Past Building Projects In Thailand
Improvements to Center for Children in Need, Mae Sot, Tak – Spring, 2010
Starting in May, 2010, design and building work began at the Center for Children in Need (CCN) located in Mae Sot, Tak province near the Thai-Burmese border. The home already had a large roofed area that was previously a barn and we made some major changes to turn it into livable space. A concrete floor was poured in May and Burmese migrant workers were hired to make bricks for the wall construction which took place in June. Volunteers and hired builders worked together to wall of an area for goats, install multiple walls, doors and windows to create new bedrooms and kitchen, and we tried out first experiment with poured adobe floors. A bathroom was also built with a composting toilet installed in July. A fence continues to be built around the property.
Generous funding for this project was provided by volunteers and Club Canada Thailand.
Special thanks to Matt, Nat, Maureen, Louise, Matt, Sophia, Willa, Puwasa, Paeng, and Pop for their voluntary work in the hot sun!
Baan Luuk Rak Library, Khon Kaen – November, 2009
This year we waited out a long and protracted rainy season to begin our building season in October. After plans to build a library at another home were undermined by a royal donation (of a complete library!), the staff at Baan Luuk Rak in Khon Kaen asked if the DCF could build there instead. The home which has been active for over 10 years and currently provides support to more than 40 children is a project of the Child Help Foundation in Thailand.
Dragonfly was asked to turn an empty and unused plot on the home’s land into a library and fun learning space and by July, intern Elena Martinez de la Varga had created a design for a 6m x 8m hall to do just that. October saw countless Khon Kaen locals (mostly university and technical college students) donate time on the weekends to slopping around in mud pits until we had amassed an amazing 2000 bricks! The land was also built up and sadly the water buffalo lost its wallow.
In November our building volunteers arrived and began the 18-day building work, starting with plotting out and digging foundation trenches, pouring a concrete foundation, building up the walls with windows and doors incorporated, and designing and building in bench seating. A special feature was a wall section built out of old glass bottles, which took a lot of effort to create.
In December and January, after the main volunteer team had left, roof construction took place, as well plastering and painting walls, building seating and shelving, wiring electricity, setting in doors and windows, and outside landscaping. This work was aided by innumerable visitors and volunteers to the home, most of whom are local high school students. The library was officially opened in February, decorated with mobiles and paintings made by the children and volunteers.
Unlimited thanks to the main builders: Adam Edholm, Ben Taylor, Mari Mcleod, Charlotte Simpson, and Tomoko Fukuwarai. Additional assistance came from Tipawan Chansri-ngam, Michael Hoffbauer, Jarrod Roberts and students of St. Stephen’s International School, Cheyen Dijck, Sofia Bravo, Nanda de Smit, Ot + Oat, Siobhain McDonnell, Hannah Gassman, Kim Tjarks, Martin Walsh, Nienke van Os, Garrett McDaniel, Ana Antonetti, Graham Bigmore, and most of all the kids and staff of Baan Luuk Rak.
This build was powered by donations from the following people and groups:
Aj. Nipa Sonsa-ardjit
Mark & Michelle Kempe
Hughie + Carol Gallogley
Siobhain Mcdonnell, Maureen Green, Andrea Twibill, Cecilia Wan, Debbie Drewsen, and Diane Burnett and ProCare Personnel
Dom + Katie Holmes
Kevin & Cynthia Hocking
Berni + Ken Hart
Jed & Mary-Anne Kelly
Sebastien Brusseau & Isaan Lawyers
Staff and students of Uttaradit Rajabhat University
Gordon Bailey & Tokyo Stars and Stripes
Baan Saan Rak, Chiang Rai – April, 2009
Following on the heels of another great Songkran (Thai New Year) festival, Dragonfly’s team of hardy volunteers met in Chiang Rai to build a mud-brick building at Baan Saan Rak, or the Home Woven of Love. Kru Jit, the founder of the home, supports disadvantaged children by providing them with a happy and healthy place to stay, education through secondary school, and some vocational training.
Dragonfly was asked to build a 2-room house to be used for visitor accommodation and play / study space for the site, and we were happy to oblige! For the last 2 weeks in April, 2009, our team of 6 volunteers , 1 intern, and 2 staff made bricks, poured a foundation, built walls, plastered and decorated the building, poured the floor, and built the structure for a mud roof. We had help from a great group of local high school students and most of the home’s children joined in as well, though they ended up starting more mud fights than may have been necessary.
Due to early rains that year, the building had to be left with a temporary tent roof to protect it over the rainy season.
After a long and entrenched rainy season, and following the completion of our Khon Kaen library build, we returned to the Chiang Rai site to find the building had weathered the deluge without ill effect. We spent a few weekends roping Teaching and Orphanage Carework volunteers into helping with the building work. We finished covering the roof inside and out with mud, had the roof plastered with cement and then painted, and got all of the kids involved painting every last mud covered surface with tapioca-based earth paint.
In the coming school season, the building will be used to house volunteers and some of the older children, freeing up dorm rooms for new children to move to the home.
Countless thanks to the volunteer team: Sam Chernanko, Aimee Bronstein, Nicole Sawdaye, Sabrina Naqvi, Elena Martinez de la Varga, Louise Thust and James Cressey
Special thanks to Tipawan Chansri-ngam, Jaruwat Jaimoon and friends, Dominick Stephenson, Marjaana and Johanna Haljala, and the staff and children who are Baan Saan Rak!
Whispering Seed Bridge, Sangkhlaburi – November, 2007
Whispering Seed is a community center and children’s home located way up in the forested border regions of Thailand’s Western frontier. The project is home to Burmese, Mon, and Karen children in need of a safe, nurturing learning and living environment, and is surrounded by Karen villages whose inhabitants work with the center to share knowledge and skills.
In November 2007, our team of 5 intrepid volunteers and 2 Dragonfly staff members traveled to Sangkhlaburi to join a large construction project – to bridge the river from the village of Wiyakadee to the Whispering Seed farm on the opposite side. The year before a major flood destroyed previous bridges and eroded riverbanks, making rainy season access to the site nearly impossible.
Led by W.S. staff and a team of engineers from the UK charity Architects for Aid (A4A), our volunteers worked tirelessly to clear the building site of vegetation and debris, clear and repair a kilometer-long access road, drive wooden piles (by hand!) into the riverbed, and helped to begin the construction of the wooden bridge’s truss system. In our free time (ha!), we also made hundreds of mud bricks and built walls at another orphanage, plastered and repaired mud buildings on site, made a vegetable garden, taught English lessons, and performed in a play!
The bridge construction will continue with skilled labour under guidance of the engineers, so our work, as they say, is done. Thanks to all who made valuable contributions to this great project!
BIG THANKS to the Volunteer Team: John Rick, Jessica Stride, Maria Kovacs, Renee Clarkson, Lina Pohl and Mario. Unlimited thanks to Jim, Nao, Som Ya Moo, and all the children of Whispering Seed for making our stay bright and happy.