Literally translated, Baan Unrak means House of Joy, which also serves as the very fitting name of a Sangkhlaburi, West Thailand based NGO that deals with strife on a daily basis. Baan Unrak functions on the border of Burma and is committed to housing and educating abandoned children and single mothers.
Many residents on the Burmese border are refugees fleeing war, poverty or forced labour in Burma. Once they arrive in Thailand, most refugees are restricted to a tiny region around the border, where many suffer from unemployment and discrimination. Many are prevented from accessing social services because they lack legal documentation, making them ineligible to receive access to medical treatment or public education.
Whilst that may sound terrible on the face of things, there is cause for optimism, since Baan Unrak has adopted a refreshingly different approach as it seeks to deal with the trauma commonly experienced by the residents of this remote border region. Baan Unrak is both non-profit and non-religiously affiliated. The organisation has a neo-humanist ideology, simply believing that all humanity must be respected, whilst at the same time adopting a holistic ecological philosophy.
Baan Unrak provides impoverished residents living on the Burmese-Thai border with meticulously planned nutritionally-balanced vegetarian meals. The organisation also provides children with art, dance and music classes, teaching them to use these forms to express themselves, whilst incorporating both meditation and yoga into their daily routine.
The newest development at the Baan Unrak Village is the addition of the weaving and sewing centre, a project designed to provide training and job opportunities for women in the Sangkhlaburi region, helping them build a viable career whilst also caring for their children.
Baan Unrak Weaving produces fabrics, clothing and accessories that are entirely hand woven, environmentally friendly and completely vegan. Workers use traditional Burmese and Thai techniques to ensure the products that are produced are of the highest quality, and since materials and products are hand woven, products can be modified to cater to specific style, colour and size preferences.
100% of the proceeds go towards supporting the Baan Unrak mission; to provide a loving and stable home for disadvantaged women and children in the Sangkhla Buri community.