Paula, Elizabeth, and Emilia are the three volunteers who embarked on this journey. Each of them works in a different department at Atresmedia, and they did not know each other before starting this adventure. After their experience in Nong Khai, they have become friends, and only they truly understand the emotions lived there. To share some of their learnings and memories, we asked each of them for their testimonies.

Paula Santiago (Multimedia):

Green is a colour associated with tranquillity and calm, with nature, fertility, and generosity. I had never seen such an intense and vibrant green as the one we witnessed in Nong Khai. The green of Benten's T-shirt, the rice fields, Dream's scissors, and Sun's balloons. The green of St. Patrick's Boys Home's door and Taara's crib. Even the blue blanket of Titan, trying to cover his little body curved by a fragile spine, appears green in my memory. Sarnelli House is a green orphanage because generosity reigns there. The smiles of the youngest water the smiles of the older ones. Hope sprouts from every corner. Amid the chaos of pencils on the floor, mixed-up puzzles, and barefoot children, the nearly one hundred children who live there find the tranquillity and calm they don't find in their homes. They find it in green-hearted people like Kate, Duck, and Brian, who accompany them always, unconditionally.

They find it in a routine far from hunger, abuse, illness, and neglect—far from the monsters that stole their childhood. But these monsters can't cross the green bars of Sarnelli. I left Thailand with a heart full of love and paint, feeling the embrace of five strangers whom I now call friends. And with the firm conviction that if you paint an orphanage green, it becomes a home. Isabel Allende said that green unites everything, and the green thread that connects us to our experience in Nong Khai is unbreakable.

Niña pintando en Sarnelli House
Niña pintando en Sarnelli House | Atresmedia

Emilia Aldao (Antena 3 Noticias):

A few days ago, someone asked me what smell transports me to a special moment in my life. I didn't have to think long; I closed my eyes and remembered the scent of the hot chocolate thermos my family used to give me for daycare. I opened it every day, and my snack always had the same scent, one I can't describe but still remember 25 years later. This reflection took on real meaning in my life a few weeks ago when we returned from Thailand, and I began to process the emotions and sensations we experienced there. Sarnelli House is a beautiful project I discovered through this volunteering experience. They take care of children with very difficult family situations: abandonment, poverty, illness, and the lack of basic care, the things that, for others, seem so normal.

At House of Hope, the youngest children live. While I was there, Taara arrived, a 5-day-old baby who couldn't even open her eyes. When we left, the little one could already hold her gaze and not fall asleep while drinking her bottle. But my heart stayed especially with Nicha, a baby who hadn't even reached four months of age. On our farewell day, she wore a headband with a flower on her head, looking beautiful—impossible to forget.

St. Patrick's Boys House is filled with the boundless energy of 6 to 12-year-old kids. There, all that matters is scoring goals and playing basketball. Sun, an amazing 8-year-old boy, stands out. Smart, cheerful, a good companion, and always the first to finish his activities. As soon as we arrived, he approached me with a mischievous look, and I ended up teaching him some flamenco steps. Every day, upon seeing me, he would repeat, "arsa y toma," to the rhythm of my clapping, moving his hands and hips in a perfect flamenco-reggaeton mix. He's a fantastic kid. I only asked him never to lose his big smile.

At Jan and Oscar House, you'll find Sarnelli's queens, the girls aged 6 to 12. They can paint for hours on end. They are creative and loving. They seek hugs and to be held constantly. My first encounter with Eye was distant; she came to get me to play badminton (I had never held a badminton racket in my life), and I truly did a terrible job, but from there, our relationship grew stronger. She would see me and run to find me. We spent hours drawing and painting, solving puzzles, playing hand games, or sticking stickers. She's an extremely sweet girl with enormous eyes, living up to her name.

Teenagers live at Our Lady of Refuge and Gary and Jane House. They go through the most tumultuous and revealing stage of their lives in Sarnelli House, as when they turn 18, they must venture into society, continue their lives, and try not to lose themselves along the way. Additionally, there is the volunteer house where we spent endless hours talking, laughing, and crying with the five wonderful women who accompanied me on this adventure. They were so different yet empathetic at the same time, so capable of listening and lifting each other's spirits when emotions overwhelmed us.

I know I can't change the lives of any of these kids, and my presence was minimal compared to their needs. But what I do know is that I wholeheartedly wish for Taara, Nicha, Sun, Eye, and the more than 60 boys and girls who live there to transform a distant scent into a sense of familial love. In some memory of their childhood—so different from mine and that of most who read this—may they find the care and dedication of a family. May they remember that they never lacked a hug when they scraped their knees or when a friend upset them, that someone scolded them when they forgot to brush their teeth, that they were held by the hand on the way to school, and that someone read them a bedtime story every night.

I hope they all have their hot chocolate thermos.

Voluntarias Atresmedia en Nong Khai
Voluntarias Atresmedia en Nong Khai | Atresmedia

Elisabeth López (laSexta Noticias):

When I think of Sarnelli, my face only forms a smile, a smile that comes from the soul, from the deepest happiness I felt during the 14 days I spent there. I'm overwhelmed with the emotion of having had the opportunity to get to know a social project that emanates from the heart and is born out of the need to give these children a fresh chance in life, children who have seen their childhoods shattered. Sarnelli radiates generosity from the moment you step into its small world, surrounded by rice fields, with an iridescent green that contrasts with the clay-brown of its pathways. And that's what it's all been about: contrasts. Dancing between the deepest joy, watching children play until they drop, and shedding tears in the face of profoundly unfair life stories.

Our hearts and minds underwent a transformation. We also left a piece of ourselves there. Not a day goes by when I don't think of Tokio, Numchok, Sun, Michelle, Om, Em, Otto, Panpam, and so many others. Not just because of what we shared with them but because I'm glad that life has brought people like Kate, Brian, or Duck into their lives, people who love them as if they were their own children and work tirelessly to ensure that their present and future are as wonderful as possible. The same way they do at Pimali, creating a culinary school from scratch to provide opportunities for teenagers who must leave their respective orphanages at the age of 18. Incredible projects are being undertaken!

It might sound clichéd, but we brought back much more than we took in our suitcases on our way to Thailand. Thank you, Sarnelli, for opening your doors and filling us with love and hope for a better world. I hope for more Sarnellis. For now, until we meet again, we will continue wearing the bracelets you gave us and cherishing the memory of your hugs, which we miss so much.

Niños jugando durante el voluntariado en Tailandia
Niños jugando durante el voluntariado en Tailandia | Atresmedia

Asociación para la Solidaridad is the organization collaborating with Sarnelli House, and the three volunteers travelled to Nong Khai with them. It was born with a clear mission: to be a space of welcome and solidarity where anyone with a desire to give and receive, to transform and be transformed, would have their place. In the words of their secretary, Justi Sánchez, "What began as a challenge, an adventure, and a responsibility has turned into a beautiful volunteering experience in Thailand with Atresmedia. We thank you for trusting us and for becoming part of the AS family. Thank you for adding, for opening your hearts, and for working towards a fairer world. With you and thanks to you, we continue to fight against poverty, inequality, and exclusion".

Atresmedia's international volunteering is part of the Corporate Volunteering Program for employees, which Atresmedia has been implementing as a key part of its social commitment policy. Through Corporate Volunteering, the company makes the professional skills and potential of its employees available to associations and NGOs working with different social groups and issues. Since 2007, Atresmedia has consistently supported corporate volunteering activities, using its media platforms to spread awareness about the importance of this work and to support nonprofit causes that require the selfless collaboration of citizens and company employees.