[September 2016]

Leadership Home will house 40+ hill tribe teenagers giving them the chance of a better future and a higher education.

The first phase of Leadership Home has begun - a dormitory for 40 young people- which is due for completion by the end of 2016. The young people are disadvantaged young people from the Lahu and Akha hill tribes. Schools are rarely located high in the mountains therefore, to attend school, they must live on site at the school for at least 10 months a year. Chiang Dao is the ideal location – the large town 90 minutes from Chiang Mai- has a quality secondary school, high school and a technical education program (similar to the Australian TAFE system).

Onsite now there is a temporary dormitory, dining room and study shelter that have been built by the local volunteer hill tribe people (including the children’s parents) with funds from BFWA. The 4 acres of land was donated by a supporter (value $70,000). It is beautiful land 5 kms from the school in Chiang Dao with mango trees and views to the most beautiful mountains. There is plenty of land for agriculture and the young people have already planted vegetable gardens. A soccer field and a volleyball court are in constant use.

The temporary dorms needed to be built so the 7 children could start school at the beginning of the school year (May 2016). These bamboo structures are beautiful and strong, and will house the BFWA volunteers and guests in the future. All volunteers/guests pay 300THB (approx. $15 a day for bed, breakfast and dinner). These funds then subsidise the food and other essentials for the children. Our sponsorship program ensures that every child attending Leadership Home has a sponsor – new children will have a sponsor. Most already have a sponsor because our sponsorship program is extensive -180 children- and we have been following the children for seven years. We consult with their primary school, parents and the young people and we have a good understanding of the children who will be attending Leadership Home in the future


Criteria for hill tribe children to attend Leadership Home:

  • Grade 7 and above
  • Those willing to pursue a higher education
  • Those who have shown a willingness and aptitude to learn
  • Parental support is beneficial but not essential
  • High risk hill tribe children – no parents; poor ‘troubled’ villages (drugs, sex trafficking, esp villages bordering the Myanmar/Thailand border.


The secondary school is 5kms from Leadership Home. We desperately need money for a quality utility ($35,000) to transport the children to school – thankfully a Happy Hands supporter paid the $16 a month per child for transport. BFWA receives annual grants from BP and this money would cover the ongoing vehicle expenses.

Fundraising for the new dormitory ($90,000) started 18 months ago. With help from a BFWA supporter we raised the $90,000. Once the buildings are complete in December, we will increase the number of young people to 14 and, over the next two years, up to 40-60 young people will be staying at Leadership Home.

The new dorm has been carefully designed – simple rectangles – separate accommodation for girls and boys – 5 large rooms for 6-8 young people (4 bunk beds in each room) ie 40 children. As we raise more money we will build another 4 rooms and a multipurpose building – kitchen/dining/library/study. The manager will be in a separate room with a bathroom and an adjoining room for a sick child/guest etc. All new buildings must meet the approval of the relevant Government authorities, and the Manager has completed the required Government training.

It’s been a long wait but the electricity connection to Leadership Home is almost complete and building can start on the new dorm.


Leadership Home building 1

The beautiful land looks to the 3rd highest mountain (left of the picture and hidden under the clouds) in Thailand. The land has mango and longan trees and plenty of room for sustainable agricuture.

Leadership Home building 2   Leadership Home building 3

Temporary accommodation for the 7 children and manager at Leadership Home. In the future, visitors can use these huts.

Leadership Home building 4

Nipa, the Manager at Leadership Home, loves her A frame hut built by the hill tribe volunteers.

Leadership Home building 5

The ‘study room’ – lots of English lessons here. Thank you to the sponsors of the first fabulous Leadership Home kids - Darunee, Meepae, Surachai, Malee, Worakarn, Malee and Nisai.

Leadership Home building 6

The temporary kitchen at Leadership Home

Leadership Home building 7

Getting off the ‘school bus’ – thanks Sally for paying for the transportation for the young people. We hope we soon have our own vehicle.

Leadership Home building 8

Princess and Sock – the two guard dogs! Thanks Sally & Eric for sponsoring them. They are the best cared for hill tribe dogs.

Leadership Home building 9

[August 2016]

Dr Lorel Mayberry, President of Borderless Friendship WA was recently presented with a Rotary Foundation Award – The Paul Harris Fellow. This is an internationally recognised award for her humanitarian work with hill tribe children in Northern Thailand. Over the past 8 years, Lorel has travelled to remote border regions of Northern Thailand to work with local hill tribe leaders to run weekend sexuality education workshops.

In addition to the education workshops, BFWA has provided education scholarships to hundreds of young hill tribe children to continue secondary and tertiary education. Dr Rosemary Coates AO, retired Curtin professor and Patron of BFWA, has established an education scholarship fund in honour of her partner, Professor Paola Ferroni. At the July 2016 award ceremony in Chiang Mai, 10 young hill tribe women received this prestigious scholarship.


Professor Paola Ferroni was the Director of the Centre for International Health at Curtin University in Western Australia. She was an Epidemiologist who dedicated her life to promoting health and preventing disease and disability through research and education. Dr Ferroni and her team undertook most of their work in Asia.

Paola emphasised the need for educating girls and women as a means to ameliorating poverty and achieving gender equity. Based on the UN statistic that 70% of the world’s poverty is born by women and that one on three women has been subjected to some form of sexual aggression, Paola provided both material and emotional support for many women from diverse countries and cultures.

In November 2014, while cycling to her fitness centre, Dr Ferroni was killed, being hit by a driver who was looking at her telephone rather than the road in front of her.

PaolaThe Paola Ferroni Education Scholarship has been established to honour Paola’s work and her philosophy. The scholarship is to support the education of hill tribe girls and women in order to provide them with the capacity to make independent decisions, find safe and meaningful employment and become educators to their family and beyond.

“If you educate a man, you educate an individual. If you educate a woman, you educate a nation.”       Catherine Beecher, 1843

Give the gift of education – please donate to:

Borderless Friendship WA Paola Ferroni Education Scholarships
See http://borderlessfriendship.org/index.php/donate
Account details: BSB 016-267 Account no. 461835553


Lorel Aug 2016

Picture --Dr Lorel Mayberry, in Kae Noi, a remote mountain village on the border of Thailand and Myanmar.

Attached to this article please find the response to the 60 Minutes show in Australia aired on 29th May 2016 from our BFWA President, Dr Lorel Mayberry.

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Download this file (Response to 60 Minutes show 29th May 2016.pdf)Response to 60 Minutes show 29th May 2016.pdf348 Kb

Western Australia supporters - We are proud to announce our next fundraising event supported by Grill'd: BURGERS FOR BORDERLESS

Sunday April 10 at Grill'd Shafto Lane, Perth.

Who doesn't love great quality food and drinks while helping to raise funds for needy children in Northern Thailand. 

Buy tickets online - limited number available so get in quick!


2016-04 Burger for Borderless

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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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