Well, several sleepless nights later and there is a website up for The Charis Project, sort of. I have never done anything like this before. I don't know anything about HTML, anything at all. And yet for days on end I have been staring at strings of code and trying to figure out why all of my style sheets are suddenly MIA when I make changes (See, I know a jargon word now) and trying to get it to look pretty. My eyeballs feel like they are bleeding. I don't understand any of it, but after a while I start to see patterns. I'm treating it like magic. The HTML is happy if you don't disturb it too much. Just make sure all the lines match up and type type type copies of the one that looks the way you want it to, even though you don't know why, so that you can make the other ones looks that way too. It's very scientific. I am a blind man grasping the trunk of the elephant.
As you can imagine, it is far from complete. But I managed to hack the bare bones together and get a donate page running which is very important.
The GH leaves in just over a week. That means anyone who wants to send money to help Chala take care of the 30 refugee kids from Burma has one week to do so if they want him to get it this month. The GH will hand deliver whatever is donated to Chala when he meets him in Thailand in two weeks.
I'm not very good at fund raising. The last time I tried it, several years ago, it totally bombed. Really badly. That was before the advent of blogging though. Since I started this blog 2 years ago I have watched in awe as the power of this internet connection we have with people has worked to change things, in a good way. Of course, I don't have as many readers as a lot of people who have done some really great things for some really worthy causes. (Thank-you every one who does read, I love you. Mwah.) And this is a really worthy cause. So this is where I start begging. Will you please help me? Could you tell your readers about this and send them back here? Will you help me to spread the word. Chala and the kids live on so little right now, any thing that we can raise would be a huge blessing to them. I am constantly amazed by how wonderful and caring the people who read here are. You do some pretty amazing things in the course of your day some of you. I'm counting on you to come through on this.
In the interest of keeping things fun I have prizes.
For every 30 people who leave a donation I will draw their names for one handmade Karen bag of your choosing. I have several that are about to go up for sale at the Tribal Goods Store on the website that I will build sometime in the next few weeks. You could get one first. You can even choose the color. They are very pretty, strong and comfortable to cart your stuff around in. I use mine for diapers. There are several that are even manly enough for guys. (Of course the Karen men favor hot pink, but we have more neutral colors for you guys here.) My husband, brother and brothers in law all use them and love them.
Also I will also draw for another bag out of a list of people who link back to this on their own blog, or e-mail it to all their friends if you don't have a blog. So if you want a second chance at winning a bag, link to this story and leave a comment to let me know. Your name will go into another draw.
So just to recap, in case you missed it the first time, this is what I'm raising money for.
A few months back my brother in law met a man in northern Thailand who used to be a member of the Shan Resistance Army. (Think the guide in Rambo 4.) They basically tried to protect themselves from the Burmese army who periodically would surround a village with heavy artillery and give them two hours to hand over all of their food, all of their pigs, and all of their women or they would open fire on everyone. This man, Chala, is now on the Thai side of the border. He took my brother in law through the jungle and showed him all of the places where he used to hide. Now he uses his knowledge to find kids in the jungle.So won't you please help? Ten US dollars is about 337 baht. A cheap restaurant meal in Thailand is only 33 baht. Which is about one dollar. A little bit would go a long way to getting these kids better food and housing. To make donation click here.
You may be wondering why exactly would he be wandering through the jungle along the border and looking for kids? Because they are there to find. They are usually orphans, they have been running to get away from the Burmese army. They have escaped and often witnessed the deaths of entire villages before they could get away. They head for the Thai border where they know they will be safe. Chala finds them and takes them in. He feeds them and gives them a place to sleep. Right now he has more than 40 kids. He's had to move them several times because he keeps running out of money. He does all this out of his own pocket. I get to figure out how to help him help them.
Right now he's only able to worry about keeping them alive, but there will be more to consider in the coming years. Ultimately they will need school and counseling and job training. They will need someone to help them grow up. They need someone to love them right now. They are excruciatingly poor. They sleep on a floor and eat whatever is cheapest to buy. It would take so little by our standards to take care of them properly.
In a few weeks we'll have the site up and anyone who wants to donate toward helping Chala and those kids will be able to do so. My husband will be meeting him the last week of August and will hand deliver any thing you give to him when he gets there.
If anyone is able to make a widget or link button for a side bar and wanted to help me make one so that people can post it if they want please let me know. I'm sure it must be simple but my sleep deprived brain is too fried right now to think about it. My husband is getting up for work right now and I have yet to go to bed. Love ya.