Thanks to the Carraresi Foundation, Moo Baan Dek has just completed
the new Kindergarten. The new building, which is was finished only
2 months ago, will be the perfect facility to for the growing number
of youngsters coming to Moo Baan Dek. Since Thailand's economic
crisis in 1997, Moo Baan Dek has seen a major influx of young children
who, due to poverty, can no longer be nourished and educated by
their parents. Our new facility will enable us to have five classes
of kindergarten kids. The Kindergarten will follow the teaching
methods taught by Montessori. As part of this project three of teachers
have been involved in Montessori training. Ai, who grew up at Moo
Baan Dek, spent the month of June studying at the Montessori School
in Phuket and is now one of the Kindergarten staff. Priaw, who also
grew up at Moo Baan Dek recently returned from studying at the Montessori
school in Australia. Moo Baan Dek has also had a Montessori educator
from Australia come to the school to work with these teachers.
Docks at the River-
The kids of
MBD send out a gigantic thankyou to John and Nina Cassils! The plans
have been drawn and the material is on its way. A sturdy dock, with
a slide and ropes to swing on is a dream come true for these little
monkeys here! Swimming at the river is an essential part of life
at the Children's Village. For washing clothes, for bathing, for
healing therapy and for just plain fun, the river is used numerous
times a day by all. The current dock we have is a great illustration
of the use it gets. The stairs are deadly, the dock itself is becoming
one with the river and when 4pm bathtime hits, the small dock is
as crowded as the street markets in Bangkok! The plan for the new
dock is similar to the dock we have, very simple and rustic. The
only changes will be in size and sturdiness, and of course the fun
stuff- a slide and some ropes. The project will be done by the carpentry
staff and students at Moo Baan Dek.
by our friends John and Nina Cassils from Vancouver, Canada, Moo
Baan Dek will soon start construction on a greatly needed infirmary.
With so many little ones jumping in and out of trees, running up
and down and all around- an infirmary is a badly needed facility!
It will be conveniently located beside the new Kindergarten and
in the center of the children's houses. We already have a substantial
amount of supplies, brought from Canada by John and Nina to stock
the infirmary with.
Oven In The Kitchen
are on the menu! Moo Baan Dek finally has an oven in the main kitchen.
This opens up many cooking possibilities. The best thing about the
oven is the healthy cooking opportunities it holds. Until now, frying
was the only answer. For the kids, the best thing about the oven
is the hot deserts that come out of it at snack time! Just wait
till I get my hands on some chocolate chips and whip up a batch
to Nature Home Project
In June the
carpentry staff and students, using only materials from the school,
built a beautiful traditional bamboo house. The house is located
in the garden, set back from the rest of the buildings. The project
goal, mothered by Da and Neke, is to intensify the 'living off the
land' and 'communal living' ideals of Moo Baan Dek. Whereas most
houses offer the privacy of a room to the house moms, in this new
project the moms sleep on the floor with the children. Claypots
are used to build cooking fires, and like all the houses, the garden
is used as the supermarket. A lot of effort is aimed at communication,
thinking and problem solving. The kids are, through active example,
encouraged to speak their minds and through communication, discover
ways to solve problems. Along with Neke, a 26 year old woman who
grew up at Moo Baan Dek, there are five children living in the garden
house. Three girls; Mhuy (8), Bellel (7), Nuan (9) and two boys;
Pii (6) and Witt (7).
We always have
many ideas for growth at Moo Baan Dek. Some small and simple projects
and some big investment projects.
A new van to
replace the truck we have now (which spends more time getting fixed
than on the road!)
the Batik workshop.
of our learning takes place in our "natural classrooms"
and vocational workshops, we do have a need for and a legal obligation
to provide a traditional
classroom setting. Right now MBD has two rooms which are used as
standard classrooms. These classrooms are dark and damp and hot.
We feel they are not conducive to learning. Our hope is to find
funding in order to remodel these classrooms. We would like to offer
our children a bright, cool, open learning environment. In the new
classrooms we would like to have both communal tables for group
learning, a reading area with pillows and mats as well as standards
single desks. Would like to equip the two new classrooms with multimedia
packages as well.
As part of our desire to live self-sufficiently, healthily and close
to nature, MBD hopes to create its own line of herbal products.
We believe this will benefit the school in a few areas. It will
help us investigate and promote and teach natural ways of living.
As well, it will offer the students a vocational skill which they
can further use as a carrier. We hope to sell these products firstly
at our own shop and then hopefully sell to other shops throughout
Thailand. Not only will this bring an income into Moo Baan Dek,
but will be used to teach the students how to make a product, package
and sell the product; to teach them how to use their skills as a
means of survival. We also believe it is important for the environment
as well as for our bodies, to use nontoxic, non-chemical products.
We would like to help by offering safe herbal products. We already
have a building which will be used as the workshop for this project.
Last week Yoshimi will teach the students how to make natural soap,
next month a few students will travel north to visit a woman's home
where they specialize in herbal shampoo and conditioner. We will
spend four days there, doing a workshop on making our own shampoo
and conditioner. Over the next few months the students will learn
to make natural detergent, insect repellent, lotion, soap and hair
products. We will also start a special herb garden outside the herbal
workshop to be used in our natural products.
THE EXPANSION OF OUR NATURAL CLASSROOM...
CHILDREN'S VILLAGE FARM
of our current farming project has inspired us to expand this natural
classroom. Our goal is, not only to feed our community, but also
to learn to create a farm from scratch. Clearing the land, making
fertilizer, creating an irrigation system, planting crops, harvesting
them, eating and selling; we want to do it all. Moo Baan Dek wishes
to purchase a four acre piece of land which lies only 15 kilometers
from the school. The property is surrounded by the river on two
sides, has never been farmed and is composed of rich black humus
soil. As we
wish to purchase, not rent, this land; the Children's Village Farm
will be a life long learning opportunity. All aspects of education
at Moo Baan Dek will be involved in the creation of the Children's
Village Farm. Not only will the
land be used for farming education, but all the vocational workshops
and academic courses will be involved. From the math class calculating
the plot sizes, to the social science class investigating the fertilizer.
From the ceramic students making pots to the woodworking students
building the fence. This project will create a multifaceted learning
opportunity, beneficial to our entire community.
At the Children's Village Farm we will build a Thai-style house
where students can live while investigating and working on the farm.
The house will provide a
meeting and discussion area as well as living quarters for student
groups working on different projects.
On the four acres we hope to produce rice, water-vegetables, and
fruit trees. The property is currently thick with trees and bush
and roots and will need to
be cleared. This will allow us to investigate which crops we should
grow where plant what we chose according to our findings. We hope
to be able to grow enough rice, fruit and vegetables to feed our
community of 200.
We will also build two mushroom houses in which the students will
learn to cultivate mushrooms. Mushrooms are a very difficult and
delicate crop to grow, but if successful, they can help the health
and the finances! Learning to cultivate mushrooms will be a wonderful
educational journey for us at Moo Baan Dek. We hope first to use
mushrooms in our daily cooking, and then hopefully as a means of
income for the project upkeep.
A fishpond will also be built at the Children's Village Farm. Not
only will we fish from the river, but our community wishes to learn
about farming our own fish. We will build the pond on the piece
of land, and from there start the process of raising fish.
Based on Buddhist
tenants, the school is an attempt to create a healthy community
for children where they are given love and care. There they learn
how to live close to nature and how to improve their self-organization.
The activities include natural farming, batik making, meditation.
At present there are eight children from Moo Baan Dek living at
Baan Suan Dek (Children's Garden Home).
Tor Fun (Dream Weaving Home)
emphasizes friendly relationships and interdependence between human
beings and the environment. The activities for students are focused
in the area of organic farming and medetation.The project, run by
Nat and his wife, houses 25 children. Most of the children are of
ethnic minority groups from the northern region of Kanchanaburi.
The Dream Weaving Home is situated in the mountainous jungle the
village of Songklburi. There is no electricity, running water or
communication lines. At Baan Tor Fun, they live as a self-dependant
law, parents who are frustrated with the quality of existing educational
institutions, are prohibited from teaching their children at home.
A number of families work around this rule by enrolling their children
Moo Baan Dek, but teaching them at home. By taking their examination
at Moo Baan Dek they can obtain legal certification. There are currently
over 30 children under such an arrangement.
Life Quality Enhancement Project
of Buddhist practice and vocational training is provided for poor
local children of a small village in the Northeast. Currently we
have ten children being taken care of through this project.
Spirit In Education Movement (SEM)
SEM was founded
by Sulak Sivaraska, recipient of the 1995 Right Livelihood Award,
as an alternative to mainstream education. It provides the general
public with courses on Buddhism, mediation, community building,
deep ecology and green politics. For higher education, MBD cooperates
with SEM to provide undergraduate education our staff and students.
This education is aimed at teaching one to love nature, the environment,
oneself and others. In turn these people can contribute in positive
ways to the communities in which they live. Through SEM seminars,
outschooling and inschooling, we hope to help our students and staff
to live more meaningful lives and to instill the confidence needed
to withstand consumerism.
Moon School Project
Moo Baan Dek
has set up a small school in Isaan to offer an alternative education
to the children living in a small village. The school is housed
in a small bamboo bungalow situated in a colorful makeshift villager.
The village was created over night, by 500 villagers who had lost
their own homes due to the building of the Pak Moon Dam. Their mainstay
of fishing and farming was destroyed and thus they became poor and
malnourished. The focus of the villagers in this makeshift village
(situated beside the dam), was to have to dam closed down. Mission
accomplished, they now remain in the village, once again fishing
and replanting. The new mission is to keep the dam closed. The school
which Moo Bad De has started is run by two girls who grew up at
Moo Bad De The education offered, in addition to mainstream academics,
is centered on the importance of the ecosystem, nature, their environment.
The hope is that through this education they will continue the fight
to keep the dam closed, and thus maintain their mainstay.
This is also
a mini-Moo Baan Dek. It is situated in the small Tribal Village
of Sob Rarn. The village is far out in the hills and not easily
accessible. Despite the isolation, it is apparent that many of the
children are losing their culture. At the government school they
are prohibited from wearing their tribal dress and from speaking
their own languages. Many of them, after finishing school, no longer
hold respect for their traditions. They often head to the cities
chasing the dreams they see in advertisements. The slums and go-go
bars are littered with young kids who have come to the city to find
a 'better life', only to find drugs, a teeming sex industry and
dirty living conditions. By building a small school in Sob Rarn,
the hope is to instill a love for their culture and a desire to
preserve the old way of life. The school relies heavily on the elders
of the community to share their wisdom and knowledge in such areas
as farming, handicrafts, herbal medicine and message. A plan for
the future is to expand the project to include a museum of tribal
culture run by the students. Here they will learn about and share
their heritage as well as offer an opportunity to sell their beautiful
based at Moo Baan Dek, offers vocational apprenticeship to students
in the feild of their choice. It also offers organic farming practice
to all students at Moo Baan Dek. The students participate in the
garden daily and they are rewarded everyday at meal time when they
can harvest and prepare fresh veggies from their own plots in the