ED Magedson – Founder
Pennies for Papa Lies about providing free english lessons to children in the Akha Village Chiang Mai Thailand
I signed up in January 2013 to participate in a 90 day volunteer program in Thailand through a foundation called Pennies for Papa. In exchange for my "donation" of $1900, I was to receive 90 days of westernized lodging, living in an Akha Village, 2 meals a day prepared by culinary students and overseen by a Culinary Instructor, online TESOL certification program, mentorship in Teaching English in an English Emersion Center for the children, and so much more. The premise of the foundation was that the organization offered free english lessons to children living in the Akha Village and at the same time offered volunteers a unique opportunity to live/volulnteer among the tribe members, learn a new culture and have the opportunity to travel.
Soon after I registered and paid my "donation", the website changed, the Village was being closed for "renovations", all volunteers were moved to Chiang Rai. When I arrived, I was brought to a Guest House on the outskirts of town with no transportation, he removed all the A/C controls so that we lived in stifling hot conditions (over 100 degees F every day), there was no teaching internship, or culinary program or students...... We were left on our own to fend for ourselves. Once we asked for transportation, he provided a beat up old truck with no gas.
Although decent housing in Chiang Rai can be found for under $200 a month and meals can be cooked/bought for about $5 a day/per person, the food budget was $1.50 / day for each volunteer. I don't know where/how the money I gave him was used. Within a week of my arrival, I learned that the Village would no longer be active, yet he was building additional housing accommodations, and the house we were living in (he signed a multi-year contract which he broke after 3 months) would be shut down at the end of April. My program was scheduled to run 3/27 - 6/22.
Now, the website has been redone, yet again, as another iteration of Pennies for Papa. This time, the only location option is Chiang Mai. The whole structure has changed but he is still saying that the money from the foundation will be used to hire teachers to now go to the Village and teach the children...............
Bigger issue is that he has donation boxes all around Thailand. He collects the money and uses it for himself. The children of the Village are not served at all.
In Summary, Rock Owen is a liar, a cheat, and a thief. His webmaster, Carol (firstname.lastname@example.org) is aware of all of this, yet she knowingling and willingly continues to work and suport the fraudulant activities.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 05/13/2013 02:54 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Pennies-for-Papa/internet/Pennies-for-Papa-Lies-about-providing-free-english-lessons-to-children-in-the-Akha-Villa-1050632. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.
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