Develop farming among the Karen people

In the heart of the mountains in west Thailand, the Karen minority survives, only just, by gathering and hunting. By establishing a farming school, the Enfants du Mékong (Children of the Mekong) association is looking to give this ethnic group the means to significantly improve their living conditions.

Social and Employment

Ponouaypou, Thailand

Pauline Danel

10,000 € to the Selection Committee at 2006/01/31
  Project leader Enfants du Mékong 1

The Karen minority (also found in Burma) live in the mountains in west Thailand, in the middle of dense jungle. Maltreated by the authorities, they are attempting to survive by gathering and hunting. However these two highly unreliable methods of subsistence are causing serious food deficiencies, especially among the children. Located in this region 100 kilometers from the nearest town, the Ponouaypou village has no farming activity to help it overcome this situation. It just has a primary school.
Highly involved in many initiatives involving groups in difficulty in South-East Asia, the Enfants du Mékong association wants to expand this school to add a agricultural school. Designed for young adults, mainly from the Karen minority, it would teach them various modern, environmentally friendly farming methods.

Leading to a diploma

By building a residence, 40 students from the mountains could come and learn the essential basics for creating local farming practices that would help overcome the food deficiencies that have been noted among these people. If they want, they could continue their studies and earn a diploma recognized by the Thai Ministry of Education. Supported by a missionary who has been living in Ponouaypou for many years and the European Institute for Cooperation and Development (IECD), the project leaders have signed an agreement with the Chiang Mai Royal College of Agriculture to create the courses and exams. The young graduates could look for qualified employment in the region of their choice.
To help finance the dormitories and sanitary blocks for the future boarders, the Veolia foundation has decided to make a 10,000-euro grant to Enfants du Mékong.