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Dangerous dependence on donations

Updated: Jun 20, 2019

by Rosalie Tieges | Founder Thai Child Development Foundation | July 2019

At my foundation, the Thai Child Development Foundation ( a grass-root organisation, hidden in the Thai jungle -a bit too well hidden as we sometimes feel - ….) we have been blessed by the support of many smaller sponsors who have helped us survive for more than a decade. Most of these sponsors where visitors, families on holiday who where looking to give more meaning to their visit to Thailand. They have been here and seen with their own eyes what a big difference a donation, even a small one can make to a small foundation.

So over the years we were able to slowly gather all the materials we need to run efficiently and most importantly in a safe manner. We are blessed to have our own school bus with seat belts, physio material and occupational training work stations! We are passed the set up and in the phase of continuity. And here it seems that we meet our toughest challenges. During the first few years it was not so difficult to get funds and we managed and grew and developed all these years. But now we seem to be too well organized and not “in need” enough for some sponsors. YJet we are too small and invisible to apply towards big funds and companies.

We seem to fall right in between the two types of sponsor options and are running out of new sponsors to apply…..

Salaries are the hardest to get funds for because all sponsors want to donate something practical, visible, such as wheelchairs, physio material or milk and medicine… Salaries are a big expense, even though we work with local people for local salaries of a few hundred dollars per month only. But without the teachers working with the kids all of this donated material cannot be put to use!

Being dependent on fundraising is dangerous.

And fundraising is a full time -unpaid- job that we experience as very stressful and often even demeaning and demotivating. It's hard to enjoy the beautiful and successful steps we achieve on a one on one base with our children while we are uncertain how the next term will be at our school, can we stay open or do we have to send all these kids home?

Last school season we were in dire straights and if it wasn't for a big emergency help donation from some of our steady sponsors we would have actually had to close our doors for a term and maybe focus fully on fundraising for the next….

And the oddest thing is that it was actually going better than ever at that point! The kids were really making progress in their development, children have learned how to walk after successful operations and extensive physiotherapy, children have learned to talk, or use sign language and so many more amazing accomplishments our kids have made over the last few years! Also our team of local woman who we have trained step by step is dedicated, efficient and caring.

We are getting more and more support on a local level, and are now even in the process to get an amazing accreditation which means our students with disabilities will actually be able to graduate from primary school and high school at our foundation in the near future!

And for this very reason we must improve and make sure this never happens again!

We are working hard to become self reliant on a local level. We have developed a Self sustainability for Foundations method with focus on Food AND Finance.

We are the proud front runners in this method and believe it is the future for small foundations all over the world!

However, at this point in time we are still dependent on sponsors for the schools operational costs for the next few years.

This phase is an overlap time towards local sustainability with the farm, restaurant and the resort.

We expect that in the near future the supports of the resort & restaurant (buy off all farm produce of the school and donate 100% of the profits) are big enough to -together with the steady Friends of TCDF - cover all the monthly expenses and finally eliminate the need for fundraising completely!

And we are so grateful for the sponsors and friends who believe in us and keep supporting us year after year.

The people who trust that we will use their yearly donation wise and multiply the positive effects.

Together we do more then give a child a chance, we are giving them the future.
A sustainable future.

Rosalie Tieges

Founder Thai Child Development Foundation

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