I remember Boxing Day 2004 like it was yesterday. I was standing in the kitchen with my mum banging on about my brandy and cinnamon panacotta (as I am prone to do) and debating whether I’d drive into town for the Boxing Day sales. And then I remember glancing over at the TV and finding out about the tsunami that hit Thailand. I will never forget the news footage. Entire Thai villages being swept away like sandcastles at high tide. People clinging to telegraph poles. And roof tops. And the children. All those children that suddenly became orphans. Thats what I remember most of all. Everybody talking about the thousands of Thai children who had suddenly become orphaned. In real life losing your parents is less Harry-Potter-exciting and more unspeakable tragedy.
Six years on, those children still need our help. So for this month’s First Wednesday Club I’ve chosen an Australian charity that is doing just that – continuing to help all those orphaned kids in Thailand.
Peter Baines was working in Forensics with the NSW police force when the Tsunami hit and was part of the team despatched to Thailand to help identify bodies. Once there, Peter was confronted with the shocking reality that vast numbers of Thai children had not only lost both their parents but also their extended families. With their homes and villages also completely destroyed countless small children were living in tents, left to fend for themselves. So Peter, together with UK policewoman Gil Williams, set up a charity – Hands Across The Water (Hands).