Mercy Huts exists to benefit local people living in poverty in Indonesia through the provision of education, employment and training. This will be achieved through the development of beachfront retreats for holiday-makers that give back to the local community. The first of these is located in Rote Island, Indonesia. Rote Island Huts is almost complete.

Our Values

We believe that everybody should have the opportunity to flourish in life and want to empower communities living in poverty in remote Indonesia. We believe in promoting human rights, preserving the environment, and helping create a sustainable, community-based tourism industry. We want to give others the opportunity to enjoy beachside holidays that empower indigenous communities – to enjoy holidays with purpose.

Our Story

Mercy Huts was established in January 2012 when Matt & Nat Thistlewaite teamed up with Sally & Paul McMahon. We shared a mutual desire to empower people living in poverty in remote Indonesia. In 2010 we were personally impacted whilst visiting communities in East Indonesia. This region is the most severely affected by poverty and has the highest malnutrition and infant mortality rates in all of Indonesia. Locals live on less than US$1 per day. Tourism is currently being promoted in East Indonesia and can often have negative impacts on remote communities. Click on the buttons below to see how Mercy Huts hopes to be part of the solution in reversing these alarming statistics. Or Meet the Team behind the project.

Surf Retreat          Community Development

 Who you are helping

Mercy Huts Surf Retreat will reinvest all profits to supporting families in poverty through capacity building & community-determined development projects.


We are committed to financially supporting Mercy Indonesia`s Children’s Home. You can help this Children’s Home rescue and care for more children like Abraham. Read Abraham’s Story »


Our goal is community empowerment through vocational education and training, employment and micro-business operations. Read about our Community Development Projects »

Meet the team

Matt & Nat Thistlewaite

Matt: Professional fireman with previous work as a builder and cafe owner. He is Indonesian speaking with 30+ visits to Indonesia. Nat: Co-owned a Dive School, Professional Scuba diver and host on luxury yachts. The Thistlewaite family spent 2012 living on Rote Island embracing the community, language and determining the true needs of the locals.

Paul & Sally Mcmahon

Paul: Construction industry Project Manager, OHS Manager, Training and assessor and shop-fitter detailed joiner. Sally: Sales, marketing, global project administration and health professional. Paul and Sally spent 2 months in 2012 living in Indonesia and then 7 months campervanning around Australia and fundraising for Mercy Huts Surf Retreat.

Michael Devlin - Board member

Michael brings his extensive experience in management and business strategy to the mix. He is a true leader and has held the position of CEO for Gloria Jeans Coffees, Australian Aluminium Finishing Pty Ltd and Wilh Wilhelmsen Investments. Michael, as well as holding a longstanding relationship with Mercy Indonesia, has an interest in community development in poorer nations with experience as an investor in Indonesia.

Danielle Beaufils - Board member

Danielle has a passion for tourism and hospitality. She has worked in the travel industry for most of her adult life. Danielle and her husband have managed chalets in Austria and Canada and undertaken numerous gourmet cooking ventures. Danielle has exceptional cooking skills with an eye for detail and menu construction and has been a partner in a cafe business.

Stephen Pearce - Board member

Stephen and his family have been actively committed in supporting Indonesian church and community projects since 2004. Stephen’s senior roles working with the Boral and ANI corporations and his current involvement with Directors Dashboard virtual leaders has assisted our organisation implement robust systems and processes into Mercy Huts operations.

Sponsors & Advisors

Steve McKnight: Professional investor and Australia’s most accomplished business and real estate author, credited as shaping the Aussie property market with his #1 best-selling book From 0 to 130 Properties in 3.5 Years. Visit

Simon Beaufils: Director of Ray White Helensburgh, recently visited Rote with his family. Simon, his wife Danielle and their 3 kids fell in love with the Island and want to keep returning year after year. Visit

John Menzies: Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing R&D Manager has a heart to see the people of Rote island cook and eat food that is nourishing and clean from harmful bacteria. Sanitarium are supporting us through provision of micro-businesses that also combat malnutrition. Visit

Joel Warren: talented web designer and developer. With a keen interest in water sports, adventure and working with organisations that think outside the box, Joel generously donated this awesome website to Mercy Huts. Visit