What, Who, Where and How to Get There
Introduction to Moo Baan Dek
Founded in 1979, Moo Baan Dek, or Children's Village School was located on Kwae Noi River (the River Kwai); Tasao Sub-district, Sai Yoke District, Kanchanaburi. It moved to the present location on the bank of Kwae Yai River, Wangdong Sub-district, Muang, Kanchanaburi in 1985. The 80 acres (app. 32 ha) of land was donated by Chinda Iam-Chamriang Foundation, and the construction of initial buildings was funded by Foundation for Children.
Model of Alternative Education
Registered with the Ministry of Education of Thailand, the school provides education from kindergarten through to sixth grade. The pupils here are mostly orphans and children from poor or broken families, ranging from 3 to 20 years old. After sixth grade, the children are encouraged and are supported to pursue high school education with the Informal Education Program of the Ministry of Education, which makes them eligible to take the entrance examinations to study in universities. Apart from this, under the Latya Garden Home Project, students over grade 6
are also provided with vocational and artistic workshops which trains their technical skills, i.e. ceramic molding, batik and dressmaking, weaving, electronics, etc.
After graduation, Moo Baan Dek students go on to do various types of work such as in advertising or furniture companies. Some of them even start their own businesses. Students who wish to pursue higher education in universities have to save up to pay the tuition fees during their stay at Moo Baan Dek. This can be from the sales of woodwork and other artwork that they sell to visitors.
Moo Baan Dek is a project under the Foundation for Children, a registered non-profit Thai organization. Children here are provided with free education and accommodation. The costs are entirely covered by donations -- 80-90% of which come from within Thailand, whereas funds for specific projects or buildings come primarily from overseas. Donors include organizations such as UNESCO, Partage Foundation (France), CCFD (France), as well as Thai residents in Europe and America.
However, due to the lukewarm atmosphere of the Thai economy, the amount of donations have been dwindling and hence it is getting harder to rely solely on donations. Therefore, the school seeks other ways of monetary support by selling the vegetables grown from the farm, or artwork from the batik, weaving, and woodwork workshops to visitors.
Location of Moo Baan Dek
You can take the bus service to Moo Baan Dek.
First, ask the taxi to bring you to the New Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai), where there is a bus leaving for Kanchanaburi every quarter or 20 minutes daily from early morning until 2230 hours. It takes at most two hours to get there. From the bus terminal in Kanchanburi, take the Erawan bus and ask them to drop you at the entrance of our school-- this takes about an hour, even though the distance is only 40 Kilometers. The bus ride costs 20 baht. Otherwise, you can hire a van from the Kanchanaburi terminal, which costs no more than 250 baht and takes half an hour to arrive at the School. Most of the drivers know Moo Baan Dek. It even appears in the map of the Tourism Authority of Thailand!
Alternatively, you can take the train. The train is least recommended as it takes almost twice the time (approximately four hours) and there are only two trains from Bangkok to the town of Kanchanaburi-- one in early morning and another after noon time.