Hands Across the Water, or more commonly known as Hands, was established in 2005 after the founder Peter Baines OAM, was introduced to many children in TakuaPa, left without families, after the 2004 Tsunami.
Working as a forensic investigator, leading the Australian and international teams in the identification of those who died, Peter decided he had to do something for these children. Hands was formed and lives were transformed.
Starting with the kids of Baan Tharn Namchai, the focus was on providing shelter and building homes that would enrich their lives. In 2010, Hands was introduced to the children at Ban Home Hug in Yasothon and there began the journey beyond the kids of the Tsunami. Hands now operates in seven different locations across Thailand and every single child who spends a month, a year or longer is valued and matters. Every child matters.
Today Hands feed, house and educate over 300 children, providing resources that are needed by the dedicated Thai staff to develop the kids in a loving and nurturing way. Operating in Thailand, Hands focus is on a number of things. Hands believe in empowering the Thais, respecting their culture and acknowledging that in the main the best people to raise Thai kids are Thais. The charity does not operate from a religious standpoint and does not have a political agenda to drive. Hands also believes the best place for children when all things are equal is with their families and not in homes we operate. But when things are not equal or those opportunities do not exist then Hands provides solutions.
Supporting over 300 children, Hands operates on a principal of ensuring that every dollar donated goes directly to the children, the homes and the communities we support in Thailand. Hands guarantees that not one dollar of donations is used for any administrative costs of running the charity. Hands operates a separate commercial arm that provides funds for the running costs of the charity.
In 2015, Hands funded two English as an Additional Language (EAL) specialists to develop an English curriculum tailored to the children's needs and engage the children in learning English, a skill which is vital to build confidence and provide employment opportunities, assisting them to break the poverty cycle that many children without family support face.
In 2016 over eight native speaker, qualified English teachers volunteered to teach the program at the homes. Taught as an after-school program, the children attend classes at least twice a week and follow a prescribed curriculum complete with text books, songs, videos and picture books, arts and crafts to engage the children and learn English in a communicative way. So far the children have really engaged in the program and have made great progress, being regularly assessed.
For 2018, an exciting opportunity exists for 4-5 EAL teachers who are looking for a rewarding experience, living in the children's homes for a year and teaching the English to these very eager children.
Accommodation, meals, a weekly living allowance, a stepped-out curriculum with loads of fun resources, induction training week and support from the Hands English Team are all provided.