ACNC Charity Tick


One of the most valuable ways you can help the “Children of Mercy” is to actually visit them in Thailand and volunteer your time either in activities with the children or on special projects.

This part of the website is dedicated to explaining to you some of the activities and special projects that you could participate in by describing those actually performed in the past and suggestions for the future.

We invite you to read it and if you are interested then please register for our newsletter and then send us an email so we organise the right person at HDF Mercy Centre to contact you.

Please note that you will need to cover your own travel and accommodation in Bangkok. Depending on the length of time you are at HDF Mercy Centre and the type of volunteer work that you do it may be possible to house you at the Centre at no cost – we will advise you of this.

Click here if you would like to volunteer - read all about it below

Past Activities & Special Projects

PAST 1: Activity

VOLUNTEER: John Golfin

DATE: 27-31 August 2013

TITLE: English Nursery Rhymes with Children


One morning John organised with two day-care staff (local mothers employed by Centre) to sit with about 12 younger kids from ages 2 to 5 and teach them nursery rhymes that involved the English language and some movement or mimic to make them fun. We all sat in the main tiled living area of the main building on the second level between the sleeping quarters and dining area. We started with “Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes” which involved kids sitting in a straight line on either side of John and following his actions and reciting out-loud the words along with the actions. This is in the film “The Children of Mercy”. Kids loved it and took to it in minutes so it was time for something more challenging. We then tried (excuse spelling): “ Eeny Meeny Macka Racka. Dare I Dominacka. Itchy Bum. Lollipop. Bamboo. Full Stop”. Hilarious with the hand actions. This one John did not film!!!

PAST 2: Activity

VOLUNTEER: John Golfin

DATE: 27-31 August 2013

TITLE: Dancing


One day around noon, Lucy and George took John up to the second level to inspect the new dining room tables and the younger kids (ages 2-7) had just finished lunch and dragged them to the main living area and started dancing. We put on several tracks from movies such as Shrek and Madagascar and danced in circles holding hands and then forming human trains with hands on waists and the occasional “choo choo”. A great way to lose weight.

PAST 3: Activity

VOLUNTEER: John Golfin, Lucy and George Braoudakis.

DATE: 27-31 August 2013

TITLE: Shopping


This is by far the favourite activity of kids between 7 and 18. Usanee usually organises a van to take us to one of the main centres (MBK, Central World Plaza or Siam Paragon). The large Tesco department stores (like Big W or Kmart) are the kids favourite since they can get a variety of gear from stationary to shoes. Lucy, George and I will give each child the same “budget” before we leave and they prepare a list of what they think they need. Many bring along their own calculator (from past shopping trips). It is so encouraging and even funny watching them consult one another on prices and swapping stuff to maximise their wares to fit the budget. This is a great educational exercise and very “real” for the kids who quickly learn the value of money rather than just showering them with pre-purchased gifts. On this occasion we also stopped off for lunch and the all-you-can eat banquet style places are their favourite. This is understandable since most of the kids have HIV and the medication has a pronounced “hunger” side affect – the kids are always hungry and always “snacking”. John, Lucy and George will always include their sponsor kids in this activity and also ask them to invite their “best friends” along. It is important that the kids never feel that they are “favourites” and they all look out for one another. This is a great way to reward this positive attitude.

PAST 4: Activity

VOLUNTEER: John Golfin, Lucy and George Braoudakis.

DATE: 27-31 August 2013

TITLE: The Movies


John, Lucy and George took their 3 sponsor kids and 3 of their friends to see "Turbo" a DreamWorks animated 3D movie about a snail that wins the Indi 500. Hilarious since it was dubbed in Thai and gave John, Lucy and George an opportunity to learn more Thai!!!

PAST 5: Activity

VOLUNTEER: John Golfin, Lucy and George Braoudakis.

DATE: 27-31 August 2013

TITLE: Slum Schools


John, Lucy and George visited 2 of 21 “local” schools in the slums which are actually several older dwellings that have been combined and renovated as a school with a small fenced and locked outdoor playground and a single large covered school room. The teacher invited us to watch the kids read and then we sat with various kids (primary age) and helped them with their exercises involving arithmetic (counting and simple algebra) and reading.

PAST 6: Activity

VOLUNTEER: John Golfin, Lucy and George Braoudakis.

DATE: 15-19 December 2009

TITLE: Lumpini Park


John, Lucy and George took their sponsor kids and their friends to Lumpkin Park near central Bangkok. This is a huge park (much like Central Park in New York) with lakes, cycling and running tracks, kiosks and outdoor entertainment. This park is the most practical place for field sports such as soccer or running races with the kids. There is not much space around the centre at Klong Toey for sports. On this occasion at Lumpkin Park, George and I taught the kids touch football and I think we used Lucy’s handbag as the ball since there wasn’t an oval ball in site!!!

PAST 7: Activity

VOLUNTEER: John Golfin, Lucy and George Braoudakis.

DATE: 15-19 December 2009

TITLE: The Children’s Beds


The Mercy staff asked John, Lucy and George to visit the huge hall that contains cots and mattresses where all the younger kids (birth to 6) sleep. This was at the invitation of the kids. They take great pride in their beds since many of them never had one and each child can choose the colour and style of sheet that they will place on their mattress. On this day they each showed us their sheets and favourite soft toy and why they chose them. The kids especially like it when you talk to their soft toy and treat it like it is alive.

PAST 8: Special Project

VOLUNTEER: Qantas Cabin Crew Team along with One World Partners

DATE: April 2008

TITLE: Painting and Maintenance at HDF Mercy Centre


Three Qantas Crew Members and four British Airways Cabin Crew Members spent 3 days painting repaired walls, doors and window frames around the Mercy Centre, planting herbs and vegetables in newly constructed gardens and performing maintenance in some of the private dwellings in the surrounding community. Funding for all the work was provided by the volunteers through fundraising prior to arriving in Bangkok. Some of the older children and staff in the Centre also helped. The children’s areas still have all the paintings of their favourite characters and animals adorning the walls that the crew helped them to paint.

PAST 9: Special Project

VOLUNTEER: Qantas Captain Rob Gibb (Photo is of George Braoudakis)

DATE: Since 2008

TITLE: Building Projects


Captain Gibb raises funds or provides his own money to purchase necessary building materials and then personally spends time in Bangkok to build accommodation and other facilities for the Mercy Centre and the various projects they run in Bangkok. The various projects are selected following discussion and consultation with Mercy Centre staff.

PAST 10: Activities

VOLUNTEER: Qantas Captain Rob Gibb and Qantas First Cabin Attendant, Ricardo Alacron.

DATE: 29 April to 1 May 2013

TITLE: Excursion to Koh Lan Pattaya


During their time-off vacation, Captain Rob Gibb and Ricardo Alarcon organised a seaside holiday for 60 Mercy Kids accompanied by 8 centre staff to Lan Islan, Pattaya. It was the first time these kids got to travel out of Bangkok and see something other than the slum area and breath in the fresh seaside air of Koh Lan. It was also a welcome break for the hard-working staff of Mercy who spend countless hours in the centre and walking the slums of Klong Toey to help other children. Rob and Ricardo organised beachside games for the kids and played with them together with the staff. The children belly-flopped into the waves, practiced extremely un-synchronized swimming, buried each other in sand castles, and broke their own personal world record in sustained laughter.

PAST 11: Special Project

VOLUNTEER: Qantas First Cabin Attendant, Ricardo Alacron.

DATE: September 2013

TITLE: Coffee Cart


Mercy Centre runs a school that specialises in teaching practical skills to older students, much like technical colleges in Australia. This school also runs a coffee and drinks cart to teach the students various skills and raise money. To do this they needed a coffee machine and this was purchased by Ricardo, a generous and long time supported of Mercy Centre. When he explained to the Coffee Machine Company what the machine was for they sent a representative to teach the students how to use the machine free of charge. Some of the Mercy Centre supporters in Sydney also directly provide the coffee beans for the cart from time to time. The students are passionate and proud of their coffee cart that is run by Barista’s Nan and Pho (who John Golfin sponsors).

PAST 12: Special Project

VOLUNTEER: Mainly retired Primary School Teachers from Australia (too many to name hear)

DATE: From 2006

TITLE: Teaching English


Mainly retired Australian teachers and graduates from primary age teaching courses would often spend weeks or months at the Mercy Centre providing free tuition for the students in English. This not only helped the children, but also exposed volunteers to a new culture and helped them establish life-long friends in another country. Given the background of volunteers they would often bring their own books and curriculum based on the Australian schooling system (early primary school). This enabled some structure around the lessons. Later, Mercy was also able to obtain curriculums from some of the International Schools operating in Bangkok for the children of ex-pats and English speaking professionals working in Bangkok. Once again important to establish a structured approach to learning English rather than something that is casual or made-up.

PAST 13: Special Project

VOLUNTEER: Sara Khazem (Founder of Capturing Neverland Foundation and Actress, The Blue Line (2008) and Three Veils (2011)

DATE: 9-25 July 2014

TITLE: Teaching Photography


15 students from Mercy’s Janusz Korczak School for Street Children were each given a camera, taught a few lessons in photography, and told to take pictures. “Shoot anything you think is beautiful or interesting,” urged their volunteer teacher, Sara Khazem, the founder of the Capturing Neverland Foundation (www.facebook.com/sarakhazem). For the next four days, our students took pictures of their life in the slums. On the fifth and final day of the workshop, they spent an unforgettable day in Wat Phra Kaew, framing its beauty as skilled photographers. In the course of the Neverland workshop, our kids learned that what they personally see matters, and that, in fact, their own perceptions are meaningful, even beautiful, and most certainly worthy of art! Their “Capturing Neverland” journey culminated with an exhibition of their best photos, currently on display at the Imperial Queens Park Hotel.

PAST 14: Special Project

VOLUNTEER: Lucy Braoudakis

DATE: August 2008

TITLE: Wishing Well


For her 40th birthday Lucy Braoudakis requested friends and family donate to a Wishing Well which she donated to Mercy Centre. Lucy went over to Bangkok with the donations and Mercy Centre staff organised for her to go shopping to purchase linen and mattresses that were required. Not only did all the funds go directly to helping the Centre but she had the opportunity to see this directly.

PAST 15: Activity

VOLUNTEER: Lucy and George Braoudakis

DATE: August 2008

TITLE: Boat Trip


Lucy and George took some of the older children on a canal cruise through floating houses and markets close to the city centre. They also visited a reptilile zoo where the boys could hold pythons and watch alligators being fed.

PAST 16: Activity

VOLUNTEER: Ricardo Alacron

DATE: August 2008

TITLE: Temple


Ricardo took a small group of younger kids to the local Buddhist Temple to pray and light a candle. The children also often make offerings of food to the Buddhist monks in the morning as is the custom in many Budhist countries.

Future Activities & Special Projects

SUGGESTION 1: Special Project

TITLE: Sister Joan Evans “Milk Run”


Last year John Golfin had the honour to meet Sister Joan Evans who is originally from Perth and has been delivering milk to the children of Klong Toey for the past 23 years!!! I think this happens once a week. She is living in the old shack in the slum that Fr Joe lived in for almost 40 years. Sister Joan is now probably 81 years old and I think the best way to actually film the slums themselves is for Jacinta to accompany Sister Joan on her milk run and actually be seen handing out the milk to children.

SUGGESTION 2: Activity



Fortunately the Centre is blessed with some very generous benefactors who have provided rooms full of PCs for the older kids to discover the world of IT. Would be good to show how even the slums have embraced technology if even one of the crew could show the kids how to produce and send an email or even a post on Facebook.

SUGGESTION 3: Activity

TITLE: Printed Materials


Some of the older kids (10-15) enjoy making printed scarves, hankies and T-Shirts of various Thai and even made-up images. Keng is one of these artists with great promise. Keng could even show Jacinta how he makes a scarf and even put it on her when complete.

SUGGESTION 4: Activity

TITLE: Painting & Drawing


This is probably the most popular activity of the children across all ages. I found that it is best to ask the children to use their drawing or painting to tell a story. If they are looking for ideas then suggest that they draw Jacinta or Father Joe!!!

SUGGESTION 5: Activity

TITLE: Street Cricket


One thing John Golfin wanted to try out with the kids was a game of cricket in the street. We did not have the gear at the time but it struck me as a good way to introduce them to something new and requires only a limited space. It is also a good way to film the local surrounds and even attract a few extra kids from the surrounding dwellings.

“Getaway” Director/Producer, Jemma Carlton (extreme left) and Reporter Jesinta Campbell (second from extreme right) meet Sister Joan with Lucy and George Braoudakis.