House of Joy opened in 2001 as a home for underprivileged, high-risk and orphaned Akha children. We provide for their physical, educational and emotional needs while seeking to cultivate within them a love for God and a passion for serving others, especially their own people. At this time, we serve 75 children ranging in age from 7 to 20 years old.
Our home, located on the same facility as our Bible school, provides children with a loving and nurturing environment, enabling them to achieve their full potential as human beings and as members of a larger community. These children come from extreme circumstances that deny them hope for the future.
A Brighter Future
In addition to enjoying a loving and stable family environment, House of Joy children attend public school and progress as far as they are able in the Thai educational system. This stands in stark contrast to the educational opportunities available in Akha villages, which generally offer only primary-level schooling the quality of which is lacking – some village schools unofficially let out at noon because the children just leave! We aim for the children who graduate House of Joy to have a vocational or a college degree as well as the life skills necessary for them to support themselves and their families. Our children help out with chores around the compound, where they are instructed in practical matters such as housecleaning, car maintenance and cooking.
Agents of Change
At House of Joy, the children are encouraged to develop pride in their cultural heritage and maintain all healthy relationships within their home community. For three days every year, one relative per child will come down to work on the facility to create a sense of ownership in the ministry and a stronger relationship with the child. These times encourage responsibility in the relatives and reduce the likelihood of the child feeling abandoned. Then, on school breaks, most of our children return to their home village to stay with relatives. While there, they often act as agents for positive change in the community, which furthers the vision to reach all the Akha with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Read the story of Sango village: A Congregation of Two.
Keeping the Culture
Though difficult to measure, prejudices often limit educational and social progress for hill tribe people. Consequently, these people are often ashamed of their heritage. At House of Joy, however, we encourage our children to maintain their indigenous Akha culture and speak the Akha language to one another. We also teach them to read and write Akha and to understand their culture from a Christian perspective. In this way, we believe our children will retain their “Akha-ness” and have a greater ability to reach their own people for Christ.
How You Can Help
Each child has sponsors who make it possible for him or her to live at House of Joy. They cherish the photos of their sponsors’ families and exchange translated personal letters at least twice a year. If you would like more information about sponsoring a child, please click here: Sponsor a Child.