About International Humanity Foundation

Half of IHF's mission is to educate the poor and the other half is to educate the world about the poor. Our vision is to strive for a world of leaders and citizens who have interacted with, and are truly knowledgeable about the world's poor. We believe in a "pass it on" philosophy where education is free and available for all who seek it. Those of us who have received a free education pass it on by helping others less fortunate by teaching, interacting and learning. With just a few hours a week, our volunteers, children and sponsors are changing the world we live in. IHF is a non-religious, non-political, non-profit organization that strongly believes in an equal opportunity for all and in preserving the cultures, traditions and beliefs of the marginalized communities it works in.

Welcome to IHF Chiang Rai

by Maimuna, Co-Director, IHF Chiang Rai

The children were in the  IMG_1318middle of their dinner when I arrived at the Thailand Centre, tired and dusty from the long, long trip.

Following hasty introductions and generous offers to join them, the children went back to their meal, glancing at me warily. I could hear them thinking:  “not another one!”

I woke up the next morning disoriented and homesick, to familiar sights and sounds; showers running, hurried breakfasts, uniforms being ironed, last minute homework and the all-important lunch money. In another place in another time many miles away, my teenage daughter in Zambia will be getting ready for school in a similar fashion; albeit with a lot more grumbling. I was at home.

At the end of a whirlwind week of introductions, chores, school pickups, online postings and a lively fundraising Peace Concert to raise funds for the Centre I was able to put a face to the names and got to know the children’s routines and habits. I was also able to say a few Thai phrases with a little help (and giggles) from the children. Every time I am stuck; whether it is switching on the stove, directions to the shop, where to buy talk time, talking to taxi drivers, I get by with a few handy hints from the children. IMG_1302

The children and I are gradually warming towards each other, and I look forward to many more exciting weeks at the Thailand Centre.

Once upon a time

by Aditi, Co-Director, IHF Medan

After an extremely busy period filled with activities, exam, visits and workshop, we had a relatively quiet week at the center. Classes have been running usually and the attendance is back to normal.

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At the center, we try and use new methods for teaching children. This is done with the objective of making the children learn better as well as to make learning fun.

One such session was done using story books for teaching vocabulary and for language development to children of class SD 2 on the topic family. Children were given story books to read through which had stories related to the topic of discussion- family. It was heartening to see children read, learn and enjoy the session. Som20150212_162813e went through the books individually, some enjoyed reading in pairs and groups. After they finished reading, the children had to discuss the story amongst them. They had happy, excited and animated expressions while discussing the story and used the basic vocabulary that we wanted them to learn.

This was an interesting session where children enjoyed and learnt well at the same time and we were proud that we made learning fun!

We will miss you Anggara!

by Emily, Co-Director, IHF Aceh

Last week, classes at the center finally returned tMedia Repor 1o normal. The week after exams was a bit hectic, as the students were not motivated to begin with new materials. We also spent quite a bit of time going over exams and correcting mistakes. With all this behind us, however, the students were finally ready to hit the books and learn something new.

We also said a temporary goodbye to one of our local volunteers, Anggara, who was invited to participate in an exchange program for young leaders for 2 weeks in Japan. His students demanded a lot of gifts upon his return, ranging from keychains to sports cars–the latter type of gifts Angarra will be delivering in the form of illustrations. It will be his first experience in a cold climate, and so we helped him prepare suitable attire and the event quickly evolved into a winter clothes fashion show. We can’t wait for him to come back and tell us all about his experience.

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We had a lovely bonding session with local volunteers and some of our SMA students on the beach. Tari, one of our math teachers, taught us how to make gado-gado, an Indonesian salad with peanut sauce. She was even kind enough to make me a separate dressing, as I’m allergic to peanuts. Then, a big group took the meal to the beach and ate under the stars. We spent hours talking in English and Indonesian, comparing our different cultures and enjoying the astounding scenery Banda Aceh offers.Media Repor 3Media Repor 2

Have you ever gone to a Padangnese Wedding?

by Lissa, Co-Director, IHF Medan

This week, we got a wedding invitation from one of our local teacher’s sister. We attended the invitation with the teachers and the students as well. When we arrived, we were welcomed by the bride and groom’s relatives.

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The custom and theme in this wedding reception was Padangnese. Padangnese is one of the tribes or customs in Indonesia. All decorations were dominated by red and gold colors. The food was so spicy! Even for my Indonesian tongue it was spicy enough.

It was an interesting marriage custom to see. The bride wore a big and heavy crown on her head and made her couldn’t move a lot. After we tasted the food until we were full, we took some pictures with the groom and the bride and wished them the best for their new life together!

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Love Life

by Esther, Co-Director, IHF Bali

The rainy season arrived to Bali, and slowly the Balinese colorful and sunny days vanished. At the beginning a little bit of sadness invaded IHF Bali: no more outdoor games with the children and trips; just a quickly drive to the grocery store would turn into a shower, as it has been raining almost every day.

However wephoto 1 (1) adapted ourselves easily to this new season and as soon as possible we were taking advantage of it. Rain is just water and water is life. We wanted to use all this water that the clouds were discharging to our small island so we decided to plant an organic garden at the center.

Teaching the kids how simple is creating life from a small seed, and how to take care of our little plants was very interesting and satisficing. But the most rewarding thing was seeing the kids’ smiles when they saw that only one week after planting the seeds their little zucchini were already grown, much bigger than the tomatoes, carrots and melons.

But it wasn’t only the love for nature that we wanted to transmit to the kids, also the love to their families, friends and of course teachers! As Valentine’s Day was approaching we created a Lovebox at IHF Bali where everybody could leave a message to those people who love. A lot of adorable messages full the box in just a few days.

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On Valentine’s Day we open the Lovebox with the kids and even if there were no gifts, no flowers and no chocolate for anyone, all of us were very happy to receive those drawings and words of appreciation from our friends, students and volunteers. I could say it was the best gift for an unforgettable Valentine’s Day!

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Riding to the border…why not?

By Laura, Co-Director, IHF Chiang Rai

Last week we had to go to Mae Sai to visit another NGO. The city, holding the gate to Myanmar, is not too far from Chiang Rai so we decided to go by scooter… I was driving and Ushmi perched at the back. Perhaps not one of our wisest decisions…

I have been driving for 10 years, made so many trips, but always by car and in European roads. I’m sure I will never forget this trip, Thai roads and their drivers, where the leitmotif seems to be “Why not?”

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We started our trip and just at the exit of Chiang Rai there is a sign that says “Mae Sai 29km”. Closer than we thought, let’s go! And the “Why not?” started…

If you are driving on a highway and you need to stop, why not just stop? If you are walking and you need to cross, why not just cross? If you want to go to a place that you have already past, why not just turn around and go in the opposite direction? Mae Sai is 60 km from Chiang Rai, but let’s say is only 29km, why not? I was really scared and alert all the way. We even almost drove into Myanmar… why not?

But I have to say that it was very funny and when we were back to Chiang Rai safe, we laughed for half an hour…why not?

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UNO: Top game at IHF Banda Aceh

by Emily, Co-Director, IHF Banda Aceh

It’s been a weeMedia Repok of distractions here at the IHF Banda Aceh center. Following exams, our students are more interested in correcting their mistakes than learning new material, slightly stalling classes. Despite the slow pace, however, it is very encouraging to see them so dedicated to their English and we are happy to help them understand the material better.

Furthermore, our wonderful voluntourist Chloe has returned to her studies in Australia. Everyone was very sad to see her go, especially our SMA and SMP students who thoroughly enjoyed her British accent. They have collectively decided to continue saying ‘table’ in a British accent, as a way to remember Chloe’s contributions.

We had a huge and rousing game of Uno this weMedia Report 3ek with students and local volunteers. While that may sound a bit trite, it was anything but. The level of competitiveness between the players was Super Bowl/World Cup status, with everyone jockeying for technical fouls and insisting that they threw their card down first. It proved to be an excellent bonding experience between us co-directors, our lovely local volunteers, and students from a variety of classes–a reminder of why life here is so special. Even these little moments can be so meaningful!

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Struggling to get into Secondary School in Kenya

by Valeria, Co-Director, IHF Nakuru

To get a kid into Secondary school in Kenya is a miserable business. First of all a parent has to come to a desirable school with his child’s K.C.P.E. results (Kenyan Certificate of Primary Education) and ask if this school is willing to take his child. Sometimes a parent has to beg; sometimes he has to bribe a school’s principle or secretary. When this step has been passed, a parent has to pay a deposit of 3000 KES as a part of school fees to convince a school that he is financially reliable. After that, he gets an admission form with a list of requirements: a full payment of school fees for the first term (another 3700 KES), a medical exam (600 KES, sometimes 1000 KES), passport photos (200 KES), a copy of a birth certificate, a school uniform (around 5000 KES), a set of books including Bible (7000 – 10000 KES), etc.

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If even one item is missing “these people” will give a parent hard time, make him feel miserable while schooling him as a teenager. If the missing item is a wrong colored vest or tie, even if school fees have been paid, the child won’t be admitted. Go and fix everything until it is perfect! They put a school’s stamp on every book; even exercise ones, to make it even more burocratic. Oh and more… after all these payments that a Kenyan parent finds very hard to complete, because usually the amount of money one spends on getting a kid into Secondary school is as twice as one month’s salary.

The most infuriating thing is all these secretaries, they know how it is hard, they know how parents are struggling to fulfill all these requirements, how much time they spend in queues (at least 3 hours in a bank to make one payment), but they want cut them a slack. They will make them feel like a piece of crap, they will give them all these looks. Ugh…  image1

Some exercise after teaching in Bali!

by Yang, Work-study, IHF Bali

This week Yilin and I thought we should try another way to help children remember new words since some kids had told us that they had problems in doing so.

Therefore, Yilin tried to draw the animals, which they were going to learn on the whiteboard and I imitated the sounds Students in SD3 Pear were all interested in drawing and they finished their versions in less than 15 minutes! This one was done by Haruka, a lovely girl from the class.

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We Marveled at their skills of drawing pictures and were very glad that they could finally memorize these new words!

On Wednesday, two former students came by and Helene taught them some French words. One of them who now works in Kuta told us that she thinks her ability to speak English is crucial for her career and that she learned a lot at IHF Bali. It’s such an encouragement to all of us because sometimes we are not sure about how much knowledge our students are really getting and whether our teaching is helpful to them. One of the reasons why I like IHF is that it always reminds me that only knowledge cannot be taken away!

Besides, there are more and more kids coming to the center. For example in SD6 we have more than 20 students who come here regularly. We are delighted every time Esther tells us that we have new students!

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For us, they are not only our students but also our friends and teachers. They invite us to go fishing and teach us Indonesian and local customs. Actually we learn much from these lovely children.

On Saturday, we held a special project called “Sports Day” in order to encourage children to do exercise and build up their team spirit. Esther and Eric played football with some kids while Helene took part in the badminton game. It was an exhausting day, but very fun!BBBB

It’s the last week for Yilin and I and I can’t express how grateful we are to the kids and fellow volunteers. With students, I don’t feel lonely in this foreign land and with the help of other volunteers; I am gradually able to deal with my international and local work. This has been such a wonderful experience to me and I will never forget it!

A typical tribal village in Northern Thailand

by Ushmi, Co-Director, IHF Chiang Rai

Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

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The journey 

You start off on a bus early in the morning from Chiang Rai and your stop is among the last of its journey. You stop almost every 5 minutes to pick up passengers. Sometimes you stop and a parcel hops on to be delivered from one town to the next… cheaper, faster and reliable so why not?

But what becomes more prominent as you move further out of town, apart from the change in scenery, is the population. As well as the change in average age, the population becomes scarcer. The village towns become noticeably smaller while the size of farms stretches further out.

The Village

The next part of the journey is from the village town to the homes. We are picked up in a beaten yet hefty truck. The next left is a long-winded road that leads to the village. You can count the number of cars that drive down the road and so it isn’t unusual to meet a mama with her two babies waiting at the corner for the next passerby. We stop and help pull the babies, a small cabin bag and some shopping into the truck.

We’re now on a dusty, bumpy road and fully surrounded by rice fields and farms growing all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Coffee plantations are in plenty too. We pass a ‘gate’ leading us onto an even more narrow, rough road that follows the edge of the village hills like a neat outline. We have the midday sun radiating dry heat but the landscapes are the breath of fresh air that you appreciate… almost as much as the discovery of an oasis in the middle of a desert.

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The Home

The houses are small bamboo structures lifted on wooden stumps. There maybe two or three, similar sized houses that are linked to create one family’s home. A steep path, uphill, leads you to the next family’s home… and so forth.

Dogs are in plenty, playing dead under the sun and scooters are parked, sometimes in pairs, near almost every home’s entrance.

The kitchen come living room come grandparents’ room floor is carpeted with straw mats. A big clay pot, that already has sweet potato boiling, roofs a small indoor fire. The aroma of the lunch is a truly warming feeling. Children are excited to eat and come rushing in, the older ones carrying the younger ones so that they can get inside as quick as possible. Without being told, the younger children help mama arrange the table with plates and chopsticks while the older ones heap the serving plates with food. The table is a large bamboo basket turned upside-down.

We all sit around and indulge. After serving guests, the children pass plates to the grandparents and the rest share from the serving plates.

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Imagination Versus Reality

Before the trip I imagined a combination of Kenya and India’s rural area. What I experienced was a somewhat middle ground between the two. The dusty and dryness was the similarity I found with rural areas of Northern Kenya- the country’s desert landscape. The lifestyle and behavior was what I found similar with the villages of Northern India, Gujarat in particular- the way the mothers run the households, the way the grandparents remain silent but every minimal action and word is worth holding onto forever, and the way the children misbehave lovingly.IMG_1347