18th July 2019
In 2014, Hands Across the Water, an Australian-based charity, was entrusted with $235,824.78 donated by a worldwide community to Gammy’s plight, with the majority of those funds coming from Australian donors. Since that time Hands Across the Water has purchased a home on Gammy’s behalf, as well as attending to his medical, living, school and other expenses providing a monthly distributions to the family. With the donated funds now coming to an end, with the exception of the funds invested in the house, Gammy’s care and responsibility will pass to his mother, her husband and the grandparents that reside with Gammy. He will have ongoing access to medical care via government funded healthcare.
Baby Gammy, as he became affectionately known, caught the attention of the worldwide audience due to wide-spread media scrutiny after an Australian/Thai surrogacy ended with Gammy, a twin born with Down Syndrome, was left in Thailand with his surrogate mother, whilst his twin sister was taken back to Australia with her Australian biological parents.
More than 6,000 people donated $235,824.78 to the foundation around the time details of Gammy’s circumstances were made public. The monies were entrusted to Hands Across the Water, an Australian-based charity supporting children at risk in Thailand, to be appropriately dispersed.
Hands Across the Water has been focused on ensuring Gammy’s immediate needs were met as well as ensuring his long-term future, well after the funds were exhausted was secure. With this, monies raised for Gammy went towards purchasing a home for Gammy and his family to live in.
Peter Baines, founder of Hands Across the Water, said: “This is a long-term investment which ensures Gammy and his extended family have a home to live in, well beyond the time at which donations would run out”. The purchase of the home ensured the extended family had security, a healthy home in which to raise Gammy and removed the burden of a rental property. The home is in trust to Gammy until he turns 21, ensuring Gammy has financial security behind him into the future. Factoring in even modest capital growth of the home, by the time Gammy is 21, the home can well be expected to be valued at many times more the sum of the original donations made.
Outside of the purchase of the home, across the past five years, the majority of funds have gone towards Gammy’s living allowances of 15,000 THB per month and school fees and equipment, along with medical expenses particularly in the early years. As a sign of his good health there has been only one medical claim in the past 12 months.
Breakdown of donations dispersed:
School Fees and Equipment 291,420 THB
Monthly Living Allowance 870,000 THB
Medical Expenses 1,080,986 THB
Clothing & Birthday Presents 158,412 THB
Home Purchase and Repairs 3,804,240 THB
Australian Citizenship Application 12,740 THB
Bank Fees 30 THB
In addition to those funds which were donated the Directors of Hands Group (not the charity) have also made a contribution of 238,000 THB to cover expenses the board considered were not appropriate to use donors funds for and these include paying off a personal debt held by Gammy’s mother, establishment of a business venture, amongst other things.
About Hands Across the Water
Peter Baines OAM was a NSW Police forensic investigator for 22 years and led the Australian and International teams following the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004. Peter was deployed into Thailand for several months leading the teams in the identification of the 5395 bodies that were recovered. On his last rotation into Thailand he met a group of children who had all lost their parents. He then made a commitment to raise funds to contribute to the building of a home for them. That was the start of Hands Across the Water the charity. In 2011, Hands Group was established as a social enterprise to meet all the administrative and fundraising costs of Hands Across the Water which ensures that 100% of donations made to Hands Across the Water goes directly to the children and communities they support. Not one cent of donors money is spend on administration or fundraising. Hands Group is a true social enterprise undertaking its own commercial activities to generate funds (not through donations).
Hands Across the Water have seven different properties that we support in Thailand and our commitment is long term. We support the children into and through university and currently have 47 children studying varying courses across Thailand Universities and a growing alumni of those who have already graduated.
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