The Power of Words: 110,000 baht raised in Italy for orphans in Thailand

 |  June 30, 2009

Words can, and often do, affect action. Forty two year old Gianluca Maynardi-Araldi a retired Italian Muay Thai coach and a self confessed collector of Citylife for over 15 years, asked us to bring this story to the readers in the hope it might encourage others to take action.

Gianluca Maynardi-Araldi and Gianluca Chiloiro, both avid Muay Thai fighters, have been friends for years. Maynardi-Araldi has lived in Thailand off and on since he was a boy while Chiloiro has trained with his friend in Thailand numerous times over the years and both of them have always felt the need to give back to the Thai community. They therefore decided to do something upon returning to Italy a few years ago and the two Gianlucas spent much time discussing the best ways they could contribute towards the local needs. In June 2005 Maynardi-Araldi sat down with his morning coffee and an issue of Citylife. He read ‘Life with Orphans’ and was deeply touched by the story of Good Wish Orphanage’s struggles to help the children of marginalised minorities. When he showed the story to his friend Chiloiro they both agreed that they wished to help this particular orphanage. Within a month of reading the story, Chiloiro organised a boxing competition in the main square of Cantu, Italy with all money raised going to orphans in Thailand. With more than a thousand people in attendance and special guests including the Thai Honorary Consul and the President of the Amateur Muay Thai Federation of Italy, 40 local participants, trained in many forms of martial arts, showed off their skills and raised 110,000 baht.

The Good Wish Orphanage, now coined ‘Mom’s House on the Rock’ is not well known outside of their community in Tak Province. At the time of publication, Good Wish was not an official orphanage as the orphans had been ‘adopted’ by a respected member of the Karen community and the wife of a deceased village chief, Tasanee Keereepraneed. As they were ‘adopted’ they did not receive any support from the village chief. With the assistance of a volunteer they received non-profit status and currently house 50 orphans from 6 months old, to a twenty year old who grew up at the orphanage and continues to help.

Gianluca Maynardi-Araldi was unable to return to Thailand until late 2008 but when he did, he brought the 110,000 baht in hand and donated it to the Good Wish Orphanage. Citylife was contacted and asked to get in touch with Tasanee Keereepraneed who jumped on a bus and headed to Chiang Mai for the first time in 17 years. Sitting in the Citylife garden, Gianluca Maynardi-Araldi was able to tell Tasanee Keereepraneed that she now could buy the vehicle desperately needed to take her kids to hospital. Needless to say Tasanee was overjoyed by this windfall. This was not the first time help had appeared as a result of the article. Tansanee Keereepraneed told Citylife “One man came to visit the orphanage, he told me he read my story in Citylife, it made him want to visit, and when he came he donated 20,000 baht to the orphanage! The orphanage is set up in the jungle and was not well known, since the article, people have learned about us and put our story on their website, because of this the children have been able to continue their studies and have a better life now.”

For more information on The Good Wish Orphanage please contact Tasanee Keereepraneed at