Acorn Overseas Charity for Children is a UK registered charity (Number 1167805) started in 2009 by Natasha Whiting, to support underprivileged children abroad. The aim is to provide them with food, shelter and education and to make sure that every penny raised goes directly to them. The main focus of the charity over the past few years has been a small children's shelter in the north west of Thailand on the Burmese border. There, 50 children live who have somehow or other escaped the regime in Burma and are looked after by a wonderful couple. They all have a story to tell; they are either orphaned or abandoned or have been given into the safe hands of the home. This couple look after the children who are aged between 1 and 18 as if they were their own. Thanks to generous donations, clothes sales and other fund raising efforts these children have been given a safe and re-built home in which to live. Natasha knows each child and works hard to try to keep the donations flowing in so that she knows they are alright. She is also open to new challenges where children are involved and hopes that Acorn Overseas can grow and be able to help many more children.
Our charity was founded on the belief that all children in society should be able to have access to love, food, shelter and education.
The orphanage was Started In 2006, and I found it abandoned in 2008. Took over funding and organising the shelter. The children are abandoned illegal Burmese refugees. In Thailand they are ghost children, with no legal status and the Thai system and charities ignore them. Since then number of children has tripled to 40.The ages of the children are from 1 year to 16 years old. All the children live together in dormitories, in a wooden house. Looked after by 5 Burmese staff (2 couples and a older woman) All the children go to a Local Thai migrant school, 75% of the children there are Burmese.
The orphanage survives solely on private donations. Every month we to raise money for food, water, electricity and health care, the average monthly expenditure is 50,000 THB (£1000).The donations we receive are very irregular and we often have shortfalls, which we make up for from our own pockets.
The orphanage needs regular monthly funding. I have registered a UK charity, Acorn Overseas Charity for Children, with the hope of getting companies and charities involved. If your charity fund could make a monthly donation, it would have a big impact on the lives of the children.
About Natasha Whiting
I founded Acorn Overseas in 2009, after working in emergency aid relief on the 2004 tsunami and supporting multiple projects throughout 7 years of living in Thailand. Why was I there? I’m still not really sure why, I guess to put it simply I fell in love, fell in love with the people upon seeing how they stuck together after the tragedy so I started something that would give me a connection to Thailand and Myanmar (Burma) when I was not there in person.
Whilst in Thailand I became disheartened with the way charities, in my eyes didn’t go to the root of the problem and get more involved. It felt like everything was done from plush hotels, and behind the tinted windows of 4x4’s that rolled through camps, orphanages and disaster zones. I was put into contact with an orphanage that was established to care for the basic needs of “Ghost Children” (Children who have lost their identity due to persecution and abandonment) from Myanmar that was going through some serious difficulties. I attempted to appeal to multiple NGO’s (non government organisations) to help with the orphanage and no one would offer more than a bag of rice a month as the problem wasn’t "big enough”. In October 2008, the irregular support they did have from America abandoned them with nothing, so myself and a friend stepped in to provide support for them in every which way we could.
So I started the charity in order to support this small home of children who were abandoned and orphaned due to situations you may not even be able to imagine. Since then we have gone from 7 to 50 children, we have built a home, we were donated a truck to get the children to school, and we have just had a well dug, as running water is rare.
My plans for the future is to keep raising awareness and money to provide a better standard of education so their future look a bit brighter than their past. Some of the children want to be teachers, doctors hairdressers, I want to make that happen!
Now that we are registered with the Charities commission, I hope that in the next year, people will run the London marathon for us, companies will make us their charity of the year and we can really make more of a difference than “just feeding 50 mouths"
“why not”? -Natasha Whiting.