Bringing sexuality and relationship education to young people in a modern, western society is challenging enough. How then do you take this education to hill tribe children, living in the remote North of Thailand where English is rarely spoken? Surprisingly, a small but passionate group based in Perth, Western Australia is doing just that, with amazing outcomes.

Borderless Friendship WA, (BFWA) was formed in 2010, to support the efforts of Borderless Friendship Foundation in Thailand. Its aim is to enhance the lives of hill tribe children living in Northern Thailand, by providing a safe environment, sufficient food, and access to education.

Although the BFWA’s primary concern is to keep hill tribe children safe from sex trafficking, which is rife in this area, it would seem that very few, including the Australian government, are willing to fund the education that is the key to that safety. After being unsuccessful in an application to receive funding from AusAid for a second time, BFWA President, Dr Lorel Mayberry created a plan to fund bringing two hill tribe leaders to Western Australia to do the much acclaimed Mooditj Leader Training. This training would enable them to run a Mooditj program, which helps young people learn about identity, puberty, emotions and feelings, relationships, sexual health, being a parent, and assists them to identify and work towards goals and dreams.

With escalating rates of STIs and HIV/AIDS, and very high incidence of human trafficking, particularly of children, the need for an innovative and open approach to sexual health education was required. The Mooditj training was the corner-stone of a program to bring a much needed and suitably tailored program to these ‘at risk’ children. These children seldom have an opportunity to take part in any educational workshops, and certainly not those that cover puberty, sexuality and relationships. The program was designed to deliver all these things in a way that was interactive, engaging, culturally appropriate, and delivered in their own language.

Pramote and Yadaw arrived in Perth to attend the week long Mooditj Leader Training and to thank the many supporters in WA. Like most people, they had no previous relationships and sexuality education, so it was with some trepidation that they attended the first day of the 5 day program. They loved the Mooditj workshop and the inclusive philosophy of Mooditj. They also valued meeting other Indigenous people from around Australia and hearing their stories. Most of all they loved the new found freedom to talk about sexuality and were inspired, excited and felt well prepared to conduct the first Lahu Mooditj workshop at an orphanage in Kae Noi, a remote village in Northern Thailand.

The two day workshop (and accompanying community forum on sex trafficking) was a resounding success. The training covered a wide range of topics, including sexually transmitted infections, contraception, personal safety and diversity. Every participant, including the carers at the orphanage, reported that they had learned much and looked forward to more education in the future.

Inspired by the success of the first training, and using the feedback and evaluation received, three weekend workshops have followed and peer educators trained. The weekend workshops take place in remote areas with more than 200 young people and carers accessing the workshops. Thak Eua-Amnuay (son of Pramote and Yadaw) who had travelled to WA earlier in 2014 to also attend the Mooditj Leader Training, headed up this session as co-ordinator and facilitator, supported by his parents and Lorel, who had once again travelled to Thailand to assist with this event, among other BFWA activities. The participants were treated to lots of beautiful food prepared by Yadaw and her sister. The way the plates were piled high was a sure sign it was appreciated very much.

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With an expanded program, and a larger number of participants, the Mooditj workshop again instilled new and appropriate knowledge to young hill tribe people. Participants came from different communities (Lahu, Akha and Karen tribes), some travelling up to four hours to attend. Once again, all involved reported a vast increase in their understanding of sexual health and an increased confidence to talk about sexuality.

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It is with great sadness that I inform BFWA supporters that Bill O’Brien died on the 24th July, 2014. Bill was a young 89 years old, the BFWA auditor, much loved partner of Jan and proud dad of Brett. Bill had been the BFWA auditor since our inception in 2010 (and my auditor for 20 years in my time with other not-for-profits).  Bill followed our work with hill tribe children with enthusiasm, and completed our annual audit with great craft, refusing to take payment.  I will miss his stimulating conversations and his unique outlook on life AND death. RIP Bill.  Love Lorel                                            

                                                                           Bill O Brien

            crowd   prizes

BFWA held a fundraising quiz night on Friday 23rd May. The night was an unqualified success, with over 240 people attending. All reported that they had a great night, and look forward to the next one!

Thanks to the generosity of those who donated, attended and helped out, we raised the amazing total of $13,680. This is a tremendous result, and will go a long way to improving the lives of the hill-tribe children in Northern Thailand. We will keep you updated about projects that we undertake with these funds.

We would like to thank all of our sponsors. They donated prizes and auction items for the evening - a very long list of these companies/people is shown below.

We hope to make this an annual event. In the meantime, keep a look out for other events that will be advertised both here on our website, and on our Facebook page.

Thank you
Tamika Cullen
Quiz night organiser
Treasurer BFWA

khutcai  In November some of the committee were lucky enough to meet a wonderful young man at Kae Noi. His name was Khutcai. He participated in the training and proved to be a very capable student.

Sadly, this young man passed away suddenly on Saturday 17th May. He was only 15 years old.

The committee and members of BFWA and BFF have passed on our condolences to his relatives and carers.

 

gym
 
 
CONGRATULATIONS 
and HUGE thanks
to our amazing Gym Buddies
for achieving record Fund Raising!
The wonderful news is that just with our "Bring & Buy" sale from Tuesday to Friday we raised an incredible amount of:
$1,618.10 
Then from we received a donation of $254 from Steph after her crazy but fun 1st Year Anniversary - 1.5 hr Zumbathon last night bringing our total amount raised to:
$1,872.10
Add to this, the final amount of raffle tickets sold by our "Professional Raffle Ticket Seller Extraordinaire", Terenia - we may well achieve a final, quite incredible amount of $2,000.00!
As yet, we do not know the final amount of ticket sales until the day of the draw which will be Tuesday 29th April at the end of Tina's Pilates class.  This will be when we will be able to confirm the official amount raised.
However, our hamper is looking amazing thanks to many buddies donating goods and produce to make this a truly unique, yummy and "made with love" type of raffle prize.

Therefore buddies, we look like hitting the jackpot at a whopping:
$2,000.00
 
I am still in shock about two things. The first, is all of YOU  - our amazing Gym Buddies from Hampton ladies Health Club! 

How incredibly generous, kind and caring you are and to see so many buddies BRING in -  after cooking, picking, potting,  creating, clearing out - to donate,  so many things to sell:

Art: Our famous and very own local Mosaic (and everything else) Artist, Pat Judd, so generously donated 4 of her legendary "Fat Birds" and various other mosaic works and stunning jewellery pieces she kindly made for this fund raiser - all went to good, happy & appreciative homes!
Baked goods : Cherylle's scones Jam & Cream,  Kath' s muffins, Pauline's cookies, cup cakes and slices. Bev's Florentines, Pam's legendary Carrot Cake, Jeanette's almond bread, Hummingbird cakes and Gluten Free Chocolate cake
Preserves: Bills Organic Olives, Bills Chutney (sold from Gillie's car boot), Lois's Zucchini Chutney, Terenia's Lemon Curd &  Fig Jam, Alina's Blackberry, Cumquat and Citrus Medley Jams
Fresh Produce: Gillie's buckets and buckets of Organic lemons &  limes and Anne's lovely juicy tomatoes 
Bric-a-Brac: Dorothy was the first to load up the Bric-a-Brac table followed by  Marguerite, Rosemary, Sue, Terenia, Maggie, and many others with bringing in heaps of quality items from vases, trays, ornaments, cushions, glasses, mugs, pictures, framed paintings and prints and wall hangings, sets of golf clubs, and many other interesting and useful items 
Plants: Rosemary's beautiful potted Orchids, Kate's herbs and other plants, Alina's succulents, flowers, shrubs, palms, ivy, aloe vera 
Jewellery: Huge amount of stunning new and used costume and formal jewellery from Diana and Tracey
Clothing: Diana supplied and sold brand new socks, nickers, bras, and  then Barb arrived with good quality new & used baby wear,  and we received good quality ladies, mens and children's clothing from Barb and Lynley, sarongs from Janine, and gorgeous scarves from Tracey and  gym towels from Sanjay
Bags and shoes: Ladies shoes, bags, back packs
Books: Everything imaginable including novels, recipe books, diaries, address books, planners, children's books, and non fiction books
Artefacts: From the Hill Tribe People of Thailand, included Croaking Frogs, water bottle holders, doggie jackets, key rings and a letter holder
Bring & Buy Cafe CornerWe made, sold and served sandwiches, Janine made tea & coffee and helped serve the lunches and cake  to the weary Pilates class and the busy/exhausted shoppers.
This Cafe Corner proved to be a lot of fun and a really nice social aspect to our fund raising day
Cash Donations: From many generous buddies including the Zumba ladies!
Pilates Class Group Photo: Kindly suggested and taken after class by Kazumi then printed and mounted beautifully on pretty card and trimmings. These were sold for a nominal sum as a lovely keepsake of Tina Yong's (old HLHC) Tuesday morning Pilates class

and finally........

Serving, working, preparing on the day: None of the above could have been put together without the willing band of helpers that spent hours unpacking, displaying, pricing, carting, selling, preparing & serving teas and coffees, sandwiches and cake. 
Alina, Di, Mary, Janine &  Terenia could sell ice to eskimo's!
Also appreciated and valued was the loan of the urn & trolley from Janine and the large trestle table from Mary.   Special thanks to Chrissie and Barb for carrying my heavy trestle table upstairs even though we suffered the wrath from Helen for delaying her running group class....sorry guys!
Put simply, one ENORMOUS team/buddy effort!!

and there's more.......

.........All the BUYING - Not only did you BRING, but you also did heaps of BUYING,  it was overwhelming the amount of  buying occurring on the day as well as each day thereafter, thanks to Cheryl on Reception, being surrounded by plants, jams and other items,  we were able to keep sales going until Friday at which time, we had to pack up, and return the old creche to its former glory. I know you will all be really pleased to know, we sold almost everything and nothing has been wasted. We only had one care boot full of left over bric-a-brac and books and I will be delivering these to an animal Charity Opportunity shop next week.

and.....

Apart from all of the above, the second thing I am in awe of is the actual AMOUNT of money raised.....
and how a small group of active, giving gym buddies can collectively raise a very large amount of money!
I had no idea this could be possible and certainly no great expectations of how many and what type of donated items we would have to sell let alone who and how many people we would have buying what was donated.

To say I am astonished, overwhelmed, humbled and extremely grateful is an understatement! I cannot thank each and every one of you enough, for your contributions and support in what has been the most remarkable (and fun)  fund raiser I have certainly ever been involved in. 
Please forgive me if I have not mentioned your name here. With so many to thank, and with wanting to make it personal and acknowledge you all, there is always a risk of missing someone. If I have, please know you actions are in no way forgotten (only your name, sorry)  and are most certainly appreciated for your generosity.
 
Finally, Hampton Travel and Cruises will give 20% of their commission to BFWA if any of the Gym Buddies mention BFF when booking travel with them.
 
So, on behalf of our beneficiaries, my heartfelt thanks for your charitable kindness and support in what can only be described as a massive amount of  help for so many others less fortunate than ourselves.

With heartfelt thanks and love from  Jeanette.

"Unselfish and noble  actions are the most radiant of pages
 in the biographies of souls" 
- David Thomas
 

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Interview

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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Thank you for your help.