Brothers orphaned in the Indian tsunami are taking the business world by storm to build an orphanage
Online PR News – 12-June-2012 – London, UK – Rob and Paul Forkan, who were tragically orphaned in the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami, are aiming to raise money to build an Orphanage in Goa, India, as a tribute to their parents. The Forkans, from Surrey, were on holiday in Sri Lanka when the disaster struck. Their parents managed to save their younger children, Matt and Rosie, but became separated from them and died later.
The tsunami on Boxing Day 2004 left 300,000 dead – including the Brit couple, who perished after rescuing their two youngest children. Four of their six kids were there – Rob, then 17, Paul, 15, Matty, 12, and Rosie, eight – and all survived.
Rob recalls; "I grabbed hold of Paul with one arm, the water was so powerful that if you asked me to do that now, I wouldn’t be able to. But I knew if I let go of him, he was gone. As far as we could tell, everything was smashed up, crushed like a war zone. Cars were flipped, debris everywhere. We got to a mosque and there were so many dead. That's when it kicked in."
Rob continues; "I went to the hospital to look for our parents and there was a football pitch of bodies. I couldn't see them."
It wasn't until March that they were told their parents' bodies were found which were then flown home. Since the heartache, the Forkan's three sons, London-based Matty, Paul and Rob embarked on an inspirational business idea.
Ten per cent of the proceeds from their company, Gandys Flip Flops, which feature a footprint as part of the branding reflecting Mrs. Forkan's favourite poem, Mary Stevenson's Footprints in the Sand, go to Children Walking Tall, a charity that helps slum and street children in Goa.
Rob Forkan, said: "Our goal is to open an orphanage for the 10th anniversary of the tsunami, which gives us about two-and-a-half years. When we lived in India we used to spend time working in orphanages so we got to see what it was all about from an early age. After what we’ve been through, we really want to give something back."
The brothers have invested all of their savings in the brand and have already generated a great deal of interest from high street chains at home and abroad. There’s also a documentary about their story in the pipeline.
Rob, said: "It started off as a small project, but after all the experiences we've had we wanted to have a bit more of a purpose to it and build a brand based on our own beliefs. You can sit around dwelling on the past, but we had a wonderful upbringing and we want to carry on and go out and start a new chapter in our parents' memory."
Gandys is a revolutionary flip flop brand created by 3 young Brothers, who have spent years travelling all over the world living in flip flops. They are now building a brand based on the beliefs they learnt along the way; working in slums and being schooled in India as they were growing up.
With every pair sold the Brothers are giving back to children in India with a donation of 10% of total profits to a terrific charity called Children Walking Tall. The Brothers both have an ultimate goal to not only open, but sustain the needs of an orphanage in India, in honour of their parents who were tragically taken from them in the Boxing Day Tsunami.
After such a tragic experience and cheating death the young Brothers and their 3 sisters decided that there is more to life than a standard 9 to 5 job and have created a brand with an ethos they are passionate about and believe in.