[Photo courtesy of Eden Valley Academy faculty.]
Thailand | Edward Rodriguez, SSD Communication Department

When the pandemic hit various countries around the world, students and teachers were forced to adjust to a remote and digital environment. For some schools, these adjustments may have been a walk in the park as the funds needed for the transition were readily available. However, that was not so for the Eden Valley Academy.

To both the students and teachers, the transition was challenging. Electricity in this far-flung area of Thailand is scarce and fluctuating. Internet connection is also difficult to get. 

Being situated near the border with unstable Myanmar, the academy worries about security. Soldiers are closely monitoring the border for people illegally crossing to find work in Chiang Mai. A sense of fear and apprehension hangs over the school as soldiers linger around in the community.

COVID-19 has threatened the school in the past two years. In recent months, several students and teachers were infected by the virus. However, the staff and faculty of the school learned various home remedies that helped alleviate the symptoms and eventually helped the patients recover.

Flooding and landslides are common occurrences here in this region, especially during the typhoon season. The administration of the school has determined that structural improvements are needed to strengthen the foundations of the buildings. There is also a need to put up new buildings to accommodate the growing population of the academy.

Despite all its predicaments, the school remains steadfast. Like other schools, Eden Valley Academy is facing unprecedented financial and operational challenges at this time, but it is staying true to its commitment to giving Adventist Christian education to its students. Above anything else, the school, together with its students, purposes to remain committed to its mission of sharing the gospel, especially during these troubled times.

A few months ago, the school organized a Bible study series that led to the baptism of 35 individuals. Some of the students baptized come from families that are Baptists, Buddhists, and even Animists.

While the internet was a challenge, teachers turned to the manual production of modules for the students. Eden Valley Academy has remained a school where young minds could find understanding, peace, and hope. It has learned to be resilient yet dependent on God as it navigates its way through the pandemic.

Eden Valley Academy is a Seventh-day Adventist mission school established in 1984 by an Australian missionary, Dr. Helen M. Hall. It aims to provide quality Adventist education to refugees along the Thai-Burma border. It is now located in the Maela refugee camp and has about 1,000 students.

For those who want to help the school, please refer to the original article, found here.