Silvia, KHT’s Fundraising Manager, has been visiting Mae Hong Son and our projects over the last few weeks. She took a long and bumpy ride to Sao Hin, and to some of the most remote villages KHT has supported.
“On our last trip to the villages we drove really far and deep into the forest. After more than 100km from our offices we reached some of the most remote villages we have provided projects for. Our gravity-fed clean water systems and Flood Resistant Irrigation Systems (FRIS) have provided vital improvements in health and income for these villages. Previously there would be no water available in the dry seasons, but with KHT’s system, water is available all year. Our FRIS has also improve crop diversity and mitigated the impact of flooding and drought on crops.
All the villages in this district are struggling with poverty and suffer from isolation, marginalisation and underdevelopment. Part of the reason for these struggles is caused by their geographical position, the topographical conditions and environmental circumstances that characterise this remote area very close to the Thai-Myanmar border. Villages are completely surrounded by the forest for and it is increasingly hard for them to find enough plots of land to cultivate. It’s also very difficult to move between other bigger villages due to the lack of roads and means of transport. Daily life is marked by very simple activities, dictated by the need to survive and bring livelihood to the whole village.
One village in particular caught my attention: Ban Huin Dua, in Sao Hin sub-district, 4 kilometers from the border with Myanmar. A few years ago KHT built a new gravity-fed clean water system in collaboration with the villagers to help them get drinking water and toilets for all households. This intervention has definitely improved the life conditions of the villagers and has brought to long term positive impact regarding health and hygiene conditions.
During the trip we talked to a lot of people and checked the condition of the systems and facilities we’ve built in the past, to understand if some extensions or maintenance are needed but it’s here, in Ban Huin Dua, that I have met two of the most beautiful ladies I could ever meet.
Nor Su was 102 years old, an amazing map of wrinkles and experience lined her face, her beautiful eyes almost disappearing when she smiled in a way I will always remember. She’s lived in this area all her life, dedicating herself to cultivating rice and other crops for her family and the other villagers’ livelihood. She’s also helped with the construction of Ban Huin Dua, 60 years ago!
I also met Pim, who was just 20 years old. We met Pim in her house, while she was weaving colourful Karen clothes with a Tha Tha, a special Karen manual loom made of wood and bamboo sticks. Every day Pim sits on the floor, in the house where she lives with her parents and siblings, for hours, to produce clothes and bags for the whole community. However, this is not her dream: with a beautiful smile on her face she told us she would like to go to university and become a nurse, to be able to do something useful and help her village too.
My visit to these villages has shown me the value of KHT’s work, the value of supporting the Karen to continue their way of life whilst also improving their well-being and opportunities.”
You can help us continue to support remote and isolated communities by donating today!