Thursday, October 4, 2012

(Updated) Next Year We Finish This! and we need your help - Win an iPad 3

We have always anticipated that we would need to have staff in Thailand on a more permanent basis so that our training of local staff and project development could go forward more smoothly. The time has finally come to make that happen.

Latest picture of everyone at the orphanage.
When our board of directors met earlier this year the biggest need we identified was to have someone on the ground in Thailand overseeing the projects. A motion to move in that direction was unanimously approved and since then we have been taking steps toward that.

If all goes as planned Aaron Blue, our CEO, along with his wife Carrien Blue - currently serving as CFO, and their 4 children will be moving to Thailand in the spring of 2013 to oversee the final transition of our prototype home in Tak Province from financially dependent to fully self sustaining, and continue to build the orphan care community model in Mae Sot.

We need your help to raise enough money to make this happen. Please give and share this post.

As you know, to this point all of our staff have been volunteer, doing the work on evenings and weekends and in their spare time. Aaron and Carrien have carried most of the weight in this regard. Over the past 5 years, without any compensation, as you have partnered with us, we 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 from the Honors Nature of Giving Student Organization in Texas 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.

But as they go to Thailand and devote all of their time to seeing this project through, we have reached the point where they must be supported financially in order to be able to do this.

To that end we have created a specific fund for Educational Development in Thailand that will pay them a living wage as they move forward with this work.

(They will not be living at the orphanage, though they will be there often, because the idea is to empower and help the staff to manage everything on their own. Such close proximity would harm that blossoming independence.)

We need your help to make this a possibility.

The total minimum threshold we need to raise is $30, 000. We currently have approximately $7500 in the fund.

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.

What would be even better is if half of those people decided to donate every month for a year or two, until the project is complete. That would greatly increase our options for accelerating our development.

Please Give. And Please Share this need with others.

You are the community that has supported the work of The Charis Project from the start and believed in what we are trying to accomplish. You are The Charis Project. The Blues when they go are simply extensions of you and your generosity, care and enthusiastic advocacy for children in impoverished communities.

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 if enough people give. If all 300+ of our facebook fans gave $1 and convinced 99 of their facebook friends to give $1, that would accomplish our entire minimum goal.

What will this accomplish? Well, if we keep doing it the way we have done 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.

That means we would have to wait at least 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. 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 get two working prototype self sustaining childcare models up and running inside of 2 or 3 years, and have the momentum from that to carry us forward into being a resource for people from all over the world.

We have already been tapped to consult with orphanages in other countries as we are able, including a group of Harvard MBA students working to make an orphanage in Nicaragua more self sustaining.

This is leading toward our ultimate goal of revolutionizing the approach to care for vulnerable children by leveraging the means used to support their care to being the means by which their communities are transformed.

More on what they plan to accomplish, from Carrien's perspective, here.