Part 1 – Dec 2008 Unexpected Journey to Thailand
Heather and I have been busy running a variety of small business' for most of our married life (10 years and counting). Most of them, to be honest, have been a little bit on the boring, corporate world side. After busting our butts for a few years without a real holiday a friend suggested we take a trip Chiang Mai in the North of Thailand for a few weeks.
He was always going back and forth between Chiang Mai and Brisbane and just loved the place. So we think, what the hey, Thai food tastes great, let’s put the closed sign on the door for a couple of weeks and take a little break.
In our second week we meet some people working for a foundation, who basically act as de-facto parents for many many children who are either orphans or at risk of being exploited. So, we go for a little visit to see they're setup. I still don't know if it was the passion & dedication of these “house parents” or the smiling faces of the children, but something changed inside of us. We didn’t know what that something was, but it felt significant.
Part 2 – July 2009, The Lightbulb Moment
Back in Australia, and 6 months after our 1st trip to the land of smiles the desire to run our own business’ is going down hill fast and our desire for all things Thailand is growing.
A friend of mine hands me a book on how to outsource major business functions to free up time for “other stuff”. I think, I know what “other stuff” might mean. After reading the book, we felt it was really possible to scale back our operations and run them from Thailand.
Chiang Mai is a lot of fun. There's food, fun and adventure aplenty, but the only thing we talked about was the foundation and the children they were looking after. We just thought they were amazing (children and the house parents). Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could help them out somehow.
So Heather and I go about busily trying finding ways to streamline our life. Essentially we want to eliminate the need for us to be physically in Australia. Another 6 months on, it's mission complete (well, as complete as we could get it).
So we contacted the organisation in Thailand we visited last year and offered to help if they’d have us. They said yes, we did a big high five and started packing our bags. In truth we didn’t even know how we could help, but it just felt right.
Part 3 – Dec 2009 - Present. Sometimes life feels like a setup.
How often does it happen that, "the thing you are looking for is also looking for you".
As it turns out the foundation was setting up a business school as a training program for the older children coming out of the homes. This is right up our alley, AMAZING!!!. we were looking to help but didn't know how. They were looking at how and didn't know who. Yet we met up just at the right time.
Children's homes are an unfortunate necessity in Thailand. While they provide a safe haven to the mother and fatherless, homes present other challenges for the kids as they get older. Challenges of self worth, identity and skills training.
Real world business training was identified a fantastic vehicle to teach the older kids skills & build they're confidence to a level where they could run a business themselves.
Guess what - IT'S WORKING!!! This is an offshoot of the original 2009 project, from which there are now more than 5 others, staffed by graduates from Haven Children’s Homes as a business training and employment opportunity. We oversee the trainees and continue help them grow e-commerce & life skills.
Please let us know if you'd like some more info.
Peace & Blessings
Darryl & Heather