Since 2007, the Ayui Foundation has been supporting disadvantaged Akha hilltribe teenagers (of any religion) by providing access to life-changing education as well as healthcare, food and a safe place to live.
We have a separate hostel for girls and boys aged 10 and older, and cover their educational costs while enabling them to live in a supportive environment. Ayui (pronounced ‘ah-yeu’) is the Akha word for ‘older sister’ and the hostels were opened with the idea of a nurturing and understanding older sister providing much-needed support.
The Girls Home is close to the local market, not far from town center, and the Boys Home is located in the rural Huay Pla Kang community, where they raise fish and chickens and grow vegetables to help with food costs. The hostels are run on a daily basis by the live-in Akha houseparents
Some of the students are orphans, some have a parent in prison or addicted to drugs, and most are either from single-parent families or struggling farming families.
We have an open door policy for parents/guardians to come and visit the children at any time – we work in partnership with parents to support their families. In the term holidays many of the children return to their villages, if it is safe for them to do so.
Aside from taking the children to school or college, we also teach them life skills such as cooking, washing their clothes, driving, computer use, job search skills and assist with citizenship applications, if needed.
The Ayui Foundation also supports the preservation of Akha culture. We teach young Akha people to be proud of their culture by providing strong Akha role models, discussing and celebrating their traditions, visiting villages, attending (and sometimes performing at) cultural events, and doing an annual clothes donation to an Akha village so the children can give back to their community.
The students also learn traditional embroidery, songs and dances. At the Ayui Foundation, the new generation of Akha youth are empowered with education and cultural pride to help them face the challenge of balancing the past, the present and the future.
By providing a safe home and access to education we can change lives.