The official opening of the School for Life was presided
over by HRH Maja Synke Princess von Hohenzollern, who is associated with the
Free University in Berlin, Germany.
Maja Synke Princess von Hohenzollern during her ten days stay at the School
for Life. (Photo by Rita Haberkorn)
The School of Life is a project for AIDS victims,
orphans, and children from ethnic minorities, such as Akha, Lisu, Lahu, and
Yao. Many of the 50 children who are there were previously street children
who lived in traumatic situations.
Founder Dr. Jrgen Zimmer believes the School for
Life is a model that can change the lives of the poorest, and he is hopeful
that change will move more rapidly with the political developments in
Thailand. Thai partners in this project are the Rural and Social Management
Institute (RASMI) and the foundation for Thailand Rural Reconstruction
Movement (TRRM) under royal patronage.
HRH Princess von Hohenzollern was fascinated by this
innovative project and its results, and stayed for ten days at the school to
gain first hand experience to know where help is needed.
In her very touching opening speech she addressed the
children directly saying, “It is a pleasure for me to meet you and to see
what great little characters you are. I am deeply impressed with your
courage and your will to live.”
“Everyone of you is very special, and talented in many
ways. Your dreams, needs, and wishes may be different, but they all can come
true. Sometimes it needs much work, power, and patience to reach our goals.
I will support you as well as I can and will help you to make your dreams
true. So every night, when you go to sleep, remember that there is a
princess that sends you lots of love, support, and energy. It would make me
very happy, if you promise me to never stop dreaming your dreams, to never
stop trusting in your talents and to never in your life stop believing in
that these things can become true. You are all in my heart.”
The School for Life will not teach the children in
ordinary classrooms but offers discovery learning in which the children will
receive an international education in organic farming, tourism, body and
soul, culture, and development with applied natural resources, and
appropriate communication for children. They will learn what they can use in
their environment, but most of all; they will learn to think by themselves
and to never be afraid of trying out new things in order to achieve.
Questions such as, “Is the jungle like a big growing supermarket? How can
all the different hill tribes live together and understand each other
without losing their individuality?” are just some of the queries they
The School for Life is on the Suan Suoi Fha Sai farm, 45 minutes outside
Chiang Mai. It belongs to ‘Joy’s house’, (Joy Worrawittayakun) who
acts as the unofficial mother to all the children.