Compassion compels family's move

HELPING CHILDREN: Kiwania members John and Lily Simpson are selling up everything and travelling to Thailand to help child orphans born with HIV.
HELPING CHILDREN: Kiwania members John and Lily Simpson are selling up everything and travelling to Thailand to help child orphans born with HIV.

IT wasn't the balmy weather or low cost of living that persuaded John and Lily Simpson to pack their bags, leave their house and move to Thailand.

Instead the life-changing decision was driven by a desire to help heal the lives of some of the country's most disadvantaged children.

The Ipswich couple will next week relocate to the Thai city of Khon Kaen to take part in a crucial volunteer project.

With no set plans to return home, Mr and Mrs Simpson will work towards giving life, hope and a future to orphaned Thai children living with the HIV+/AIDS virus.

Through charitable organisation Mercy International, the couple have arranged to live near, assist and care for the children on a daily basis.

Mrs Simpson, 52, has visited the orphanage in Khon Kaen each year since 2006, and said the children were some of the most amazing people she had met.

"They all look out for each other," she said.

"One time we gave the children some pocket money to spend at a show in town.

"But as they passed a beggar in the street, they gave their money to him - that's what makes them amazing."

Even after battling dengue fever during one of his previous visits, Mr Simpson said he was eager to get back to the country and assist the children.

"It's all about supporting the kids and helping them move into the big wide world," the 63-year-old said.

When the orphanage was founded 10 years ago it became home to growing number of HIV+ babies and toddlers whose life expectancy was about eight years.

But surrounded by love, care and prayer and with the help of antiretroviral drugs all but two of the children have survived into their teens.

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For more information about Mercy International and their projects, visit www.mercy-international.com.



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