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School-Based Human Rights and Poverty Eradication Project

Schools in the rural areas of developing countries are in reality the focal point of life and hope.  But they are underutilized in our development endeavors to improve the quality of life. In rural Thailand we have witnessed a tremendous willingness of parents and students to seriously help their own communities.

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The joint project “School-Based Human Rights and Poverty Eradication Project” between PHT and operated by the Mechai Bamboo School and the Population and Development International (PDI) has been pilot tested in 12 rural schools in Thailand and many more schools in poor rural areas have requested to participate. As poverty is a major factor contributing to denial of human rights and source of human trafficking it is proposed that we tackle both in and integrated system.

The Bamboo school is where the pupils are happy and can fulfill their potential,  adapted to its local environment and current technology. This school develops the complete individual - instilling individual morality, preserving community tradition, and promoting good citizenship. 

Thai education has generally concentrated on literacy and numerical skills, with little emphasis on new ideas and creativity skills. The Mechai Pattana School intends to change this situation for poor, rural students. 

The Bamboo school strives towards getting its pupils to perform at their full potential by focusing on developing the complete individual. The lessons at the school are focused on enabling students to analyze and create.

The Bamboo School also serves as:
  • A life-long learning center for the entire community; where everyone is welcome to use the school to improve their agricultural, business, and general vocational skills.
  • A hub for economic and social advancement; where micro-credit funding is available for families within the school community.
  • A teacher training facility; where teachers from rural areas can come to improve their teaching skills.
  • We seek support to expand this project in Northeast Thailand. The project aims to reduce and eradicate poverty among poor families whose children attend the selected schools.  As poverty is a major factor contributing to denial of human rights and source of human trafficking it is proposed that we tackle both in and integrated system.

    Activities will be carried out through the school with the cooperation and participation of teachers, parents, community members as well as students. Community participation and needs assessment will be the first activity, followed by training activities to raise income and the promotion and education of human rights.  Students of the selected schools will play an important part in promoting both the issues of poverty eradication and human rights as well as human trafficking in their communities.

    A “Poverty Eradication Farm” will be established on the school grounds as a demonstration and training plot. The space required for this purpose is equivalent to one third of an acre or approximately three tennis courts and will produce a handsome income for the school.  Poor parents will learn this new approach to low cost, intensive agriculture and will themselves start a smaller plot at home.   Past results have produced attractive returns both for the school as well as villagers.

    Summary of project budget

    Target beneficiaries: 100 poor families per school at a cost of US$ 400 per family. This amount will cover the school poverty eradication farm, the school microcredit loan fund and training and extension activities for human rights and income generation

    To provide assistance to the 100 families at US$ 400 per family, each school would require US$ 40,000. This total would be allocated as follows:

    Investment in farm                              US$ 15,000

    Microcredit fund                                 US$ 15,000

    Training and extension activities         US$ 10,000

    TOTAL                                                               US$ 40,000

    From the budget of US$40,000, three quarters (75%) will remain as part of the poverty eradication farm and the microcredit fund. A quarter (25%) of the financial allocation will be spent for training and extension activities.

    The project would be implemented in Northeast Thailand which covers one third of the country and is the poorest region.