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About Us

The Wilai Foundation Ltd. seeks to raise awareness of statelessness (the consequences and solutions) and offer support to stateless, orphan girls in Thailand and Myanmar. 

The establishment of the Wilai Foundation Ltd. was inspired by Wilai (a Thai name that means “perfectly beautiful”), a young girl who was both an orphan and stateless, living in Thailand.

Our project: BANRAK (A Loving Village) will enable us to continue our support of Wilai, and other girls in similar situations.
Will you join with us to #BETHEVILLAGE?


ACNC Registered Charity Tick

Registered Australian Charity

The Wilai Foundation is a registered Australian Charity with the ACNC. ACNC website. (Registered Charities must comply with a minimum standard of governance, to help promote public trust and confidence in charities.)
Our ABN is: 89615755318

The Wilai Foundation Ltd. holds a section 6 licence CCP3449 under the
Collections for Charitable Purposes Act 1939 (SA) and complies in all respects with the Charities Code of Practice.



Our Mission

BE the Village

Whilst most registered charities focus on taking care of the Village, we at the Wilai Foundation are taking a different approach, as we seek to be the Village for Wilai and other stateless, orphan girls in Thailand and Myanmar.

Integrity beyond reproach

We will meet the highest ethical and professional standards in all our activities and we hold ourselves accountable to our mission and to the community by:
-Being honest and transparent in everything we undertake
-Being accountable to each other, to our mission, to our values, to our donors, to our sponsors, to those we journey with and the community.

Acting as an Advocate

As we work to achieve the main purpose of the Wilai Project, we will endeavor to fulfill the objects of the Wilai Foundation by acting as an advocate for Wilai and other stateless, orphan girls, who unlike refugees and internally displaced people, generally do not benefit from the protection and assistance of governments, aid agencies, and the UN, despite its mandate over stateless persons.

Encouraging States

As we work to achieve the main purpose of the Wilai Project, we will endeavor to fulfill the objects of the Wilai Foundation by encouraging the states to cooperate fully with such international initiatives as the global #IBelong Campaign to End Statelessness by the year 2024 and to comply with their human rights obligations concerning the granting and loss of nationality.  In particular, to register every child’s birth, regardless of the child’s or the child’s parents’ nationality, statelessness or legal status, and to ensure that proof of identity is available to all children.


To be passionate about our purposes, our work, the people we meet and each other!


We respect the needs, values and traditions of the diverse communities we interact with and treat everyone with fairness and honesty, demonstrating that we believe in the intrinsic worth of each individual. Furthermore, we will do our upmost to create a work environment that encourages each of us to reach our potential and respects the involvement of everyone.

Educating the Public

As we work to achieve the main purpose of the Wilai Project, we will endeavor to fulfill the objects of the Wilai Foundation by educating the public regarding the plight of an estimated 10 million people in the world who are stateless, (one third of whom are children) and therefore do not legally exist, and who are far more susceptible to trafficking, forced conscription, violence, institutionalized discrimination, and a range of other human rights abuses, from denial of health care to restrictions on freedom of movement, by facilitating talks, discussion groups, the publication of papers and articles and any other legal means.

Conducting Research

As we work to achieve the main purpose of the Wilai Project, we will endeavor to fulfill the objects of the Wilai Foundation by conducting research to contribute to the understanding of statelessness and developing solutions.

Sense of Hope

To provide all who come in contact with the Wilai Foundation with hope that there is a way to ensure that everyone belongs somewhere.

Our Principal Purpose

The Wilai Foundation Ltd.’s BANRAK (A Loving Village) Project principal purpose is:
the provision of support to Wilai, a stateless, orphaned female residing in Thailand. Such support assisting Wilai to enjoy fully her human rights, including the rights to an identity, education, health, an adequate standard of living, family life and freedom of movement, as well as financial and emotional support until Wilai is of the age of independence and enjoying quality of life.


Raising Public Awareness

As we work to achieve the main purpose of the Wilai Project, we will endeavor to fulfill the objects of the Wilai Foundation by raising public awareness of the fact that the arbitrary deprivation of nationality, especially on discriminatory grounds such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, or other status, including disability, is a violation of Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which holds that every person “has a right to a nationality” and that establishing and preserving an individual’s right to nationality is a necessary prerequisite for the expansion and enforcement of all other human rights.

Meet the Board

Sr Elizabeth Murray sgs
Sr Elizabeth Murray

Executive Member

Jane Meier
Jane Meier

Executive Member

Fr. Jim Carty sm
Fr Jim Carty sm

Co-Founder and Director

Joanne Russell (Shears)
Joanne Russell (Shears)

Founder and Director

Robert Hennessy
Robert Hennessy

Founding Member

Julie Costello
Julie Costello

Alternate Director

Shane O’Dea
Shane O'Dea

Co-founder and Director

Our Connections

The Wilai Foundation has been accepted as a member of the UNHCR-UNICEF Coalition
on Every Child’s Right to a Nationality.
You can find us on their website

Wilai Foundation Ltd is member of SNAP
(Statelessness Network Asia Pacific)

Baan Unrak, translated from Thai as “House of Joy”, is a children’s home and community development project in Sangkhlaburi, Thailand, providing a loving home, food, medical care and education to over 130 children from Thailand, Burma including the neighbouring Mon and Karen States.

The Wilai Foundation offers ongoing support to Baan Unrak.