About the Founders
Marc Thomas Jenni
My motivation to become the co-founder of Child’s Dream stems from my experience of working, living and travelling in Asia for many years. While working in Hong Kong and in Singapore as a private banker, I started developing a keen interest in helping the marginalised in society. I had the privilege to meet many wealthy and inspiring people who really care about the less fortunate by either helping with money or by engaging directly in various charity projects. I always admired them, but I never thought that I could work for a charity full-time or even establish my own foundation.
When I left the banking industry in the summer of 2003 to take a mid-career break, I joined Daniel in Chiang Mai, where he came up with the crazy idea of establishing our very own charitable foundation. My initial reaction was blunt incomprehension. How? Why? When? With whose money? Who would trust us? We have no training in that field! We are two bankers! And, and, and… I nevertheless gave it some thought and my initial doubts turned into excitement. Our own charity was born: Child’s Dream.
Since life usually does not turn out the way you have planned it, I had long ago decided to indefinitely extend my break from the financial industry. I have never regretted this decision.
I truly enjoyed my life and work in the financial industry, but only now I know and realise that something had been missing to make me perfectly happy. By managing, leading and growing Child’s Dream, I experience every day that helping others is what fills the gap. It is also a great opportunity to give something back to society and to say “thank you” for the very privileged life I have been able to live so far.
‘We must be the change we want to see in the world’
Daniel Marco Siegfried
In my early childhood, I had already developed a growing urge for justice and helping people who were less fortunate than me. At that time I made it a point to defend and protect ‘outsiders’ at school. Back then it was mainly about friends that did not follow all consumer trends and looked or behaved somewhat differently from the plain vanilla kids. Some had difficult family backgrounds or were foreign nationals, but all were pushed around during and after school. Years later, after having spent five years in Asia as an expatriate and having had a chance to travel extensively to many countries in Southeast Asia, I came across other groups of outsiders rejected for one or another reason from benefiting from our society. Of all of them, children seemed in greatest need.
The urge to help surfaced again. At first I tried to get involved in charity projects apart from my regular work. I started off by simply visiting websites of different charity organisations and afterwards, I also visited different projects and the people who run them. Those were such impressive moments for me that it became increasingly difficult to find motivation in my work as a banker. After nine years with UBS in Zurich, Hong Kong, Seoul and Singapore, I decided to resign in order to help those in need. I truly value what I learned during my commercial career – and I cherish the friendships that I formed during that time. After all, it was this commercial job that made it possible to realise my dream of helping other people full-time by running a charitable organisation.
When asked about my motives for doing charity work, I simply reply
‘It just feels right!’