A message from Dr Lorel Mayberry, President of Borderless Friendship Western Australia.

Hello everyone
Over the past few weeks, the media has focussed on the exploitative orphanages in Cambodia and other parts of Asia. I am proud to say that Borderless Friendship Foundation (Thailand), Borderless Friendship Western Australia (BFWA) and Happy Hands Foundation (Victoria) function very differently to the shocking ‘orphanages’ scattered throughout Asia. Many of these are established to purely exploit the goodwill of foreigners and care little about the children.
At times in the past, we have generically referred to the homes Borderless Friendship support as ‘orphanages’. For 60% of our children that term may be applicable. In reality, these homes function more as a hostel. Our homes provide a nurturing homely environment and, with their close proximity to schools, ensures children have daily access to  good quality education. Given the unfortunate tainted reputation of orphanages, it is an opportune time to better reflect the homes we support by more appropriately referring to them as hostels.
We are guided by hill tribe leaders and many trusted people. Over the past 9 years, we have built resilience, life-skills, trust, and brought change to hundreds of hill tribe children and hill tribe communities we work with.
    •    Our hill tribe hostels - Many children come from remote hill communities where access to schools and health care is limited or non-existent. The children live with volunteers in very basic accommodation at multiple sites near a school. They live in safety and learn skills. Many children have no family, come from single parent families or are cared for by grandparents. Sometimes parents are extremely ill or have died from AIDS. Some parents are in prison. The children are left without family support and then they live permanently at the hostel. Most children stay at the hostels for 10 months of the year. The hostels grow whatever food they can, and rely on the generosity of donations from visitors and friends. Parents/family give a small amount where possible. Our sponsorship program supports all the hostels.

    •    Contact with their families - Whilst many of our children do not have parents, many do, returning to their families at school breaks. Family members are encouraged to visit their children at the hostels and many come with offerings of food and labour. Without the hostels, many of our children would not have the chance to attend school.

    •    Community schools – In the past, it was rare for hill tribe people to attend school, and even rarer for them to continue at secondary school. Education is vital and every child in our care goes to school every day. They LOVE school and feel so fortunate to have the opportunity to stay at school. We support a number of community schools – children live with their families and the school works with the community to give hill tribe children the best chance at education. We now have children progressing through high school and tertiary education thanks to Education Scholarships from BFWA.

    •    Sponsorship - Borderless Friendship WA, in conjunction with our friends at Happy Hands Foundation, dream of sponsorship for all these children. We hope some will go on to technical school and even university – the leaders of the future! By sponsoring a child you will be supporting the next generation of young people to reach their full potential. Please contact BFWA if you are able to sponsor a child ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

    •    Visiting the hostels – Children’s safety is our priority. We do not advertise where the hostels are located. Most are in remote areas that would be impossible for a tourist to find. Access to the communities is supervised by hill tribe people – Pramote and Thak accompany all guests to the schools and hostels. Adequate notice must be given to our hosts and all visitors receive guidelines from BFWA and Happy Hands. Children’s privacy is respected. All carers and guests stay in separate accommodation. Volunteers must hold a Working with Children check or similar. The children love meeting new people. This gives them the opportunity to speak English, play games, have someone read to them and most importantly, have people in their lives who care about them and their future. Many BFWA and Happy Hands supporters have visited many times. The children are very familiar with us and look forward to our return. I will be returning for a month in November and a month in Jan/Feb 2018 – that will be my 18th trip. Consistency and honesty is vital for these children. We keep our promise to return and they know they are never far from our thoughts.

    •    Rights of the children – Yadaw, Pramote (President of BFF Thailand) his son Thak and Lorel educate the children, carers and the community about the rights of children with our ‘Say NO to sex trafficking’ forums. We also run weekend workshops on sexuality and relationship education

By sponsoring a child or donating you are supporting the next generation of young hill tribe people to reach their full potential. We do NOT deduct any handling fees or administration costs. Be confident that all your funds reach the hill tribe children in need.

Thank you again for your ongoing support of the beautiful children we care for.

Kindest regards

If you would like to help out on our stall in Applecross - between 9am and 4pm on Saturday 25 November - we'd be delighted to hear from you!

Volunteers needed for 2-hour shifts, and you can bring along a friend.

Call me - Veronica 0409 035 343 or email me on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Jacaranda 2017

BFWA helping children to help themselves.

BFWA 2017 Successes

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Nipa (2nd R) showing the WA volunteers, Jordi, Hannah, Megan and Peter, the school that the Leadership Home kids attend.

Leadership Home Opening brochure ENG Page1

Leadership Home Opening brochure ENG Page2

Sponsorship news

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 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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.

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Eileen and Thak hard at work buying tracksuits for all.

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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.

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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.

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FileFile size
Download this file (Leadership Home Opening brochure ENG Page1.jpg)Leadership Home Opening brochure ENG Page1180 Kb

[February 2017]
Tony Cuzens reports, "While we were in Thailand in January at Leadership Home, the original building, which housed the inside 'dining room' and outdoor 'kitchen', was being renovated to be used as a store room, as opposed to being demolished which was the original thought. The main issue with this building was termites in the roof and wall timbers so the roof needed to be replaced.

The way the renovation was being completed was first class and seemed to be 'too good' to be used as just a store room. Tony suggested to Pramote that the whole building be renovated to provide a bedroom, ensuite and office/administrative area for the Leadership Home Manager, Nipa.

After some negotiations with the contractor, it was agreed that for a relatively small amount of money the amended renovation could be completed. This meant some new internal walls to define the bedroom and ensuite area and provide a level of privacy. The new walls could then be used to define both an admin area and storage area without impacting on the manager's private area. This also resolved another issue with respect to what would happen with the manager given the rapid increase of students this year. Seven young people are living there now, in April/May, 25 young people will be living at Leadership Home.

Nipa was using the middle dormitory a short term solution because six children would soon be moving into that dorm. The new building resolves this issue because it is central to the existing dormitory and multi- purpose room and also faces the main entrance. The administrative area provides a suitable and secure work area for Nipa away from prying eyes of both students and visitors.

The overall cost to fully complete the renovation, including floor and wall tiling, amounted to approximately $40K. Brian Rooke was approached and asked if he would agree to the renovation and subsequent funding. Brian, as always, agreed and immediately committed funds to allow the renovation to be completed. The building should be completed by the middle of March.


Photo 1&2: Internal walls completed & rendered


Photo 3: New steel frame for roof and matched to other Leadership Home buildings.

Photo 4: Old kitchen & building

Thank you Allan from North West Shelf Gas for the 15 laptops. They are now well used by the children at many hill tribe hostels. Thank you David for liaising with NWSG and Jarrad for all your work on reformatting the computers.

2017-02 Lahu children singing a song of thanks for the laptops 1    2017-02 Lahu children singing a song of thanks for the laptops 2

Lahu hill tribe children - grateful for the laptops

2017-02 Lahu children singing a song of thanks for the laptops 3  Lahu children singing a song of thanks for the laptops.

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Click on the play button to listen to Dr Lorel Mayberry, President BFWA, speak with Jenny Seaton (Curtin FM). Lorel talks about her work, including the life-changing endeavours of BFWA.



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