In 2000, while teaching at Chiang Mai academy in the north of Thailand, students requested we undertake a field trip to Kanchanaburi Province to help raise awareness about Christianity within the Buddhist community of Bong Ti. We discovered the small border district had not been well developed; no electricity, no running water, no education and limited access to medical care. The roads were dirt tracks. The population was a hill tribe group of Karen, without ID or legal status. The annual income per year for a household was less than 6500 baht. This started the dream of Bamboo School.
Late 2000, we commenced building the orphanage. Since then we have helped 493 children. Most of our children have been orphaned, abandoned or abused. They are nobodies, left over from the border conflict between the Karen Hill tribe and the Burmese. Stateless, they are often undernourished or suffering from neglect. Some are “lifers” in that they do not know family, so they stay at Bamboo School always. Some are handicapped. Some are temporary residents, awaiting their families to claim them. They range in age from infancy to late-teens. They attend the local Thai school & graduate to university. Sponsors make an annual commitment for food, clothing & educational expenses. Many children have graduated from university and send back funds for the school’s development program. The development includes electricity, school, and medical facilities.
Every student has a chore to undertake each morning & evening. The building maintenance, gardens & cooking are all done by the children. The school has been built by children, for children. In 2009 we added a clinic, small hospital and ambulance service. This is run in conjunction with the government hospital at Sai Yok.
Based on the Bible chapters of Isaiah 58, we try to help children believe in a powerful God. This gives them the security of belonging, a security that is wider than the people who have let them down in the past.
Staffing: We are all volunteers for God. Some volunteers come for days, some for weeks, some for months. Most of the people return for the children.