Outreach and Relief
Desperate poverty, combined with a lack of rights and opportunities for migrant children and families, creates an environment of extreme hardship.
Baan Unrak brings food and basic supplies, medical assistance, counseling and legal advise to the most needy people along the Thai-Myanmar border.
We help the most vulnerable in our community: men and women who are too old to work, disabled, widowed or left alone with little children.
We do Outreach and Relief expeditions every month.
The Beginning of Our Relief Efforts
"When I reached there,
an ocean of humanity was waiting for me..."
In 1990, when Didi arrived in Sangkhlaburi, a remote township in Thailand near the Myanmar border, she witnessed immense pain and suffering.
Many people had lost their homes and land to the water, following the construction of the Khao Laem Dam – completed in 1984 – which flooded a great portion of land, creating an enormous 390 square kilometers reservoir.
At the same time in Myanmar, the Karen people were escaping genocide and torture at the hands of the Burmese armed forces. They were fleeing into the jungle and across the border to Thailand.
Didi began outreach and relief efforts for these refugees:
"To reach them, to help them, I had to travel sometime by elephant, sometime by boat, I had to cross many bamboo bridges… and when I reached them, an ocean of humanity was waiting for me. Desperate. Only with the clothes they were wearing. They had to run away overnight, fearing for their lives."
Didi went over and back to Bangkok, collecting all that she could: food, blankets, medicine, shampoo, soap...
"Often times, an offering of rice and baby food could mean the difference between life and death for the most impoverished families."
Back to the Present
Monthly relief is now lead by grown-up children of the home, who are members of the local community.
Our basic monthly relief includes bringing food and basic supplies for health and hygiene.
Occasionally we lead extraordinary relief expeditions, as the ones to install solar home panels and cleaning water systems in impoverished rural areas.
In times of catastrophe, such as the flooding in Myanmar, the destruction of a village from a fire, we also try our best to help.
Our Children's Involvement
When safe and appropriate, we involve the younger children in the outreach and relief activities as a part of their education. Our aim is to instill in them the spirit of selfless service.
Some of our children have a direct connection with the people we help in our relief expeditions.
We feel that it is very important for our children to maintain the bond with their roots.