Empowerasia (originally Sure Destiny) started in 1990 when Paul and Carlie Somerville moved to Bangkok, Thailand to take in and care for street kids. They soon moved up to the North East, which is the poorest and most underdeveloped part of Thailand. Their calling was to take in teenagers from extremely poor or at-risk families who could not support thier children in school and were forced to send them away to Bangkok for work.
The situation in Thailand for the extreme poor at that time was desperate. Girls were being sold into prostitution, boys into slave labour work gangs. Paul and Carlie saw this ministry as a second chance for these innocent kids.
Today there is a home for teenage boys (the same home started 20 years ago by Paul and Carlie) and a home for teenage girls (15 years now). Paul and Carlie have gone on to open multiple children’s homes in several south east asian countries with a similar vision: Developing children from poorer regions into leaders equipped with good education and skills. Empowerasia is now in 5 countries, with 19 homes, and over 120 kids (and counting).
More about the other countries here: http://empower.asia/about-us/
Paul and Carlie have moved back to New Zealand, and Paul travels often, visiting and fund raising for the homes. Meanwhile, Jamie and Lily care for the teenage girls home and Nikhom and Lakana care for the teenage boys home.
Jamie and Lily Somerville:
Jamie is Paul and Carlie’s eldest son and grew up in Thailand. He speaks fluent Thai and understands the culture. Lily grew up in the teenage girls home, and was studying at university when she met Jamie. She has a unique perspective as someone who grew up in the girls home herself, and she is a great role model for the girls.
Nikhom and Lakana:
Nikhom and Lak are the pastors of our church in Khon Kaen, our nearest big city, 25 km north of us. When Paul approached them to ask if they knew anyone who would be interested in leading the boys home, they said “yes- us!”
Nikhom and Lak are senior leaders within our church group and are very involved in camps and outreach. They are very experienced christians who are perfect for giving our kids “hands-on” ministry opportunities.
In Thailand there are currently 3 different homes: our girls, our boys as well as our universtiy student hostel. Soon, we hope to start a home for primary aged children.
for more information, to support, or for comments, contact Jamie Somerville: http://firstname.lastname@example.org