Bermudian seeks to build a school in Thailand
A Bermudian man has dedicated his life to helping the impoverished in Thailand.
Keith Stuart, with Thai wife Pui, has founded churches, helped feed and educate the poor and offered shelter to children in need, many of whom have gone on to have families of their own.
Now the 61-year-old, who has spent the past six months in Bermuda to fundraise, is on a mission to build a school to provide their children with a good education and to break the cycle of poverty.
He explained: “This isn’t ordinary Thai people. This is the street people — the down and outers. I’ve been reaching out to the children, the victims of this.
“You can see these boys now have children. If we can train these children up, we’ve got the mayors, the priests, the leaders that will be of a solid and righteous training and can break that cycle. And it’s not just the poverty. It’s to elevate them from that negative thinking.”
Mr Stuart, a musician, played the bagpipes in Hamilton for cruise ship passengers in the summer and travelled the world playing music in the winters.
He was working in Thailand when he tired of his rock‘n’roll lifestyle, settled there and turned to God.
Mr Stuart explained that the education system in Thailand was poor compared to Bermuda.
He said: “I have taught a little bit in the school over there and I know they are really desperate. It’s not a very sound learning place.”
Mr Stuart added: “I want knowledge to be exciting to learn, not torture to learn. I know my wife will overrule this when it’s made official, but I call it the School of Wow: World of Wonder.”
Mr Stuart said he decided to transform his home, which earlier housed the Pattaya Fellowship Church, into a school when the children he had taken in over the years started their own families.
He explained that it all “began around 2009”, when he built the house in Pattaya and it became a refuge for young boys living on the streets.
Mr Stuart said: “These boys started to come and we gave them music, and security, love. They wanted to go back to school and then we discipled them and turned them from consumers to contributors.
“Every Saturday, all these boys would be out helping with different ministries. Then, the girls started to come off the street.”
Seven of the young men now have families of their own, with a total of 15 children between them. Mr Stuart, who has been researching the most suitable curriculum, explained: “We started with music. We teach art and science.
“We’ve been teaching in English and Thai. And we also teach other things like gardening and cooking. And these are just the little preschoolers. But I need to get equipment for the grade school now.”
He added: “I just want to keep it small right now for our children and possibly make it a model for the other churches that we are involved with.”
Mr Stuart said another school had expressed interest in a partnership but added his priority was to get his own school up and running. He has spent the past six months in Bermuda, in a bid to raise funds for the project.
Mr Stuart explained that he is also raising funds for two young mothers to realise their dream of becoming teachers.
He said both had a natural gift for teaching and will go to college parttime while also teaching at the school.
Mr Stuart said: “It took me a couple of years to get them to think about more than what do I want tomorrow morning, tonight. But now these two and a couple of others are coming on board. “I want all those mothers involved, one way or another, because it’s our school.”
For more information, contact Keith Stuart on firstname.lastname@example.org
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