Honorable guests at the CPDC – Austrian Minister pays a visit

Several articles during the last year already shed light on the generous dedication of the Austrian Embassy in Thailand and the Austrian Consulate in Pattaya actively supporting HHNFT and the CPDC. Together the Austrian Ambassador Peterlik and his wife as well as the Austrian Consulate Hofer had benevolently shown their interest and also supported us also in monetary terms; Be it a tour to Toy’s R’Us with our children to buy Christmas presents or aid in purchasing necessary material – the Austrian representatives are always on our side and support us in manifold ways.
This strong partnership was symbolized by the visit of the Austrian Minister for the Interior, Johanna Mikl-Leitner, on Tuesday, 10th of July. Although her time was spare and the schedule strict – apart from the visit to the CPDC she also met Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra– she found time to come to the CPDC and learn about the efforts done here to protect children at risk and to provide them with a brighter life. With her visit, as she explained in her speech, she also wanted to point out the determination of the Austrian Government not to accept crimes done by Austrian citizens to children in Thailand and the ambition to strengthen the cooperation with the Thai police agencies.
Upon her arrival with a delegation of Austrian officials – most notably Ambassador Peterlik, Consul Hofer and the chief of the Austrian Federal Criminal Agency Franz Lang – and a media team, she was warmly welcomed by the children of our center who not only presented flower bouquets to her but also performed two wonderful traditional dances. HHNFT director Radchada Chomjinda welcomed the high-ranking guests in her introductory speech and outlined the beginning and development of the CPDC. Afterwards the guest gave us the honor of signing a portrait and planting a tree in front of the sports court where the reception had been taking place. At this occasion Mrs. Mikl-Leitner also handed over a check in the amount of 100.000 THB which the Austrian firm Becker Guss had financed.
To get a first-hand impression of the center the delegation took a tour through the center and its facilities such as the education center, the nursing unit and the farming. Proudly the children also presented their handicraft products which they sell thus improving both, their skills and the revenues of the center.
Minister Mikl-Leitner and her company were highly impressed by the progress which had been made in the few years of existence of the CPDC and by the happiness of the children who have found a new home here. Indeed, Mrs. Mikl-Leitner, herself mother of two children, truly lost her heart to the children and expressed her kind-hearted solicitousness with the children’s fate: “They are so endearing. Best I would like to take them all home”, she said with a good sense of humor.
Later on as well she proved being absolutely down to earth when having lunch not at a separate table for the distinguished guests but amid the children.
In the final part of the visit, the Minister and her delegation sat together with representatives of the CPDC and Khun Parisorn Noja, Director of the Anti Human Trafficking Center and founder of the CPDC, to discuss policy issues in the fight.
No doubt, this was an extraordinary day in the history of the CPDC which will remain in everyone’s memory. Not only was the visit interesting and supportive to the further development of the CPDC in its efforts to protect children and promote their well-being, but it was also an event of extraordinary excitement for our children bringing joy into their life.
We would like to thank the Austrian guests and Mrs. Mikl-Leitner in particular for their friendly visit, for their sympathy and for their incessant support. Thank you very much!