|Father Shea and one of his children at Sarnelli House
Sarnelli House was begun to serve a need. small children and babies who had aids were
being rejected by relatives and villagers, and often abandoned like little animals. The thai
welfare departments in the northeast of thailand were taking in these children, but had
neither budgetary funds nor a program to help them. These children were being fed on an
equivalent of 0.75 euro a day (30 Thai Baht). They were not going to school.
At first, after the building was finished, young aids ridden mothers were bringing in their
babies for us to raise for them. Some babies tested out with aids, some did not. Others were
children dumped off by relatives or villagers.
The thai government is now giving us
children from their welfare homes; children proven to have the aids virus.
Sarnelli House has never been funded by the thai government (even though Sarnelli is the
only home for children with AIDS in the northeast of Thailand, which takes up one third of the
land mass of the country). Sarnelli House is funded by private donations, individuals or
churches of many denominations.
Our help comes from concerned people in Germany,
America, Canada and Australia. Some funds are raised in Thailand.
Our big expenses at sarnelli are: food, medicine, education, salaries and utilities. so far. Our
total yearly expenses come to about U.S.$60,000. We seem to survive from month to month.
Some months we have a little money left over, and there are times, when donations do not cover
The Health and Welfare Departments have now seen to it that our children finally get the
anti-retroviral medicine, free. But they are also poised to send us more children, all
infected. We never refuse a child. So far, no child has suffered from lack of food, medicine
We do not write letters asking for money. We do send out news letters, and some people
are now sponsoring some children. Many, however, ask to sponsor a healthy child, since
they think it is a waste of money to help a child they believe will die anyway.
the greatest gift we can give them is unconditional love, a sense of family, and the belief
that their lives have true value and worth.
When they do sicken and sometimes die, it is a
real exercise in helplessness and sometimes horror in our inability to alleviate their pain