Take Care Kids by chance, through the words of a friend
And I discovered a wonderful reality, all made in Italy, made up of few words and many facts. Pure, concrete, authentic solidarity to help the most unfortunate children, to give them that future too often denied by the abuses and horrors committed by adults and by the poverty that still grips this part of the world.
I met Giorgio almost ten years ago right in the structure he founded in 2004 in Pattaya where, with the help of many people who have taken his “battle” to heart, up to now he has managed to bring back the smile of over one hundred children, giving them a place to sleep, where to feel safe, a hot dish to eat and the possibility of studying.
I remember very well the first time I walked through the Take Care Kids entrance. The children, who had just returned from school, were drawing. They were intrigued by my presence and asked me to sit with them. They were happy. They didn’t stop smiling. And seeing them like this made me happy.
Over the years I have often returned to visit them. I have seen some children grow up and many newcomers who were starting to recover their normalcy, surrounded by people who love them. Like Maria, a tireless volunteer, the backbone of this wonderful reality together with Giorgio.
Take Care Kids is truly a happy island that deserves our support, with the certainty that every donation is spent to help its little guests, step by step, until they are ready to succeed in their lives.
By Bart Walters
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.
Worth the effort
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.
During an interview
“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
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
“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.