Our Founding Story
Agape Academy co-founder Merrian Raths grew up in a poor family herself Cebu, Philippines. At age fourteen she was forced to work, as her parents could not provide for her education. Merrian had experienced various forms of trauma and abuse, and was in a hopeless and helpless state for many years. Only with the help of her first husband she was able to overcome her desperate situation. She was able to return to her studies and later helped her find a job. In her own journey of finding hope and experiencing healing and transformation in her life, Merrian was deeply burdened to help others that shared a similar situation. She wanted to share the hope and the blessings she had received.
Agape Academy Begins
In 2011, Merrian and Patrick Raths pulled together their personal finances and founded Agape Academy, a non-profit organisation. The mission: Through the provision of quality education and leadership development, Agape Academy hopes to see the material, social, environmental, and spiritual restoration in communities where many families live on less than USD$125 (AUD$185) per month. In the early years, good friends — many of whom Merrian and Patrick mentored personally — came alongside to support Agape Academy through through volunteering, donations, and mission trips.
In just a few years, the school grew from eighteen students to almost 100 students. The school also now offers pre-school, primary, and secondary education. Agape Academy also focuses on reducing the student-teacher ratio. In many public schools, it is typical to have one teacher for 50-80 students in a single class. In contrast, Agape Academy offers small classes, which in turn allows for better class monitoring and individual support for students; both in their academic and personal development.
The vision is to develop motivated, responsible life‐long learners; we aim to inspire and challenge young minds to achieve excellence, assume responsibility, and become caring and committed members of their community. In addition, Agape Academy provides training and counselling for parents to help them better support their children on their journey.
We now have a unique opportunity to not just continue the work we’ve already been doing through Agape Academy, but also to scale up and in turn allow more lives to be transformed. Our long-term goal is to build a new community center that also serves as a school building, and at some point for Merrian and Patrick to move into working full-time in the community they support.
We can’t do this alone, we need your support.
Your Help Means the World to Us
Your generous donation and support will bring hope and transformation to the lives of these marginalised children. We have already heard so many amazing testimonies from parents, children, youth, and teachers of their lives being transformed. We could not have done it without you, and we are so grateful for your generosity in helping us continue to do so.
Proud mother who has never gone to school herself! Her boy studied in the public school and was not able to learn how to read. She transferred him to Agape Academy. Now, with the free tutorials that our teacher offered he now knows how to read and gained back his confidence.
Merrian reconciled and restored relationship with her own father.