Jazmine Gallate absolutely made my jaw drop when I learned she was only 17 years old. She’s pushing for her dream, training and fighting out of Chokchai Muay Thai gym down on Phuket in Thailand. Jazzy and I share a vision in fighting a lot, often, anywhere, etc., and I’ve been a fan since first “meeting” her online maybe 6 months ago. I’ve also had the pleasure of engaging with Jazmine’s mom, Lisa, online – talking with Lisa and seeing both women interact with each other online, you can really see the love and support. When I see someone like Jazzy pushing for her dreams and working diligently to stay on track, and someone like Lisa encouraging her daughter and supporting her as best she can from afar, I feel like I want more of that. I want in, so to speak. And so I want to encourage and support Jazmine as much as possible.
For whatever reason, there is a small but very vocal group of people online who have given themselves badges to be the “charity police.” They take it upon themselves to categorize worthy vs. abusive calls for help, and their scope of who is allowed to ask and what is worthy of support is incredibly limited and narrowed. How dare you help a female fighter, when Thai soi dogs are in need. How dare you help soi dogs when there are Isaan children in poverty? The thing is: it doesn’t work that way. For me, I know that it’s hard to ask for help; so really, the qualification for who is ethically “worthy” of assistance is whoever is sincere enough to ask for it. People will give when they find it meaningful to do so. And I like how Jazmine phrases it in her GoFundMe Campaign:
“The thing is though, sometimes you put in all the hard work, you do everything you possibly can, and even though training, fighting, school, and your personal life might all be on track, your financial ‘stability’ is somewhat non-existent. “
Being under the legal age to work in Thailand, Jazzy doesn’t have the option of getting a work permit to support herself in Thailand. Her mother is working hard and supporting her as best she can from afar, but there’s only so far her financial support can go and both Lisa and Jazmine want this rare and hard-earned opportunity to live, fight and train in Thailand to be as much as it can be. And that’s where we can help. Rather than brushing it off as “tough break, Kid, guess you just have to go home and wait until these obstacles remove themselves,” we can, if so moved, do something. Even if you can’t offer anything financially, you can share the campaign or you can just send Jazzy a note to say “good luck!” Believe me, that means a lot, too.
I’ve asked for help and I’ve been absolutely floored by how many and how generously people have answered. The interesting thing is that it’s not a zero-sum game, where giving here means necessarily withdrawing help from there – sometimes it’s helping one or the other because we only have so much, but the larger picture is much more interesting. Rather, in the end giving begets more giving. People who have helped me then have turned around and helped others. The idea and act of giving is contagious. And in my own case, because I’ve asked for financial assistance it may seem counter-intuitive that I can give anything to anyone else – how can you ask for help, and help others?! But giving doesn’t necessarily come from surplus, it comes from generosity and compassion, neither of which require excess. I know I still need support to remain in Thailand – fighting and blogging as I have been doing – and that every dollar spent likely means a shorter time here myself, but I believe in the “we” of fighters and trust that the universe has doors to open for me as well.
Good luck, Jazzy! Happy to have contributed.