It has been a busy start to 2017.
Tony and I spent January in Thailand working with hill tribe communities and, in particular, Leadership Home. Friends from BFWA and Happy Hands joined us. We were in awe of the work done by Pramote, Nipa (the Manager of Leadership Home), hill tribe leaders, and the seven young people who have made the hostel their home. We spent time with all the children in the hostels, and visited the women’s groups and inspiring hill tribe schools. So many happy memories – reading 50+ books with the kids at the Kae Noi LOC hostel until we had no voice; enjoying the hot springs with the kids; the generosity of the Siam Winery people (see story below); watching teenagers interact with Thak and the volunteers at the Mooditj sexuality weekend workshop; relaxing time with Pramote and Yadaw and the Aussie volunteers – fabulous to see Pramote stop!; and laughing as we tried to join in with the hill tribe dancing (definitely harder than it looks!). It is impossible to cover everything that has happened over the past few months – please sit down with a cuppa and scroll through our Facebook page.
Kids at the LOC enjoying the books donated by WA schools
Opening of Leadership Home
Celebrations lasted 2 days with more than 300 guests. All the hostels that we work with, travelled to the weekend event and they entertained us. Yadaw coordinated a team of people to feed the masses, and it was delicious. The major donor for Leadership Home, Brian Rooke, was moved to tears when he and his family arrived at Leadership Home. This hostel will soon be home to 25 young people. Loads of photos on Facebook show the building process and the opening ceremony/celebration weekend. Thanks to all the people who travelled to Chiang Dao and partied through the weekend celebrations – Peter, Lorel, Tony, Rosemary, Rooke families - Brian, Michelle, Andrea, Britt & children; Jordi, Megan & Hannah; and Eileen & Jovo. See the attached brochure below outlining the importance of Leadership Home – please read the list of generous donors without whom this project would not have been possible.
Left - Brian addressing the crowd at the opening of Leadership Home (thanks Pramote and Thak for translating). Right – Leadership Home and the 7 founding students- Surachai, Nisai, Meepae, Malee, Nisai, Worakarn and Pranee.
Team effort – cutting of the ribbon Akha dancers from Teerawats’ Hostel
Nipa, manager of Leadership Home is coming to Perth
BFWA supporters have chipped in to reward Nipa, the energetic, capable manager of Leadership Home. Nipa will be in WA from April 5-24th staying with Lorel and Tony. This will be the first time Nipa, a black Lahu woman, will leave Northern Thailand plus the first time for her to travel on a plane – exciting! There will be a ‘meet and greet’ function at Peter and Sheila Sim’s (TBA) and she will be visiting Katanning (thanks Fiona and Cameron) and the rabbit-proof fence too! We have been able to attract Nipa to the position at Leadership Home because she has a generous sponsor, Anne. Nipa will soon move into her new home office – see Tony’s story below.
Nipa (2nd R) showing the WA volunteers, Jordi, Hannah, Megan and Peter, the school that the Leadership Home kids attend.
To the sponsors of more than 200 hill tribe children, a HUGE thank you. The children are so appreciative that they have a safe place, wholesome food to eat and the opportunity to continue at school.
Please remember that ALL your sponsorship money goes to the care of the children. We do not take any administrative fees – we are ALL volunteers. We spend hours and hours coordinating funds; visiting each hostel at least twice a year at our own expense; communicating with key people in Thailand; plus communicating with our special sponsors.
For the past three years, I have been blessed to work with our friends, Eileen and Jovo at Happy Hands (based in Melbourne). Eileen and I frequently email at the craziest hours – we speak the same ‘sponsorship language’ caring for each and every precious child. On one hand, I am sad to be losing Eileen, she makes me laugh and cry, and is the hardest working sponsorship coordinator. On the other hand, I am happy that Eileen and Jovo are taking time out and heading off on an Australian adventure – they will continue to share about our wonderful work. No doubt they will be soon be basking on the Gulf of Carpentaria, sharing our stories and ‘recruiting’ sponsors. We are thrilled and relieved and ecstatic and …(you get the idea!) that Sue Jessup has agreed to step into Eileen’s shoes and take over the role as sponsorship coordinator. Sue and Mark Jessup are long-time supporters of our work in Thailand. They have been responsible for fundraising of thousands of dollars; visited the hostels often; taught in schools; and sponsor many children. Queries about sponsorship – Sue’s email is
Tony and I, along with Sue and Mark, and Eileen and Jovo spent time with all the children in January. Eileen and Jovo, with the assistance of Thak, coordinated the distribution of hundreds of colourful tracksuits for every child in the hostel – a huge task. Some children were extra fortunate and received a present or card/note from their sponsor. THANK YOU to everyone who gave extra funds for these special treats – Eileen and I have endeavoured to communicate with you all and send you photos of the ‘gift handover’. Please also see Facebook for loads of photos of very happy children receiving their tracksuits and gifts.
Our sponsors are very important people, they give $30 a month per child (and some sponsor 2, 3, 4, 5 and even 10 children). If you are a sponsor – spread the joy! Please share about your child/ren and inspire a friend to also sponsor. We have 30 children who really need a sponsor – if you can spare $30 a month (or $360 a year), Sue would be thrilled to hear from you –
Read one sponsor’s joy at meeting the young women he sponsors in the following story – link to PETER”s story. Another sponsor of three said, “I take 5 mins every day to catch up on Borderless Facebook page and see what is happening with all our children and hostels. It keeps me up to date and saves a million questions for Lorel. On top of that I have ‘friended’ 2 of my 3 sponsor girls and regularly communicate with them through Facebook Messenger. This is great for me as they tell me about themselves and what they are doing and it also allows them to practise their English skills on me. It’s a win – win as I see it. All in all, I spend no more than 15 minutes a day on all of this. When I return to Northern Thailand in June I will invite my 3rd sponsor child to become a ‘friend’ for the same reasons”.
The sponsored hill tribe children understand that they have a special person who cares about them and YOU inspire them to study hard. Thank you all.
Eileen and Thak hard at work buying tracksuits for all.
Tracksuits for all the children at the Kae Noi hostels – LOC and the Buddhist Hostel. Photos of other hostels receiving their tracksuits are on Facebook.
Siam Winery donates to hill tribe communities
Chiayapong, Manager of Siam Winery, and 15 staff travelled from Bangkok and gave up their weekend to spread joy and practical gifts. Nipa and Lorel escorted the entourage from Chiang Dao and 5 full vehicles drove up the steep mountains to the remote village of Kae Noi. Siam Winery funded a feast for the school community, donated blankets for the elders in the village, and windcheaters for all the children. The Kae Noi school was grateful for the sports equipment and sports uniforms. Back down the mountain then an evening feast followed by a night of dancing and singing. More donations for ALL our hostel children (200+) – windcheaters and blankets. After a day of enlightenment and hill tribe hospitality, Chiayapong promised they would be back. Thank you Siam Winery.
John Curtin Leadership Academy team onboard with fundraising
Jordi Quain, Curtin Postgraduate student, returned to Thailand in January to work with the hill tribe children. She is an avid supporter of comprehensive sexuality education and a graduate of the John Curtin Leadership Academy (JCLA). Early in February, not-for-profit organisations were invited to present to the JCLA teams. Jordi presented on behalf of BFWA. The best presenters were rewarded with an enthusiastic JCLA team to work on their behalf. Jordi said ---“We are incredibly excited to announce that Borderless Friendship WA has a team from the John Curtin Leadership Academy on board to help us fundraise for Sexuality and Relationships Education training in July! If you'd like to follow their journey you can do so by liking their page JCLA Borderless Friendship Foundation on Facebook. Welcome to the team guys, we can't wait to get started!”
The JCLA team has heaps of fundraising ideas and kick started the fund with $150 raised in a few hours at O-week at Curtin. Thank you Jordi – your enthusiasm is infectious and all the best to the JCLA team.
Photo below of Jordi (Far right) and Lorel meeting the JCLA team at Curtin - Thanks Nomalizo Mqhum, Luke Pizzo, Matt Russo, Saransh Ravi, Michael Song, Quincy Lan, and Tiffany Verga.