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Welcome to Sunshine Orchard Learning Center

Sunshine Orchard is a Learning Center for children and youth who have been affected by the longest civil war in the world www.worldatlas.com). The campus is located on the bank of the Moi River, which here constitutes the border between Thailand and Karen State, Myanmar (Burma). This area is often referred to as a “no man’s land”. It has now been over 10 years since the students were rescued from an imminent attack across the river in Karen State, and Sunshine Orchard was founded in nearby Thailand. At first there were 120 students, kindergarten through sixth grade. A new grade was added each year to facilitate continued education for the students. Soon more children came in order to escape the fighting and with the hope to gain an education, and as a result there were close to 300 boarding students. But in time we came to see that it was necessary to limit boarding students in order to be able to have better nutrition, closer supervision, and a closer relationship with each student. Today we  have grades 1-12 with about 200 boarding students and an additional 350+ day students from nearby villages. Our students are primarily from Karen State, Burma, and in the category of refugees or IDPs (internally displaced persons). Most are from impoverished homes, and also from heavily land mined areas, due to the war.  

Karen History

The Karen are a unique ethnic minority in their traditionally high moral standards and their ancient legends which have been passed down. Some Christians believe them to be the lost tribe of Levi, Israelites who migrated after the captivity in Babylon to Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, India and Mongolia and on into China and Burma, about two thousand years ago.  (They have also gained the attention of the Mormons, who claim them to be a part of Mormon history and the book of Mormon.) We don’t know if any of the claim of their being Levites is true. But we do know that they have a history rich in legends passed down through generations– the story of the creator God, having two sons, the older Karen and younger white brother, who both received books with golden edges. The Karen lost their book while tending their fields, the chickens scratching it into pieces, and the white brother left across the wide ocean with his book. The legends said that one day he would return with the book on the ocean, riding on a white elephant, so when the first missionaries came, the Karen welcomed them as long lost family. During the British colonization, the Karen were placed in high position within army and government, which was not allowed for the Burman. During world war II, the Karen fought against the Japanese with the British, while the Burmese stood with the Japanese. The British had promised the Karen an independent state after the war, as they had settled the region a thousand years before the Burmese settled the land. But this promise was not filled and with the war ended and the British departed, the Burmese viewed the Karen as Christian dogs that needed to be removed from government and military positions. The most horrendous crimes took place against the Karen during the following seventy years, and military leaders were found stating that “one day, you will only see a Karen in a museum”.  An ethnic cleansing took place with the most cruel and savage methods of torture, rape and murder and a “ ‘four cuts’ counter-insurgency strategy that aims to cut off food, funds, intelligence and popular support” (www.asiatimes.com). Therefore the army has strategically been eliminating food supplies, killing livestock, burning whole villages, and laying landmines. The students of Sunshine Orchard are most worthy to receive our support and encouragement. 

Ministry Needs

This school is a registered Migrant Learning Center and has legal recognition in Thailand under Sunshine Health and Education Foundation. We conduct a work-study program, with vocational training.

Much change has been seen during Sunshine Orchard’s 10 years of operation. From the campus structures being made of bamboo with leaf roofs, God has miraculously provided cement and wood buildings. Initially, the school building was to accommodate six grades. But now, having twelve grades as well as vocational subjects, many classes are therefore held in less than favorable places such as in a kitchen, cafeteria, porch, or unfinished building without walls or protection from the elements.

Sunshine Orchard exists solely by the grace of God! We are so thankful for His faithful care on this journey of providing education and board for so many students. It’s been a faith journey, each day a token of His providence. 

We deeply appreciate your prayers and support.

Currently, our greatest needs are: 

-A monthly budget of $10,000

-Computers

-Bibles and hymnals $15 each

-Bunk beds for dormitories

-English, Bible and Science teachers

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We sincerely appreciate your prayers, support, and donations. May God richly bless you!