Please follow this link to see a fabulous youtube clip about the children in the Lahu Orphanage Centre.

Sustain The Smiles

Please take 7-8 minutes to watch this special clip - thanks Cynthia and Tom Abbott for all your efforts capturing these images and editing so skilfully. Thank you to all the sponsors and supporters for making a difference for these children.


Please find the letter from Borderless Friendship Western Australia's President in the attachment. 

Hill tribe youth and community training centre

Location: Huayjakan, Northern Thailand (2hrs north west of Chiang Mai)

Chris Marsh, Rotarian from Rotary Club of Heirisson, heard about the plight of hill tribe children and recognised the desperate need for training. In October 2014, Chris travelled to Northern Thailand and met the President of BFF, Pramote Eua-amnuay, who took him to the site of the proposed training centre. Chris met with hill tribe leaders, the Huayjakan School Principal, and hundreds of at-risk hill tribe children (many of whom are orphans). The land (3 acres) owned by the local community (donated by BFWA and Grill’d Mt Lawley) holds a solar water purification system (donated by a RC Peninsula Sunrise in California), a fish farm and agricultural land.

Chris Marsh returned to Perth and gained support from WA companies/organisations:

  • Structerre Consulting Engineers – donating detailed drawings, metal trusses and wall framing materials
  • Plunkett Homes - Geraldton $1500-
  • Plunkett Homes - Metro $1500-
  • WA Country Builders – Geraldton $1500-
  • WA Country Builders – Albany $1500-
  • Rotary Club of Heirisson, Perth - $10,000


Proposed training centre

The training centre will be the hub for education for hill tribe young people and the wider community. The training centre designed by Chris Marsh and Structerre Engineers, in consultation with hill tribe people, is simple in its design – see plan below (NB. A guest/carers’ room will be added). This simplicity will keep costs to a minimum and will give opportunities for hill tribe people to participate in the building. Chris Marsh will oversee the construction along with another WA tradesperson and is travelling to Chiang Mai in February 2015 to start the project. Pramote, and other hill tribe volunteers, will be supporting Chris.

The training centre has the potential to be used in a variety ways for example:

  • Health and sexuality education for youth. Young people can be transported from the many orphanages, hostels and other communities. Young people can stay at the venue.
  • Organic farming – training for young people and the community – safe use of fertilisers, appropriate seeds, animal care, fish farming and organic farming.
  • Microcredit and saving. The wider hill tribe community (5,000 hill tribe people – Lahu, Lisu and Akha) has formed a cooperative and are distributing micro-credit loans. This centre will be the ideal location for this vital training.
  • Shop for selling clean water. The solar water system has the potential to be a business for the community. See
  • Cultural centre. A central place for cultural celebrations.
  • Handicrafts. Handing down traditional handicrafts from the older women to the young people (many of whom are orphans).
  • Emergency accommodation for at-risk children until they can be permanently placed in an orphanage/hostel/family.

Who will benefit from this project?

  • Hill tribe people (Lahu) in the village of Huayjakan: 2500 people
  • Lahu and Lisu hill tribe women from the Huayjakan cooperative: 300 people
  • Young hill tribe people from other communities who will attend training: 500 people
  • Other hill tribe communities who will travel to the training centre (ie live within 100 kms): up to 10,000 people

On behalf of the thousands of hill tribe people who will benefit from this project, a huge thanks to Chris Marsh for driving this valuable project. Special thanks to all the businesses that have generously supported this project, and the Rotary Club of Heirisson for their interest and substantial donation.


Fund raising BBQ at Plunkett Perth - $600 raised -

Fundraisgin BBQ 1      Fundraisgin BBQ 2Fundraisgin BBQ 3   Fundraisgin BBQ 4


Appendix 2 – Plan for the main building – training room, kitchen, dorms (bunk beds and sleeping mats – up to 40 people accommodated). NB. the visitors’/carers’ room will be a separate building 7.5m x 6m including a bedroom (sleeping 6) and a bathroom (not shown on this plan).


Oliver (Olly) Brooke, youth consultant on the BFWA committee, is off to Thailand for a year. Olly’s work with young Aboriginal men in Karratha and Northam, and his volunteer work with hill tribe children, have led him down this exciting path.

Olly said, “As Global Partnerships Manager for Humanitarian Affairs Asia it will be my responsibility to manage a team of volunteer interns based full time in Pattaya. I will mentor, motivate and lead them to recruit 700 international youth delegates from leading universities across the globe to attend the 6th University Scholars Leadership Symposium. The annual symposium will be held in Hong Kong from August 1st to 7th in 2015 – the theme being Come change your destiny! Throughout the year, our team will also partake in Humanitarian Aid projects locally in Thailand and internationally in the South East Asian region”.

Olly agreed to carry extra luggage, and Thai Airways kindly increased Olly’s luggage allowance to 40kg. Lorel’s contact, Peter Snell, Rotary Club of Curtin, donated 17kg of secondhand reading books/teacher resources and 3kg of textas, so Olly travelled to Thailand loaded up. After he settles into his new roles, he will deliver the suitcase of gear to the hill tribe children in the orphanages/hostels.

Oliver B

We wish Olly all the best with this challenging role. We hope that his team will have the opportunity to see the work of Borderless Friendship in Northern Thailand.

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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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