This time I want to introduce you to a charity named "Take Care Kids", a foster home for abused children in Pattaya and to Juergen Lusuardi, called "Gio" as his nickname, who is leading this amazing place.
Take Care Kids and Gio are established in Pattaya since nearly 20 years. As many of you might know, I am living and working here since close to 22 years. I was so surprised that I never met Gio and his kids during all this years, when I recently got to know him, visited him and the kids and heard the stories of the kids, described in this article.
I really got the feeling that Gio needs help, direct financial help for the kids, but also help to increase the awareness in Pattaya about the work he is doing.
The great thing is, that everybody who is interested to know more about Take Care Kids can send a WhatsApp message to Gio, or just give him a call
at +66 85 248 0194 and get more information about what kind of help is needed.
And there is a lot to do, not only with donations, also volunteer workers are more than welcome at Take Care Kids.
Bart Walters, an American journalist was happy to help and put this article together.
My friend Ben David Hughes and his IT-company We're Humans stepped in and they are developing a new, more informative website for them.
Another friend, Dan Cheeseman with his Media Firms www.AseanNow.com and www.DanaboutThailand.com did a video report about Gio and his kids. The interview with Juergen can be found here:
I want to thank all 3 friends involved for their help, but now read yourself:
Changing lives one kid at a time
Most of us have donated to a charity at some point in our lives. Maybe you’ve put some money in a cup for the homeless. Or you bought a raffle ticket at a charity event for the blind. Perhaps you sent a check to the American Cancer Society and wrote it off on your taxes. The list of causes one can contribute to is endless.
But people are still homeless. People are still going blind. Friends and family continue to die from cancer. Most charities have accepted the exasperating task of solving virtually unsolvable problems. It can easily discourage us from stepping up to help any cause. We end up thinking, “What’s the point?”
Part of the problem is that there are too many degrees of separation between our contribution and the tangible results. If we could trace our $100 donation from our hands directly to a needy cancer patient or homeless person, we would all most certainly be more generous.
Finding the right cause is the key to meaningful charity. And it's worth the effort. The exhilaration you feel when your kindness changes the life of another person is something that cannot be described or duplicated. For that one precious moment, you know for sure you are doing the right thing for the right reason. Especially when that other person is a child.
There are some smaller frontline organizations that have zero degrees of separation between contributors and their grateful recipients. There are places where you can go and see the faces of the people you have helped. There are places where the administrators of the charity are available to talk to you and show you exactly how your money gets spent.
Take Care Kids in Eastern Pattaya, Thailand is one such zero-degree charity. Housed in a nondescript shophouse complex, it operates as a foster home for children escaping horrifically abusive circumstances. Some of the children have been sexually abused. Some have been tortured. Some have been trafficked for work as beggars, and prostitutes and some to be harvested for their organs.
Thai Social Welfare, The Women and Child Protection Agency in Thailand, and even the police bring kids from Thailand, Cambodia, and Burma to live at TKC. Take Care Kids is a non-religious organization that welcomes children from all cultures and countries.
During an interview with Juergen Lusuardi (Khun Gio), Director of Take Care Kids Thailand, he talked about some of the children currently residing there.
“We have a 14-year-old girl who was kept in a dark room for nearly a year and fed dog food. She was almost blind and covered with scars where she’d been beaten repeatedly by her stepmother”.
“We have twin boys who are only four years old. They were taken from a beggar gang where they worked at the night market running around begging for money. They never saw the light of day. It took a few months before they could tolerate full sunlight”.
Gio showed videos of a Thai woman slapping a toddler mercilessly and talking to the camera as the child screamed. She was sending the movie of the savage beating to her ex-husband and father of the child and saying she would continue until he sent money to her account. Another woman did the same and hung a choking three-year-old up in front of the camera with a belt around his neck threatening to kill the boy if the father didn’t pony up.
One woman showed up at TKC with her ten-year-old son and said, “Take him or I will throw him under the next train that comes down those tracks”. She left her son with the clothes on his back.
TKC takes these children in and moves their lives in a new direction. They discover a life where people care about them and have their best interests in mind. They go to public schools, have clean clothes, eat nutritious food, and live in a peaceful, safe environment.
After school, the children gather at the long row of tables in the covered outdoor area. You can find them there every day, diligently working on their writing skills, doing homework, and creating artwork with their newly freed minds. The house runs like one big family with 16 kids.
“Our reach goes beyond this building into the community,” Gio said. We support single mothers by helping them get jobs and get away from destructive lifestyles. We visit work camps full of Cambodians and Burmese to monitor the number and condition of the children. We bring them essential food items and clothing when they need it”.
“If the children we take in are school-age, we supply them with uniforms and everything they need to succeed there. Most of the kids are thrilled to get a chance to go to school. We make sure they do their homework and help them to study”, Gio said.
Some of the kids have been blessed with sponsors that send them to private schools. For 150,000 baht per year, private individuals can sponsor a child and pay for all their expenses. You can actually meet the child whose life you are changing, that's the ultimate expression of zero degrees of separation.
When Gio was asked how he measured success in the face of an ever-expanding human trafficking trade, he said, “You can’t place a value on creating a good person. One kind act can change a person’s life forever. Thirty years from now when they are living a good life with a family of their own, they can trace it back to that one act of kindness”.
“An abused child puts on their first school uniform and their life is changed. A single mother gets a good job with health benefits and her whole family’s lives are changed. Sometimes all they need is hope and a new direction”.
It is easy to understand Gio’s long-term strategy. The efforts of TKC have an impact not only on these kids now, but on future generations. Most abusers of any type were abused as children. TKC rescues these kids from hellish circumstances and instills in them a “culture of kindness” that can break the cycle of abuse. It’s a good platform on which to build a good person who pays it forward and raises happy, healthy children of their own.
Thanks to generous donations in recent years, TKC has purchased land in Huay Yai and is constructing a new 600-square-meter expanded home for the kids. The two-floor facility will increase the home’s capacity to 40 guests, more than double the current number, and is built on 1,600 square meters of land.
Later this year (probably November) the project will be move-in ready and the family will expand. Once again, you can see the progress. You can see the faces of the children light up when they talk about it. You can hear the excitement in their voices. That’s what it means to have zero degrees of separation.
For those that are interested, there are a number of ways you can contribute. Bank details can be found on TKCs website if you would like to donate money.
Also, a collection box for used clothing in good repair is outside the office. (TKC brings the clothes to the work camps for the adults so they can get in to monitor the children).
Anything that might be helpful in helping our kids succeed is welcome.