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Thailand: Baan Unrak Childrens Home & School

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Baan Unrak Childrens Home and Weaving Centre

Introduction

THE CHILDRENS HOME
Baan Unrak children home was founded in 1991 when Didi Ananda Devamala, volunteering in Sangklaburi on an agricultural project, was given a child with nowhere else to go. 18 years later, we have over 130 children for whom we are responsible and we support several abandoned mothers.

Happy kids Girl eating chocolate cake

THE PRIMARY SCHOOL
Survival training

In 1998 Baan Unrak started an education center for children and women run according the principles of Neo-Humanist Education. It was relatively informal but grew in popularity, so we had to fundraise for new buildings.

Baan Unrak primary school building and office

In 2005 we completed building the new school buildings and we opened our private school for children in grades 1 through 6. In addition, we opened a nursery school and a kindergarten for children ages 2 to 6. Dozens of children from the local community have enrolled in our school in addition to the children from the home.

Now, the school has 250 students, 15 teachers and 6 assistants. For more details on our project,click here

Environment:

Baan Unrak is located in Sangkhlaburi, in the Kanchanaburi province in western Thailand. It's a remote area, near the rainforest, where tourists like to ride elephants and have trips into the jungle. Because of its peacefulness, and beautiful environment (mountains, lakes and waterfalls), the local tourist industry is expanding.

However, Sangkhlaburi is also ravaged by poverty and disease. In 1988, the government built a dam on the lake to bring electricity to Bangkok. This caused flooding so the local community faced relocation and lost their jobs.

House Boats on the lake in Sangkhlaburi

Sangkhlaburi is a border village. It is only 22 kilometers away from the Three Pagoda Pass which marks the border between Thailand and Burma.

Thai/Myanmar border. Three Pagoda Pass

The border is quite porous, so it is easy to come into Thailand. After arriving, most of the migrants are kept in the border area as they cannot travel due to their illegal status. An influx of refugees and immigrants, fleeing war and slavery in Burma, has added to the region's economic problems, including high unemployment statistics.

Most of the refugees in Sanklaburi area are from the Mon and Karen States which are targeted by the military’s terror campaign led by the Burmese government. According to UNHCR, half of the displaced people are children, and 15% are under five years old.

Management:

Didi A. Devamala

Didi Ananda Devala (above) is the project director of the children's home.

She is assisted in her communications by Anne-Cecile who is the current volunteer coordinator residing at Baan Unrak.

Didi A. AnuragaDidi Ananda Anuraga (left) is project director of the school.

They will communicate with the volunteers. They are a very friendly, warm and hospitable. They speak very good English and will make you feel at home right away. They are also open to change and new ideas as far as the management of their project is concerned.

Our Philosophy:

The Neo-Humanist philosophy is the guiding principle of our project. Stated simply, we believe that we should love and care for all beings in the universe.

To provide a foundation for the mental, physical and spiritual development of our students, we practice yoga and meditation on a daily basis.

Yoga show

In addition, the curriculum is taught in a way that incorporates movement, creative arts, and the usual academic subjects, in order to nurture the whole child.

Art class on cave people
Students learn how to manage their emotions. Moral and ethical understanding is integrated into our curriculum through story telling, individual guidance, counseling and positive reinforcement.

Girl reading

We teach the students about kindness and living in harmony with all forms of life from the smallest beings to the largest forms of life. We seek to instill the values of service, helpfulness and concern towards others.

Who do we need?

Both males and females are welcomed. Those willing to stay in the home should be highly motivated to work with the children. You must present a good, moral character and respect the local culture.

Volunteer teaching Grade 5 class

Your job as a volunteer

Volunteers can help in any of the following areas:
• Training a disabled girl.
• Fundraising
• Teaching English
• Drawings or paintings.
•Art, Handicrafts, Fashion design for weaving centre.
• Gardening,Animal care.
• Songs, teaching musical instruments
• Social work
• Computer and web site maintenance
• Sustainable farming

Volunteer in playground

Accommodation:

Three vegetarian meals are provided daily and a room to sleep. A volunteer must eat only vegetarian food while voluntering with us and must not smoke, drink or use any kind of drugs.
Volunteer accomodation at the bakery

Under 4 weeks
US $200/week
4 weeks
US$800
Subsequent weeks / months Free


If a volunteer stays longer than 6 months the whole period is for free and longer than a year there is salary according to local rates.

Primary 1 students

Baan Unrak Primary school

Kindergarten building

 

We are awaiting feedback from volunteers now. Many international volunteers have visited this project over the last years, but it is relatively new on the Kids Worldwide site.

Volunteer Vacanices

8 Volunteers at the Childrens Home (4 females / 4 males). 2 Volunteers at the school.

© KIDS Worldwide    Last Updated: 19-Sep-2011