The Background

The Nello & Patrasche Foundation is a non-profit private organization devoted to helping handicapped orphans around the world. We created it in October 1997 with some of our close friends, all of whom - like us - are involved in promoting business between Belgium and Japan.

What triggered our act was that our adopted son from Vietnam turned out to have serious cerebral palsy. Having suffered severe brain damage at the age of three months due to a high fever, he lost the ability to sit, stand, see, hear or even hold his head upright. When we adopted him at the age of four months, we knew nothing of this. We can only presume that the doctors and nurses in Vietnam hid his true medical background, thinking that he would be unlikely even to survive if left in a local orphanage and hoping that, with the advanced treatment available in Europe, he would have a better life with us. So by pure chance, this special child became ours. Nobody was to blame.

As we discovered his affliction, we were utterly dismayed. However, as we came across many brave people engaged in helping handicapped children and orphans, we realized that we had to do something positive with our experience. We decided to create a charity foundation.

Nello & Patrasche are characters in the classic story "A Dog of Flanders". The story, set in Belgium, is very popular in Japan. We have named our charity after the characters since Nello and Patrasche do not have parents and teach us the importance of loving and caring family for children.

Our Aims

Today's shocking statistics tells us that approx. 10% of the children are with some disability or developmental problems. Orphans who are disabled are doubly handicapped.

Adoption is rare in Japan, but common in the West, where the ratio between parents wanting to adopt and available children is said to be one thousand to one.

The waiting time after adoptive parents are judged qualified can stretch to several years. However, for handicapped orphans, the ratio is reversed. Nevertheless, people wishing to adopt handicapped children, and agencies specialising in the necessary arrangements, do exist. Furthermore, international adoptions are quite common in Belgium. Our main aim at present is to support Emmanuel a.s.b.l., a Belgian agency which specialises in arranging the adoption of handicapped and sick children from around the world. Emmanuel exists in France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Canada and Argentina as well as in Belgium. They look for people prepared to care for handicapped or sick children, arrange adoption and provide continuing aftercare.

There are many types of diabilities. In the case of healthy children whose handicaps are only mild, small daily accomplishments can become a great source of joy for their care-takers. But for seriously handicapped children, the difficulties grow as the children age. Partly for this reason, the more severe the handicap, the more difficult it is to find adoptive parents.

A good social security system can help with the increasing financial burden. However, specialist adoption agencies are needed to provide continuous encouragement, practical advice and psychological care throughout a child's life after adoption.

Our charity aims to promote the well-being of handicapped orphans and of their care-takers, whether adoptive parents, natural families, specialist adoption agencies or medical and paramedical professionals. The focus is on orphans suffering severe, multiple handicaps. However, we also support the less severely handicapped and those that love them.

Our Policy

Although many charities exist, we believe we have something to add.

We believe that the more charities there are, the better. The more there are, the more opportunities exist to help those in need. You may feel that contributions to charity are like a drop in the ocean. Perhaps so. But rather than doing nothing, we want to collect all those drops and use them where they can do the most good.

True charity consists f sharing the most important things. Today, the best way most of us can help others is by contributing our time and the know-how we have gained from years of professional experience. We want to set up a global network of colleagues who can help in this way. By applying marketing expertise and professional knowledge, we aim to build a charity, which is uniquely efficient in what it can achieve.

Many of those who kindly helped our start-up told us that it was the first time they had contributed substantially to charity work. Some - a graphic designer, a printer, a lawyer, a patent lawyer, an accountant and many others - spared the time to make high quality professional contributions. Many proved to be excellent sales people for our charity cards. This is the sort of help we need in future. If necessary, we can consider reimbursing out-of-pocket expenses or paying for work at cost, but the principle is to save as much money as possible for those who need it most - the children. This is why we hope colleagues will give what they can freely.