Hands Across The Water is the proud recipient of a Gold Stevie Award this week, and we’d like to say THANK YOU to all of you for your support. The Stevie’s are widely considered to be the world’s premier business awards and were contested by more than 800 nominations from organizations across the Asia-Pacific region. Here, at Hands, we’re thrilled to be acknowledged with this award. A key component of our submission was the innovative operational structure that allows for 100% of all fundraising to go straight to the charity. No fundraising money is used for administration, staff wages or marketing.

This is made possible through the creation of a separate entity, Hands Group, which is a social enterprise that delivers leadership, education and travel experiences.  Profits from these events fund the running of Hands Group, the goal being to generate enough profit to not only pay business running costs, but to deliver excess profits to the charity.

To date, Hands Across The Water has raised over $20 million dollars to support at-risk children in Thailand and is striving for further growth and continued excellence in the future. The team at Hands find inspiration in their founder, Peter Baines, and through a deep knowledge that they are truly contributing to something very special. This small team is determined to continue achieving big things.

Take the upcoming Future of Leadership series which runs in 4 cities across Australia in August. This event was launched as a fundraiser by one of our supporters and January bike riders Darren Hill, who also happens to be a world class keynote speaker. Darren handed the event over to Hands Group, who, with Darren’s support and guidance have driven this event to be one of the premier leadership conferences on the Australian calendar, attracting 2000+ delegates annually to one-day events in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Newcastle and now Auckland and Bangkok.

Another component that helped Hands secure this remarkable business award is our dedication to creating the right structure to empower Thai staff to provide the care and education the children need. We firmly believe that the best people to raise and educate Thai kids, are Thais, and that by providing the right framework, we will truly allow local communities to lead and nurture the next generation. Hands provides governance, compliance, leadership, accountability and funding to the charity and the orphanages, leaving the spiritual care and education to the local Thai staff.

One of the key focuses of the charity is to provide sustainable support that not only benefits the children, but the whole community. The real impact of Hands is measured in the choice we create for the kids when it comes time for them to leave our homes. When the children have finished high school, they are given the opportunity to go to university, fully funded by the charity. Currently there are 47 students being supported through their university studies in Thailand.

Beyond that, we have a growing number of Alumni kids that have graduated from University with degrees in law, business, marketing and communications, sound engineering amongst others. The employment policy for Hands is to favour the kids who have come through our homes and want to return to work with us.

A sewing room has also been established in one of the homes, Baan Tharn Namchai, which provides employment for the local community as well as an option for the kids to consider when they are old enough. The sewing room is a large and light filled space providing quality corporate and fashion items. By providing opportunities for education and employment as a continuance of the care at the homes, we believe we are bettering the community by developing a self-sustaining charity model.

From all of us at Hands Group, we would like to thank you on behalf of the kids, and the charity. Whether it’s a donation, or committing to a life-changing experience, or the many services that our corporate supporters provide free of charge that allow us to achieve big things for the kids, we thank you.