On Boxing Day 2004, the world woke up to shocking images of devastation in South East Asia. A major earthquake triggered a series of tsunamis across the Indian Ocean, killing over 230,000 people in fourteen countries, and flooding coastal communities with waves up to 30 meters high. The natural disaster was one of the most deadly on record, and nine years on, many communities have yet to recover.
Among the thousands of displaced children were the Forkan brothers, Rob and Paul. Having spent an unconventional childhood traveling the world with their parents, the pair were enjoying Christmas in Sri Lanka with their mother, father and two youngest siblings when the tsunami struck. All four Forkan children survived unscathed, but their parents were swept away and overcome by the waves.
The boy’s upbringing had left them with a strong, resistant core however, and they are determined to ensure that a fitting memorial is made for their parents, using all of their life experience to date to help others.
They created the Orphans for Orphans initiative, designed to ensure a brighter future for orphans in less developed countries – where help from friends and family isn’t always available. Their intent is “to give orphaned children the education, healthcare and support that they deserve.”
Having traveled for years, both with their family and individually, the brothers have always been closely involved with helping children in developing countries. The brothers are now aiming to sell 230,000 pairs of snazzy flip flops, under the brand Gandys to achieve this goal. To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the tsunami, in 2014, the brothers are on target to open their first children’s home in their parents’ memory and eventually spread their work even further than an initial children’s home planned in India.
While they make preparations for building their own orphanages, Gandys is donating 10% of its profits to a great, worthy little charity called Mango Tree Goa in India. After the brothers spent so much time in India they wanted to focus on helping orphaned children there first. Mango Tree Goa helps the children get an education, and also simultaneously provides them with much-needed health-care and nutrition.