Why I Donate my Royalties to Heart Mothers

My new book, Fields of Glory, will be released on 19th April. As with previous books, all my author royalties from this book are being donated to a charity I support, Heart Mothers.

What is Heart Mothers?
Heart Mothers was  started by a good friend of mine, Ruth Williams, who read an article about the work of Somaly Mam in rescuing children trafficked into the sex trade in Cambodia. Touched by what she read, Ruth contacted Somaly to ask how she could help. At the time Somaly's work was well-funded by a French charity, but Somaly told Ruth that what these young girls really missed and needed was a mother. Most of them had never really known a loving mother, and many had been sold to the brothels by their own families. Although they were well cared for at the centre where they lived - provided with food, clothing, education and counselling - they each craved the love of an adult woman who would take a special interest in just them. A "Heart Mother".

Ruth got to work drumming up the support of 80+ women who could commit to writing a letter to their child each month, sending photographs and gifts and taking an interest in them, even though it's very one sided - the girls only write back once a year when Ruth and some Heart Mothers visit them.

The Cambodian New Year (the year of the dog)
card I made for my Heart Daughter last month
I'm one of those Heart Mothers. I'm now on my third "Heart Daughter", the first two having grown up and moved out of the centre into higher education or a career. I can't tell you much about any of my Heart Daughters, but I will say that the current girl is 15 years old and I have been writing to her for two years now. Let that sink in for a moment. She was rescued from a brothel when she was 13. Here's another thing: there are many children much younger than her at the centre. It's a  real honour to be able to show these girls some much-needed love and be part of their recovery.

Why does Heart Mothers need money if it's just about letters?
The letters, gifts, etc. are sent to Ruth each month, who checks that they are all there (so that no girl is ever left out) puts them together in one big parcel and ships them to Phnom Penh. This costs money, especially if we're sending dresses or shoes for all 80 girls.

Heart Mothers also supports the centre and the girls in other ways: it has helped to stock the library and rebuild  the toilet block.

Why donate your royalties rather than just send money?
Donating my royalties to Heart Mothers, rather than making a direct and personal donation, make sense for me for several reasons:
  1. My publishers are based in the USA, and so is Heart Mothers. (Ruth is an old school friend of mine, but now lives in Wyoming.) Having Walnut Springs donate my author royalties directly to Heart Mothers means that I don't have to worry about losing money in currency conversion, and it's much easier for Walnut Springs than an international payment too
  2. It also means that I don't have to worry about filling in a UK or US tax return for royalties. Big win
  3. It helps create publicity for Heart Mothers - there's information about the charity in the book
  4. Finally, it might help shift a few extra copies of the book if indecisive buyers realise that a percentage of what they pay goes to the charity. 
So support Heart Mothers! Buy my book! And click here to go to their official website.

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