May 20, 2023

Empowering Refugees in Thailand Through Adventist Education

A 83-year-old Australian has spent her life serving those in need. And she hasn’t stopped.

Edward Rodriguez, Southern Asia-Pacific Division, and Adventist Review
Eden Valley Academy is an independent Seventh-day Adventist school that educates young people who have fled their homes due to conflict near the Thailand-Myanmar border. [Photo: courtesy of Adventist Mission]

Hellen Hall, an 83-year-old Australian missionary volunteer, has dedicated her life to assisting those in need. Her biggest endeavor led her all the way to Thailand.

Hall’s missionary project is in the border region of Myanmar and Thailand. There, she serves at Eden Valley Academy, providing education and support to refugees and young people who have been displaced by the area’s violent instability.

Eden Valley Academy is an independent Seventh-day Adventist school that educates young people who have fled their homes due to conflict and violence. The school, founded by Hall in 1984, is located near the Thailand-Myanmar border, and acts as a safe haven for young people in need of a supportive and caring atmosphere, regional church leaders said.

Currently, Eden Valley Academy is accommodating more than 800 students and keeps growing year after year. With more than fifty teachers on her staff, Hall is doing inspiring work that is changing the lives of young people in these challenging areas, leaders said.

“We are attempting to train people who know what they believe with a strong Adventist conviction,” Hall said. “We [want them to] know the health principles, so that when they return [to their homes], they may start running their own little school for witnessing in communities in many places of Myanmar where other people cannot go,” she explained.

Hall’s responsibilities at Eden Valley Academy are multifaceted. She assists in the classroom and with student academics, but she also plays a vital role in providing emotional and spiritual support to the students at the school. Many of the students have been through pain and grief, and Hall is there to lend a sympathetic ear and a kind heart.

“I feel very privileged to be able to do this work,” Hall explained. “It’s a challenging environment, but it’s also incredibly rewarding to be able to make a difference in the lives of these young people.”

Hall’s service at Eden Valley Academy includes more than just giving education and assistance. It is about assisting young people in rebuilding their lives and finding hope for the future, church leaders said.

“I believe that everyone deserves the chance to live a meaningful and fulfilling life,” she said. “And if I can even help one person achieve that, I will have done something truly worthwhile.”

The original version of this story was posted on the Southern Asia-Pacific Division news site.