Neo-Humanist Foundation Thailand
In Thailand, the AMURT and AMURTEL projects are carried out under the umbrella of the Neohumanist Foundation, with three main projects:
– Baan Unrak Children’s Home (link : www.baanunrak.org )
– Baan Unrak School (link: www.baanunrakschool.com )
– Baan Dada (link : www.baandada.org )
Sangkhlaburi is located in the northwestern part of Thailand, along the border with Myanmar (Burma).
As part of a hydroelectric project, a large part of this region was dammed up in 1982 to create a huge man-made lake. This took away the traditional land and agricultural livelihood of a significant proportion of the region’s population. Although tourism is flourishing in this part of Thailand, many of the local people suffer from poverty and disease.
A large number of refugees from Myanmar (Burma) fleeing war and persecution in their own country have settled in this part of Thailand. Sangkhlaburi district is home to a diverse population of about 45,000 people. The larger part of the population is stateless, without nationality or proper human rights. These problems lead to separation in families, common diseases such as AIDS, malaria, typhoid and cancer and a general lack of education and belonging.
As a result, a significant percentage of the population is unable to care for their children and is forced to abandon them. In many cases the head of the household goes in search of work in Bangkok and never returns, which leaves the woman to take care of herself and her family by herself.
Baan Unrak Children’s Home, Sangkhlaburi, Thailand
It is against this backdrop that Didi Devamala decided to do something to help the poor children and mothers in the area. Baan Unrak means House of Joy in the Thai language. Starting with a single baby in 1991, Baan Unrak is now home to about 140 children as well as a number of abandoned mothers. The home provides food and shelter for children and aims to give them a better future.
Didi Anuraga joined Didi Devamala and started to focus on the children’s education because they could not fit in well with the local Thai schools. Baan Unrak provides educational and emotional support, so that these children can grow and develop into emotionally stable, confident, responsible and loving adults.
The home school developed into the Baan Unrak Primary School(registered in 2005) and beyond. Today it has more than 200 children from kindergarten to secondary school. . Baan Unrak School receives a small amount of government funding, but this can be unreliable when there is political turmoil. Most of its money and resources come from donations and sponsors.
Baan Unrak School, Sangkhlaburi, Thailand
Many of the children are children of Burmese refugees with harrowing experiences of escaping from their home country and finding themselves unwelcome in their new country. On top of psychological trauma, they also have to learn a new language.
Didi Anuraga joined Didi Devamala and started to focus on the children’s education because they could not fit in well with the local Thai schools. Slowly, the school developed into the Baan Unrak School. Today it has more than 200 children from kindergarten to secondary school.
Baan Unrak School Goals:
- For students to realize their true potential and become self-reliant
- To give hope to the children for a better future for themselves as well as their community as they become active citizens
Neo-Humanist Education emphasizes both academic and spiritual development. With this approach, Baan Unrak School provides physical and mental nourishment through:
- Individual care and support
- Hands-on research projects that foster creativity
- An accredited academic curriculum with a strong English emphasis
- Encouragement of self-discovery and understanding of others
- Focus on moral integrity and community service
Baan Dada Children’s Home and Community Services is a project of the Neohumanist Foundation and is located near the Thailand / Burma (Myanmar) border. Baan means “house” in Thai and Dada is Sanskrit for “brother”. Baan Dada supports 61 disadvantaged children: 47 currently live at Baan Dada and either study, work or are too young to attend school, three are supported by Baan Dada in their studies but do not live at the Home, while 11 children live away from the home to attend university.
Dada Ramakrishna (in pink), and Dada Prashanta (in brown top) lead the Baan Children’s Home & Community Services. Their main objective is to empower the children through education, both formal and non-formal. They are encouraged and taught many subjects, including music, handicraft, art, language and technical skills. The children are taught to practise vegetarianism and respect all people, creatures and religions, based on the Neohumanist philosophy, “love for all created beings in this world”.