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ABOUT US

The Seed of Hope project provides a dormitory that currently houses 33 hill-tribe students from remote villages in Northern Thailand.  The purpose of the dorm is to provide a safe place for the students to live while they attend Thai public & private school, teach sustainable life skills and to take steps to apply for Thai citizenship if not yet acquired.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The story begins in 2012 when Ryan and Rebecca Stowell along with their two boys, Tyler and Caleb, moved from their small mountain town in Colorado, where they owned and operated a family style restaurant and a gift shop. 

In the first year a friendship formed with a couple about their same age, Lawpa and Bairak.  Lawpa and Bairak are from the Akha people group and the Stowells could see that their hearts were for the marginalized peoples of Thailand.   They were housing 21 kids from their village and other surrounding villages on the outskirts of Chiang Mai in order for them to receive and education. 

In 2013 Lawpa and Bairak had their first college graduates from highschool!  These two students wanted to attend nursing school so the Stowells offered room and board for them while they attended college in the city.  One of these girls was Lawpa and Biarak's oldest child and the other was from a neighboring village.  They later found out that the other girl was stateless so the Stowells, along with International Justice Mission, helped her and her brother aquire citizenship.  

Lawpa and Bairak were doing their best to take care of the students but it was a heavy load taking care of that many kids.  They came to the Stowells and asked if they would consider helping their family provide a safe place for hilltribe students to board while attending school.  After much prayer and consideration, the Stowells and Lawpa's family officially started the Seed of Hope project under the Family Connection Foundation in February of 2015.

 

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GROWING

Paeng, Plewfire and their girls

 

 

Paeng was one of the very first people the Stowell family met in Thailand in 2012.  She was a patient and guiding light as the Stowells navigated a very foreign country and culture. Paeng went to Bible College in Bangkok and became very fluent in English before moving back to N. Thailand.   She quickly became "Auntie Paeng" to the Stowell boys.  Ryan and Rebecca observed her heart for children as they volunteered alongside each other at the dorm in the early years.  After the dorm was official with the government, and had moved north, she asked if she could join the SOH team.  They had to wait a couple years as they still did not have enough funding to give her a salary.  She waited patiently and during that time found a good job in the city and married her wonderful husband Plewfire.   In 2018 the two of them moved north and became full time staff living on-site.  In 2021 they took over directorship from Ryan and Rebecca so that they could start the Seed of Hope Coffee Co. (see "Coffee!" tab above).  Paeng and Plewfire are affectionately called "mama" and "papa" by all the dorm kids. Plewfire serves the dorm with his many talents, such as maintenance, landscaping, electrical wiring and running the motorcycle shop on the grounds with the students.  He patiently shepherds the kids alongside Paeng with his gentle and caring spirit.

The Meier Family

In 2023 Paul and Karyn Meier joined the Seed of Hope team.  With the growing pains of 9 years in the making SOH is needing more and more help on many fronts.  With 8 local staff on site, Ryan, Rebecca and the team were needing support as they tried to keep legal standing with the government, oversee the care of 33 students and had also started a coffee company in 2021 (see "coffee!" tab for that story).

Paul is the Seed of Hope project coach and not only helps with coaching the staff but also with so many logistics.  He not only coaches and supports the dorm directors but encourages the staff, leads visiting volunteer teams, has been seen doing land maintenance along side Plewfire and much more.  He is a huge blessing when it comes to helping with all of the required government paperwork and legal issues that make a project run smoothly, not to mention all the details of child safety protocol, detailed dorm rules and the staff policies.  Karyn keeps the Meier household together, taking care of their three children, volunteering at their kids' school and encouraging Paul in all he does.  She is setting an incredible example to the local people of what a Godly marriage looks like and how a wife can support her husband and care for her children. We are beyond thankful for the Meier family.

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