Royal Varuna Yacht Club, for the second time this year, hosted a
children’s outing, bringing disadvantaged children to the beautiful
seaside at the club for a day’s fun, swimming, eating and generally
enjoying the superb ambience.
wind, relatively calm seas - perfect weather for the outing.
For many in this group, comprising some 100 children orphaned by the
curse of HIV/AIDS which took away their parents, it was the first time
to experience the beauty of the sea, feel the north-easterly monsoons on
their faces and bodies and celebrate the exuberance of unfettered
freedom - even for one day.
The lovely boys and girls from the House of Mercy Foundation’s (HOMF)
Ban Meata Children’s Home for children living with HIV at Khon Kaen were
very excited to be provided with this trip to the beach during the
school holidays in October. The Royal Varuna Yacht Club generously
hosted the programme, which enabled these children to enjoy the
experience of a lifetime.
I’m actually steering the boat!
Every March, for the past decade, Royal Varuna has hosted another
children’s charity event. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Bangkok South,
when more than 400 children, truly afflicted, spend a day at the
seaside. Blind, crippled and otherwise terribly disadvantaged, these
young orphans enjoy a day of sunshine and joy - even the sightless -
before returning to the grim halls of their Pakkred Orphanage.
One further charitable foray by the Kingdom’s oldest and most active
yacht club has been the ongoing PC Classic yacht race which, under the
tutelage of the Pattaya Mail has distributed millions of baht over the
years to the most disadvantaged groups along the Eastern Seaboard.
A recent report by the Save the Children Fund: (UK), claims that “More
than eight million children are living in orphanages/institutions, with
most sent there by their parents because of poverty, rather than the
death of one or both parents.”
“Not so at Ban Meata,” say Wendy Lewis, Mark Ellwood and Dave
Littlejohn, ardent supporters of the HOMF. Presently there are some 130
underprivileged and/or orphaned children living in HOMF children’s homes
at Khon Kaen, Phetchabun and Phrae.
But, back to the most recent outing, children from the Ban Meata
Children’s Home in Khon Kaen are cared for by the House of Mercy
Foundation which contributes to give them life, hope and a future; and
helps them reach their highest potential.
Ban Meata (literally translated as “Mercy House”) in Khon Kaen is
currently home for 39 children between 6 and 17 years of age who are all
living with HIV or AIDS. These children have lost one or both parents,
but all attend school daily, and are full of enthusiasm for life! They
all live in a safe, caring environment where they receive good food,
medical care and lots of love.
the ropes out at sea.
During their stay at Royal Varuna and Jomtien, the children enjoyed a
wonderful programme of activities including a trip to Koh Samet and
These experiences are a “first” for these children who come from
backgrounds of poverty, rejection and from lives ravaged by HIV/AIDS.
Ban Meata in Khon Kaen is in need of continued support as it seeks to
relocate in the next couple of years. The current building is leased and
before its expiry they hope to purchase land within easy reach of
schools and hospital and build a village type facility with cottages for
children and live-in carers.
is a day everyone will remember.
There is also a vision for the development of work skills to give
gainful employment for the children, some of whom are fast approaching
adulthood and, because of their health history, will find it difficult
to find meaningful jobs.
Individuals and organisations support HOMF by sponsoring children to
provide for their care, taking out educational sponsorships, buying a
child a breeding cow to build a wealth base for their future, providing
food, and contributing to a number of projects that seek to provide high
quality facilities and equipment for the benefit of these deserving
is great fun!
English speakers will be able to access more information about House of
Mercy Foundation on www.mercy-international.com which will hopefully in
the near future have a link to a Thai language site to enable Thai
people learn more about how to help Thai children.
All further enquiries and offers of assistance should be addressed to
the principles noted above and through the web-site.
Some of the youngsters out
for a sail.
Decorating cookies with
We love cookies.
Eager children wait
patiently for some ice cream.
It might be possible to
have more fun, but we don’t know how.
Supporters of the HOMF,
with some of their charges at the Varuna outing.