Add Natural Colour to the Children’s Future
Ban Plabu, Amphoe Wapi Pathum, Maha Sarakham
Family defines who we are and a strong family bond is important in developing children’s behaviour, mindset, and emotional competence.
Ban Plabu is a small community in northeasternThailand where the majority of the villagers are rice farmers. Born and raised at Ban Plabu, Theerada Namhai obtained a master’s degreefrom abroad and returned with her heart set on making a difference to her hometown. Theerada’s ultimate goal is to make the children in the village realise that there is nothing to be shy about coming from a farmer’sfamily and that they should be proud of this extraordinary cultural heritage.
Theerada founded theThai Baan Association and established theFarmer Community School to be a centre for the children of the farmers to learn the importance of farming, their own culture and traditions, as well as acquire life skills that will be useful in the future. The Farmer Community School runs concurrently with the local schools, and the students from each school take turn to come to enjoy English lessons and other activities at the Farmer Community School on a regular basis. The Thai Baan Association also formed thePlaboo Tie-Dye Group to provide farmers with the opportunity to work and earn income at home,so they can stay close to their children instead of having to take jobs far away when it is not therice farming season.
Children are like a clean sheet of white cloth, soit is up to the adults to ascertain the colours and therefore the parents and other adults play an important role in influencing the child’s future. Whether it is teaching and learning through hands-on experiencesat the FarmerCommunity School, or helping with the rice farming activities or tie-dye fabrics making, visitors will sure help make the family bond stronger and leavebeautifuland natural colours ontothe children’s life.
ABOUT Tie-Dye Fabrics
A remarkable local wisdom that has been passed on for many generations, thetie-dye technique illustrates a clever use of natural resources in creating a beautiful pattern on fabric. The tie-dying process starts with collectingcotton yarns from local farmers and weaving them on a traditional wooden loom into a sheet of fabric. Then hand-tie the fabric with small pieces of bamboo pin into achosen pattern. This is an important and fun part as new designs and patterns are created in accordance to the creativity and experience. The tied fabrics are then dyed by boiling them in a solution of natural dyes; such as, leaves, husks, and kernels. Once the dying process is complete, untie the fabric to reveal the impressive pattern. The sheets are then hung to dry, ironed, and sewninto several kinds of final products; such as, shirts, bags, and shawls.
Teach English to the Children
Volunteers conduct English lessons to teach English to the children, and spendtime engaging in the various nature-based activities ranging from planting trees to basic farming, and learning the art of tie-dye. This way of teaching allows the children to acquire the life skills at the same time as learning English, while the volunteers get to learn about the local culture.
Remark: Apart from teaching at the Farmer Community School, volunteers may also be asked to help teachEnglish at the nearby local schools.
Join in the Rice Farming Activities
Rice farming is the main occupation of the people at Ban Plabu, and volunteers can lend their hands to help in the rice farming activities. This activity is also a great opportunity for the volunteers to spend time interacting with the local farmers as well as the children who also come to help their parents.
Remark: The rice-growingseason is from June to July, and therice-harvesting season is from November to December.
Make Tie-Dye Products
All the tie-dye products are handmade from natural resources, making each of them unique and valuable. Volunteers can learn how to make these unique products and help the locals producethem. Those with adesign background can even help the locals in creating new designs and patterns for the products.
Remark: Tie-dye products are made only in January to May and September, which is when farmers are not growing or harvesting rice.
Exchange Cultures and Teach English to the Adults
TheThai Baan Association not only aims to teach English to the children, but also encourages the adults within the community to learn English. TheTin Thai Coffee Shop was set up to serve as a community centre, where the locals and volunteers can enjoy a good cup of coffee and exchange cultures in anEnglish-speaking atmosphere. Volunteers also help out in the coffee shop by teaching English courses to the interested groups of people in the area.