Agape was the first school in the migrant community that Room to Grow supported. The school will provide education to almost 200 children in the upcoming year. Some come across the river from Burma to come to school, while others actually live on the riverbed that separates Thailand and Burma. Many of the children who stay in the boarding house are formerly street children. Some are orphaned or abandoned. Some are children of single parents who work in factories and struggle to support themselves. The parents of these children often visit the school in the evenings or on weekends or special occasions. The boarding house provides the only opportunity they have to keep their family together.
The school has seen incredible improvements over the past two years. Two years ago, we built a boy’s boarding house building on rented land in a field where the school was located. Last year, Canadian donors purchased a large plot of land near the Moei River for the school. The boy’s building was taken down and the wood and thatch was re-used to create a new building.
Last year we were able to provide funds for the construction of a permanent concrete building for the girl’s dormitory. We have introduced many new donors to Agape, some of whom have funded the new boy’s dormitory building. Today, almost all the buildings are complete including the nursery, classrooms, assembly hall, teacher’s quarters, kitchen, and boy’s and girl’s toilets.
On October 31st, 2009, we held the first ever Agape Birthday Party. Most of the children do not know when they were born. Some do not know how old they are. While they have often been invited to birthday parties at other schools, none of the children had had their own birthday party or their own birthday cake. We provided gifts and a cake for each child in the boarding house, as well as a big meal and a full day of games and prizes and we hope to do so again this year.
We continue to work with the Agape children, as we have forged a strong relationship with many of the boarding house children there. We will continue our weekly after school program there.