At Yayme!, we are always happy to support worthwhile and philanthropic causes. ICC Thailand has been on our radar for quite a while, ever since we were introduced to the amazing charity by our friends, Kim and Derek. The orphanage does incredible work and is headed up by New Zealand born, Althea Mason.

With a Diploma of Applied Science in Nursing behind her, Althea’s childhood dream of looking after children in an orphanage became a reality after a number of mission trips to Cambodia and Thailand. While Althea realised that she couldn’t change the world, she could make a difference in the children’s lives she met on the trips.

When the position of administrator came up at the orphanage in 2014, five years after her first visit to Thailand, Althea and her husband Mark didn’t hesitate in saying yes to a more permanent relocation. Althea had no issue with trading in her salary and job security for the chance to work with the children and relished the opportunity to bring love and laughter into the lives of the kids at the orphanage.
Despite the steep learning curve, it was a challenge that Althea embraced wholeheartedly. She worked closely with the kids and the staff, and together as a team, everyone set about improving the conditions of the facilities, the yard and the garden. They introduced cold, filtered water, gave the kitchen a makeover and enhanced the diet of the kids reducing many of the health issues they had been experiencing in the past.

Althea admits that life at the orphanage can be difficult at times as the ICCT budget is only minimal and they are solely reliant on the sponsorship of the children at the orphanage. While the current budget covers the day to day running costs of the orphanage, it does not allow for improvements and changes.

Thanks to fundraisers and donors such as Kim and Derek, projects like irrigation systems and water tanks have been added. The orphanage is now home to a magnificent tree house complete with a mural by artist Andy Collis and his kind and creative family. Althea is very grateful to all those who fundraise, lend their skills and donate to make a difference.
With a plan to enable ICCT to become more self-sufficient, Althea will be heading to Australia to raise awareness and fundraising. Althea will be the first to admit that her job is not easy.

“My heart melts, the children just need loving, care and nurturing. In fact, I often have tears at the responsibility, frustrations and the heartlessness of some people. The heat and the language often get me down, but there are always the smiles and laughter of the children to remind me of the big picture, THEM!”

Althea is an inspiration to many, and I look forward to being able to share more of Althea’s story and her plans in the lead-up to her visit.

By Vicky Solopotias
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