Fresh off the frenzy of the New Zealand Lions tour, British and Irish Lions centre Jonathan Joseph (JJ) visited Thailand for a much needed and well-deserved holiday retreat at Samujana, a luxury villa residence in Koh Samui. An integral part of the England rugby team, JJ finished 2016 as the leading try scorer for his national side and winner of ‘Player’s Player of the Year’ award.
A force to be reckoned with on the field, off it JJ wants to encourage children to participate in sport, get fit and be active as his way of giving back to the community. On a day when most tourists would have been out enjoying the sunshine in paradise, JJ chose to spend his time with orphaned and disadvantaged children at Barnhem Thai-Swedish Foundation in Phuket, teaching rugby, sports skills, team work, and generating endless laughter and awe from impressionable youngsters.
But the support does not end here. JJ has donated five of his game jerseys, and a pair of shorts, all signed and authenticated, which will be auctioned to fundraise for the orphanage.
Additionally, members of the Phuket Vagabonds Rugby Club helped form a keen team of sports coaches, and donated rugby balls, all of which Jonathan Joseph signed as a memento of the day.
“I was amazed to hear the story of Barnhem, and now that I’m here I can feel the love and care that founders Susanne and Hans, and the team led by Khun Wow, have given to these children. The kids have a real home and family here,” says Joseph.
Established in February 2005, Barnhem Thai-Swedish Foundation initially focused on homing orphans and disadvantaged children who were victims of the Indian Ocean Tsunami Disaster that occurred in December 2004.
Today, it is home to over 30 children between five- and 18 years who have either lost their parents or lack a family member to care for them.
While in Phuket, Joseph also visited the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. The first ethical elephant tourism attraction in Phuket, the Sanctuary rescues old, tired, sick and disabled elephants from the tourism and logging industries.