1.10.12

Thailand Bound - FINALLY! - We Need Your Help

Long time readers might remember 4 or 5 years ago when I told you all that we had been asked to help an orphanage and refugee community in northern Thailand and that we were planning to move there in order to do so.

Latest picture of everyone at the orphanage.
Well, that didn't happen quite as quickly as we somehow thought it would. Since then we, as in, you and us together, have

-Taken care of more than 60 kids

-Trained 4 staff members to think long term and solve problems in an entrepreneurial way

-Incorporated as a 501c3 non-profit called The Charis Project with a board of directors and everything that goes along with that.

-Got a truck so the kids could get safely to school that they then began using to bring the home income by using it for a transport business as a school bus and for farmers going to market.

-Conceptualized a model for self sustaining orphan care through entrepreneurship that makes homes for children at risk financially independent and empowers communities to care for the children in need among them. Please see the video below.

-Began working to make that concept a reality in our prototype children's home Baan Saeng Saiwan

-Purchased land for the home to develop for agribusiness that now has maturing coffee trees on it as well as other agriculture products and to raise their own food on.

And finally, received a grant this year for $15,000 to develop a second child care community in Mae Sot, this time from the ground up, with business development and entrepreneurship at it's roots and as part of it's DNA. We will be empowering women especially to be the financial providers for their families and able to care for the children without families that we bring to them as well, through education, training support etc.

"How", you ask, "have we been able to do all this in our spare time, working late evenings and weekends, flying to Thailand as often as possible rather than taking vacations, AND managing all aspects of the administrative and project side of running a non-profit?"

I honestly don't know. It's kind of amazing, now I think about it.

We could keep doing it this way. The orphanage would be self sufficient in another 4-5 years, and our second prototype community would be off the ground in maybe 7-10, with the rate we're going in terms of being available to actively train and work with them.

We could wait 10 years or more before going into Nepal, Ethiopia or Latin America where we've been asked to come and train people to do the self sustaining model, because we just don't have the resources and manpower to do it any sooner. We could keep changing the world slowly, so that in 2 generations perhaps we've done something about the extreme poverty that children all over the world live in, especially those without stable families, and the factors that contribute to it.

Or, we could give up temperatures that fall below 80F, ever, and well groomed freeways, and potable water, for bamboo huts and giants bugs and raw meat graciously offered by generous hosts in order to be there full time and get this done in the next 2 years and be ready to move on with 2 working prototypes.

We prefer the second option. So does our board of directors. They voted at the beginning of this year to direct energy and funds toward making it possible for us to go in 2013.

(Also, there are enough people here in the states who are willing now to volunteer their time to keep this show on the road regarding what needs doing on this end that we can leave it in their capable hands and be on our way.)

You see, the main thing we lack is someone over there who understands well enough what it is we're trying to do and how it can be done to be able to teach our staff. It turns out that we are best equipped to teach someone how to do our idea. Who knew.

So we're going, hopefully by the end of March 2013, which is when Aaron's exit from his current job will be complete.

SO here's where you come in. We need some cash to make it happen. We have about $7500 so far in a designated fund toward "educational development in Thailand." What that really means is that our family needs enough money to survive while we're there. We'll need to rent a house, and eat and stuff, which is fairly cheap in Thailand, compared to here and maybe get something to drive around in too.

These 4 characters want to be fed every day!
(We don't intend to live at the orphanage, though we'll be there often, because the idea is to empower and help them to do stuff all by themselves, which isn't helped by us being there all the time.)

To reach our minimum threshold we need about $22,500 more. Which is just over 1000 people giving $20. That shouldn't be hard. That's you and 99 of your facebook friends, times 10. If 10 of you donated $20 and got 99 of your friends on facebook to do so also, we'd be done.



Even better, would be if half of those people decided to donate that much every month for a year or two, until we have this done. That would greatly increase our options for accelerating development.



Most people when they head out to do this sort of thing have a home community that supports them, and we do have a smallish one here that is great, but small.

Some people have churches that send them out and give them a stipend. We don't have that. The church we've been attending since we moved here hasn't had a budget for that sort of thing for several years now.

But we do have you. You guys have been our community from the very beginning. You believed in us before anyone we knew in real life came on board. Without you this literally would not have been possible.

So, hi community. We need your help again.

Also, we've had a local business here in San Diego that embodies the entrepreneurial ideals of The Charis Project called PUREFORGE donate a brand new iPad to raffle off for every donation of $20. You know, to make it fun.

You get to choose your color
 So donate $20 and get one raffle entry. Donate $40, you get 2 entries, etc . We'll be making the draw on the 1st of November. (Want another chance to win this iPad? Post this link on twitter or facebook. Just be sure to @charisproject or tag us on facebook in your post so we can see it.)

Or, if you can't spare $20 just donate $5, $1, whatever you can. We have some other prizes coming up that you will be eligible to win. Even $1 donations add up big time if enough people give, seriously.


Tomorrow I'll tell you about the letter I imagine writing at the end of next year and what we plan to accomplish. 

We ask for the privilege of being your love extended.

6 comments:

  1. Chantelle McIver8:50 AM

    I have never seen that video before. Well done~! Who is doing the drawing and speaking?

    ReplyDelete
  2. We did it last year. The voice is Aaron and his sister Haven is the artist.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lauren11:12 AM

    That is awesome!!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. HapaMama9:09 PM

    Wow, great news, Carrien!

    ReplyDelete
  5. That video is awesome. My boys thought so, too. Immediately after watching it, they went and did their own versions. Though you might like to see (and Haven, since it was her art they were emulating).

    ReplyDelete

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