Children’s Project aids Baan Mae Tob Nuea School’s renovation efforts
Karen hill tribe in Thailand
Elephant Hills Children’s Project helps rural schools in Khao Sok area, as well as in the mountainous Northern Thailand. As many of our visitors know, the mahouts or elephant handlers at Elephant Hills are part of the Karen hill tribe. Our mahouts are originally from Mae Hong Son, Tak or Chiang Mai, the provinces where a majority of Thailand’s about 400,000 Karen people live, dwelling in the mountains near the Thai Myanmar border.
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Through our mahouts we have a close connection to Mae Hong Son province and especially a town called Mae Sariang, located in a valley, nearly four hours’ drive from the city of Chiang Mai across the mountains. Within our Children’s Project we have been supporting the rural schools of Mae Sariang for several years, one of them being Baan Mae Tob Nuea School. Our previous donation consisted mainly of stationery, kids’ books and toys, and warm clothes donated by our guests visiting Elephant Hills.
Like in many rural schools, the teachers and students in this school are very handy and keen to improve and renovate their facilities but despite applying, often won’t be granted sufficient budget to cover the costs. This time teachers had specifically requested for paints so they could keep maintaining the playground equipment we donated five years ago. Furthermore, some indoor paint, rollers and brushes were also needed to refurbish the classroom walls.
In addition to the renovation equipment, we had also packed a good variation of colorful stationery that our guests have generously brought along with their luggage when visiting our resorts. Many of our visitors are very keen to help the less privileged Thai children, and “pack with a purpose” list provides a great way to participate in our Children’s Project. Once again, the thoughtfully selected coloring books, crayons, pencils and educational toys managed to bring smiles on the faces of rural children.
Dormitory needed to accommodate Karen children
After handing out the donations to the grateful students and teachers, we had a chat with the headmistress about the school’s situation. It turns out there is an on-going surge in numbers of Karen children in need of dormitory placement in the area, due to the increased clashes between the ethnic groups and Myanmar military near the border. In the past this school hasn’t needed its own permanent student accommodation and has shared a dormitory with the neighboring Baan Mae Tob Tai School instead.
This situation has changed since our previous visit and currently Baan Mae Tob Nuea School must use a couple of former classrooms in an old building as dormitories for 20 students. We were taken to see the girls’ dormitory, as the teachers wanted to share with us the state of the floor that had gaping holes in it as the old wood had rotten and fallen off on several spots. We quickly assessed the situation with help from a couple of teachers with woodwork experience, and decided we can’t leave without helping to fix the potentially dangerous floor.
After determining the correct specs, we headed back to the town to buy wood that can be used for long-term renovation of the floor. Just a couple of hours after taking the wood to the school we started receiving photos from the teachers who had successfully fixed and replaced all the rotten areas and were clearly overjoyed and proud of their accomplishment. This made the day for our Elephant Hills projects team as well, and we can rest assured that the children now have a safe and comfortable place to stay during the school terms.
If you or your company would like to co-operate with Elephant Hills Children’s Project, please contact us for more information at [email protected].