Co-creating a community space Mae Hong Son province, thailand

PROJECT OVERVIEW: ‘Co-creating an education and community space with Karen people’ is a collaboration between Toys for Thailand Foundation, Integrated Field Co., Ltd., and Jai Jai Group. Since August 2016, the team has been working closely with the local community to design and construct a new hub for people of all ages. The two-story building will consist of a multi-functional space suitable for hosting meetings, workshops, and other local activities. The first floor will host storage and a teacher’s room, while a library and an IT zone will be located on the second floor. This will be a new meeting place and learning space where everyone can come together, relax after work, engage in activities (e.g. playing sports, drinking tea, planting fruit and vegetables), as well as exchange and acquire new knowledge and skills. Most importantly, the project aims to transfer the practical knowledge of constructing an earthen structure to the community. Using earth instead of wood for construction does not only reduce the number of trees that will be cut down, but also lowers the risk of house fires during the winter season when the weather is extremely cold and dry.

CATEGORY: Civil Society SETTING: Rural STATUS: On-going

BY: Jai Jai Group

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: The team has engaged the local community in every step of the process from creating a design brief to constructing the new building. They participated in a series of workshops to discuss their needs, provide insights and give feedback on the design. Then, together we planned the construction phase, assigned role and responsibility for each person. During the construction phase, the local community has been the major source of manpower. They have been working hand in hand with us and earth structure experts from Punpun, Center for self-reliance, as well as several volunteers from across the country. To date, the earthen construction for the first floor is finished. In the next phase, we will be working with the local community to develop weaved bamboo panels for the second floor.

PARTNERS: We (Jai Jai Group and Integrated Field Co., Ltd.) have been working with various partners including local schools, professionals, volunteers, and private organizations. The director of the local public school helps us facilitate the project and connect with the local community. Earth structure experts from Punpun, hosted two 5-day workshops on how to construct an earth structure. In terms of funding, we have received donations from Toys for Thailand Foundation, and collaborated on the ‘Pay it forward’ graduation charity campaign with graduates from Master’s Degree Program in Marketing, Thammasat University (MIM28). Another aim of our project is to create a sustainable source of income for the Karen people. In order to do so, we worked with two textile designers (Ms. Khanittha Nualtaranee and Ms. Sarin Tasnathepgamol) to design products from pieces of textile that were produced by Karen women. Then, we partnered with staff from Bank of Ayudhya in producing and selling the products.