Everyone had given up hope. The prolonged drought and scorching heat year after year had parched every conceivable amount of life out of the land. There seems no hope. But something amazing happens. Out of no where the rains come. And what was lifeless and useless land, suddenly flourishes to the most amazing bountiful landscape of plants and flowers. It’s like a miracle. Such is the life of the Australian outback.
This reminded me of my experience this week here in northern Thailand. Except the difference is it was about people. The spirit that lies within us. The unseen power within. The power that transform lives.
I spent the week with the Hill tribe people in the mountains in the north of the country. A population of about four hundred thousand. Many have no national id and therefore cannot travel. Most are extremely poor. Combined with a lack of education, the girls are commonly traded by human traffickers. Typically, the “Karaoke” Bars. The beginning of the end. Next stop Bangkok. You know those nightclubs we’ve joked about how those girls entertain the crowd. That could have been one of our daughters. So prevalent is the human trafficking some villages have no girls left. Then there’s the drug trade. The need to get amphetamines across the border down through Bangkok. The Hill tribe people once again become the target.
But there is hope. Organisations like the Borderless Friendship Foundation. Their efforts may be just making a small dent. But its a tremendous start. Giving these Hill tribe children hope. A future. Over sixty percent of the children on the five hostels supported by the foundation are effectively orphans. Either without parents, parents lost to drugs or abandoned by their parents.
Like that forgotten dry parched desert. You can’t see the human spirit. You can’t touch it. But nurture it and watch it blossom. Like Bovi, this young boy of three. You could almost see the pain of his past through his young eyes. But what you felt more was this delightful joy-inspiring personality blossoming with each day as a result of the caring people now nurturing him. The kind of love and affection most of us take for granted.
And the results are continuing to show. That’s apart from the joy and sense of hope and opportunity you see on the kids faces. It’s also showing in their school results. Once discarded by the broader community as without hope, some of these Hill tribe children are now out ranking the local kids.
It’s through individual sponsorship, generous contributions by business and organisations like Rotary International that are supporting their life changing opportunity.
And that’s what brought me here. In the early part of my gap year in a remote part of Australia, I learnt, because of a downturn, large mining companies were dumping good used bed linen. But thanks to the Rotary Club of Mill Point in Perth, they identified a number of charities who would benefit. The end result was a hundred and twenty six pallets of quality bed linen distributed to people in need. You can read the story about the sheets in an earlier post.
One of those benefiting charities was the Borderless Friendship Foundation here in northern Thailand. We may take for granted the linen we sleep on. But for these kids their gratitude is heartwarming. So like the magic that lies within the harsh Australian land, maybe that linen from the outback may help bring out just a bit more of that magic human spirit that lies within each of those children. The Borderless Friendship Foundation is certainly giving them every chance, in so many ways.
If you would like to find out how you could help the Borderless Friendship Foundation please click here.
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