013. We donate 400,000 yen every year. The library is an after-school place for not only the children of Ban Rom Sai, but also the children of the village. Previously, there was a prejudice against HIV infection and orphans in the area, and Ban Rom Sai and the children were isolated, but by opening the library, Ban Rom Sai children and local children became participating in the event together. The mutual understanding deepened by studying, and now it has become the center of communication in the region. Not only you can acquire knowledge by reading books, but you can also acquire public rules such as using computers in order and taking good care of books.
Donations to OCA’s library project include not only the purchase of new books and DVDs, but also the purchase of prizes for reading impression contests and Thai holiday-themed essay and picture contests, and maintenance costs for computers and printers. It is used to support operating expenses such as purchasing consumables. We hope that the use of this facility will improve the quality of education for children and help close the gap in educational opportunities between urban and rural areas. We want it to be a place where children can develop their dreams for the future.