Andrew Stocks is the founder and now Chairman of the Board of Directors for the very recently opened Power of Love Children’s Home in Hua Hin. Describing him as ‘the power’ behind this operation is not about his physical attributes or even financial contributions. It’s about the power of his ideas, determination and ideals which have led to the Children’s Home coming to fruition. We met with Andrew and Staff Members Khun Orasa Kumram and Khun Panaya Prachuabmoh at the Children’s Home at Kao Takiab to gain a greater understanding of the Home’s purpose and progress. But first one clarification is required. The words ‘orphanage’ or ‘orphans’ are inappropriate in describing this Children’s Home or the kid’s now in residence.
Many homeless and destitute children may well have living parents but their need remains. Being parent-less is not a pre-requisite here. Additionally the word ‘orphanage’ conjures up images of institutional care or even the workhouses featured in the novels of Charles Dickens classic novels – “Please Sir, I want some more”. These institutions have long been discredited internationally as a way to nurture children in need; this Children’s Home is very different. Children’s Homes come in all shapes and sizes. The Power of Love Children’s Home provides a comfortable, spacious, attractive and well equipped home in line with Andrew’s insistence that the children will be offered the best opportunity in life; not just a roof over their heads. A swimming pool is on the ‘wish-list.’ This is their chance to experience what is possible without the oppression of poverty; to believe that they can achieve greatness in their chosen vocation at the highest level.
“We want them to become doctors, teachers or even a future Prime Minister; to be able to realise their dreams.” One of the strategies is in line with Andrew’s own childhood; being exposed to adult company and social situations at an early age so they may feel comfortable in any setting. Some criticism of this model and Andrew’s own input is probably inevitable. As he says; “I sometimes see negative comments on Facebook and I take no notice at all. I know what we are doing is good work. I don’t let a few negative people stop me going ahead and helping the people of Thailand.” Lobbying for sponsorship is another source of criticism from those who think he should just go ahead and fully ‘bankroll’ the Children’s Home. It’s well known that Andrew’s financial resources are substantial to say the least.
From Andrew: “I do have a large amount of shares in Lloyd’s banking Group however I help many charities and I spend the largest proportion of my income on helping others in need.” “I wanted this to be an independent organisation that can go on helping children and adults forever, long after I am not around anymore. It needs to stand on it’s own feet as an organisation.” Perhaps this in line with the principle that teaching the hungry how to catch fish is a much more beneficial than just giving them the fish? Taking care of children who have experienced physical, emotional and psychological distress will always have its issues. The Children’s Home is taking a ‘slowly, slowly’ approach.
There are currently five boys at the home and five female staff. The management is cognisant of issues such as providing male role models and the future mix of boys and girls as the number of children increase. It will be sometime before the capacity of around 40 -50 is reached. Apart from financial constraints, the assignment and management of staff must be carefully considered. House ‘Mum’ Khun Orasa experienced her own childhood at a real orphanage in Buriram, an experience which thankfully for her was a positive one. That experience is invaluable in her current role.
Andrew and the staff are also aware of the child abuse issues that have plagued many children’s institutions. Maintaining a focus on the safety and well-being; emotionally and physical of those in care will always be important. Ongoing sponsorship of the Children’s Home will remain a necessity. Initially sponsorship has been generous in relation to the building and equipment, but the ongoing running costs will also require funding and practical assistance. Sponsor a child? Hua Hin now has a high standard Children’s Home with all the mod–cons; a wholesome environment and with dedicated staff and management to ensure that the welfare and best interests of children in their care is always at the forefront. This organisation deserves the support and encouragement of the community with this very worthwhile endeavour.
Contact: Soi CJ Express, Kao Takiab; the offices are closed on Mondays.
For more info call +66 90-415-5161.
The Power of Love Organisation Offers
Thanks To The Following Sponsors:
Anantara Hotels and Resorts
Hilton Hotels and Resorts
Best Western Hotels and Resorts
Dusit Hotels and Resorts
The Coffee Club
Anantasila Hotel Hua Hin
Nadin South Australian Wines
Hua Hin Woman’s Club
Hua Hin Municipal Government
All in Hua Hin Restaurant
Hua Hin Today Newspapers
Multi Cultural Community
Serenity Hotel Hua Hin
Market Village Hua Hin
Hua Hin Dental Clinic
Together Bakery and Café
His and Her Hair Studios
Flower of Love Hua Hin
Frank & Patty Coconut Ice Cream
Footnote: Andrew proudly wears a rather large square shaped ‘signature ring’ which we couldn’t help asking about. Many years ago, his adoptive ‘grandmother’, nonagenarian Connie Heinecke, wanted him to have a duplicate of her own ring which he now proudly wears.