Karen people live high in the mountains of northwest Thailand. A good supply of water, and land sufficient to provide enough food for their families, are the ingredients for a simple lifestyle. Children are loved and cherished, education is respected. Parents do their best to provide for their children’s educational needs, sending them to school in their mountain village or in a village nearby.
For secondary education, (High School), children often have to move to a nearby town such as Mae Sariang to study. Some stay with relatives. Others live in hostels run by the Government or NGOs such as Compassion International.
But not all homes are peaceful and joyful. Families face problems and children suffer if parents take drugs or abuse alcohol. The Chrestos Home of Peace and Joy has been established to help boys who face problems like this within their families. Some of the boys have lost one or both of their parents. The Home of Peace and Joy gives them the opportunity to study in a good Thai school, where they often excel academically and in sport. From the Home they progress either to vocational training as electricians or mechanics, or to university where some have specialised in law and agriculture.
The local community at Mae Sariang use the campus facilities for sport and education.
Canned fish is given to many local dormitories (hostels) in the area. Fish, clothing and blankets are taken to refugee camps along the Thai/Myanmar border and also to other orphanages.
Help is given to families in need, for example, financial aid has been given to two families who have lost their houses due to fire. Knitted hats and blankets to keep Karen people warm in the relatively cold nights and early mornings in the mountains have lovingly been made by friends from Cornwall and other parts of the UK.
When cyclones or other natural disasters strike, Chrestos has the capacity for immediate intervention, for instance following the devastating Cyclone Nargis in 2008.
The students helped the local government build a weir to keep water in Tung Leng village and helped to set up a fire barrier in Mae Khong Sub-district, Mae Sariang District.
The facilities at Chrestos Mission are regularly used by the local community, including the Police and other officials.
Itinerant evangelists, Sunday School teachers and womens' ministries are given financial assistance.