Janet Tartaglia and kids.jpg

Inspirational mother-of-four leaves Algarve for life-changing journey

She calls it “Chapter 3” and it certainly reads like something out of a book. After the “mother years” seeing four children through school in the Algarve, Janet Tartaglia – a well known personality on the local business scene – is packing up her life and heading to Cambodia to help disadvantaged children. It’s something the Welsh-born daughter of missionary parents who grew up in Brazil always knew she would do “in the end”.
“In a way, my life seems to have come in chapters,” she told us. “First there were those years in Brazil which really made me the person I am today. Then there were 19 years where I was happily married and had four fabulous children – and now there is this.”
“This” is the life-changing decision she made the day she tuned in to a talk on TED (Ideas Worth Spreading).
“That day was the end of my life as I knew it and the beginning of my new life … This is it. The time has finally come for me to dedicate my life to those children who have had a difficult and impoverished upbringing with no access to education, no job opportunities, no security, no love, no happiness.
“I want to be part of the Cambodian Children’s Fund (CCF) which provides life-changing education, nourishment and healing to vulnerable children from some of Cambodia’s most destitute communities.”
Thus the vibrant 45-year-old who has worked for Ibex Portugal (insurance) for the last nine years, and who arrived in the Algarve to open a restaurant which featured in the BBC2 programme ‘Living the Dream’, has resigned her job, put her house on the market and is busily learning Khmer, the Cambodian language.
“It’s so exciting,” she agreed. “And it’s incredible how much my decision seems to have influenced other people. So many have said they would love to do something like this.”
Well-versed at networking, Janet is using her move to host a charity event at the Hilton Hotel in aid of the CCF. Planned for July 19, the idea is to raise money which she will be able to present to the charity when she reports for “work” at the end of August.
“For now, I only have a volunteer placing,” Janet told us. “But I am quite convinced I will get myself a job while I am working there. It’s funny, but I have no worries about that at all. I know this is the right thing to do. I have known all my life that I would work with children who had had a difficult kind of life – I just didn’t know where.”
And her four children, how do they feel about their hands-on mother disappearing to a country that is simply a blur in most people’s geography? “They think it is fantastic! They are 100% behind me.”
For now, though, Janet’s focus is on setting up the charity event, which will involve a three-course buffet, live auction and band.
Anyone interested in donating prizes for the auction should get in touch with her.
“I’m thinking of businesses donating ‘days out’, a weekend away – that sort of thing,” she explained.
As soon as we have more details, we will publish them. In the meantime, anyone keen to enjoy a night giving to charity and enjoying good food, company and music can reserve their tables. The buffet price is €40 per head.
“Sometimes you just have to go with your gut feelings,” Janet left us with a thought for the day. “Follow your heart. There are so many children out there who haven’t had love, or a fortunate life, and we can all do something to help them.”
For further insight into the extraordinary work of the Cambodian Children’s Fund, see:
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By NATASHA DONN [email protected]
Photo: Janet Tartaglia with her children, from left, Pietro, Selina, Karissa and Sofia