Founded in 1991, the Inter Mountain Peoples’ Education and Culture in Thailand organisation (IMPECT) is a Thai-NGO run by and for the indigenous, rural and poor communities of northern Thailand.
Baan Pha Lai is one of the rural, indigenous communities that IMPECT supports. The preschool in Baan Pha Lai has now been running for four years, and educates preschool aged students from five different ethnic groups and from three of the surrounding villages.
In a recent visit to the school, we noticed that some of the students did not have any tables and benches to sit on while eating their lunch. The existing tables were filled to capacity, so a group of students had to stand to eat their lunch. The teachers asked us if we could help. We also noticed the school’s newly installed water tanks had no shelter. The school staff were very concerned that the water tank would need to be replaced prematurely if left exposed to Thailand’s extreme weather and almost constant hot sun.
IMPECT works to promote participation and ownership of development activities in many communities resided in by people from 13 different ethnic groups in northern Thailand. Their four areas of action include Cultural Revival and Alternative Education, Promotion of the Environment and Natural Resource Management, Enhancement of Indigenous Peoples’ Movements and Networks and Indigenous Peoples’ Rights.
The Baan Pha Lai Community School is one of the communities and projects that IMPECT supports. The need for a local preschool was identified in Baan Pha Lai, as the nearest preschool was 30 km away and the families could not afford the transportation costs for their children. Without preschool education, the children from the Baan Pha Lai community would be behind their peers and have difficulty transitioning into primary education.
Unfortunately, many of the operating costs have had little or irregular support. Four of the five teachers had not received a salary, they no longer have an assistant to clean and cook for the students, they have been unable to cover all their bills and the provincial government will not cover the food costs of students under the age of four. Then we stepped in.
Our partnership with IMPECT and support for the Baan Pha Lai Community School provides the much-needed support so the teachers, staff and students can have a stable and effective learning environment. With our financial backing, IMPECT will also conduct advocacy activities with the local provincial authorities to work towards getting full financial support from the government. This will allow the Baan Pha Lai Community School to operate sustainably and independently in the future.