Existing Schools for Life

School for Life Chiang Mai, Thailand

The School for Life Chiang Mai is an internationally sponsored project in Thailand that provides home and care for children who live in difficult situations. At its inception, its main target-group was Aids-orphans, but over time, a range of children with diverse backgrounds have come to live at the School for Life. Among them are children who lost their relatives; children whose parents were killed or are missing due to social or political upheaval; and children who have escaped from situations of brutality and abuse. The School for Life provides for their basic needs; offers psychosocial and medical care; provides housing; aims to make the best possible education available to them; and respects their right to a happy childhood.

The School for Life also creates jobs for local people, providing employment in farming, civil works or child care activities. Following the community development approach, adults are included in project work which target local key issues such as recycling or organic farming. The School seeks to establish productive cooperative relationships with local government and the visit of the Thai Princess, HRH Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to the School for Life in Chiang Mai in 2005, exemplifies the growing positive relationship with the Ministry of Education and the provincial Government.

School for Life Phang Nga, Thailand

The School for Life Phang Nga (former Beluga/Hanseatic School for Life) was founded by Prof. Dr. Jürgen Zimmer and Niels Stolberg in October 2006 in southern Thailand, in Na Nai (“village in the rice field”), Khao Lak. The initial aim of the School was to help some of the many children in Thailand who had been orphaned by the devastating Tsunami of 2004.

From the outset, the concept of the School for Life Phang Nga was based on the two pillars “living and learning”. The 180 children at the school lived in family-like structures similar to those of built as SOS Children’s Villages.

Knowledge transfer was carried out in the gradually extended further education centers, in so-called “places of learning”. The main focus of the School for Life was on long-term and sustainable success in education, economy.

The following centers were established in conjunction with the “places of learning”:

  • Organic Farming
  • Culturally sensitive tourism
  • Nutrition and Health
  • Body and Soul
  • Culture and Development
  • International Communication

On 30 September 2007 the School for Life in southern Thailand was recognized by the Federal Government of Germany under the Land of Ideas Award as “Selected Landmark in the Land of Ideas”. In November 2008, the School for Life also received a personal award conferred by Willi Lemke, UN Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sport for Peace and Development. He particularly emphasized the quality of the School for Life and noted: “I am going to return to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to tell him that this is the best project that I have ever seen here”.

Among other forms of support and recognition, in 2010 the School for Life Phang Nga was classified as “particularly valuable” by UNESCO and the United Nations; and in 2011, the School for Life was anointed as a “Decade Project for Sustainable Education”. Also in 2011, the Thai Tourist-Information Office (TAT) awarded the Green Awards for the first time to a project in the German market at the ITB in Berlin.

The Thai Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya travelled specifically for this purpose from Thailand to personally hand over this prize for special commitment in the field of sustainable tourism development. The present carrier of the School for Life is a Thai foundation.

“I am going to return to UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to tell him that this is the best project I have ever seen here.”

Willi Lemke, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Sport for Peace and Development, School for Life Phang Nga, 2008

Green School Bali, Indonesia

The concept of the Green School Bali was initially formulated by Jürgen Zimmer as a Green School for Life in collaboration with the founders Cynthia and John Hardy. Although missing the Centers of Excellence and the link between a national and international curriculum (the Green School has a fully international curriculum) – the Green School is distinguished by two other characteristics which are also features of the School for Life: avant-garde bamboo architecture and an environmentally friendly design.