A new concept in education:
The San Hog Far Hill Tribe Children’s Village
Clad in their traditional costume, the girls are giggling while
they look at us, the white farangs. They are Akha and display proudly
their bells, jewellery and woven clothes. Not far from them, Lahu
children run together while Karen mothers take care of their babies.
Today is a day of celebration at San Hog Far village.
The new San Hog Far Hill Tribe Children’s
Village was completed from start to finish in an amazing 100 days.
Eight years ago, eleven hill tribe villages gathered together and agreed
that the only way out for their children was education. They were from
four different hill tribes – namely Karen, Akha, Lahu and Lisu – and
they decided to send their children to study in Phrao to give them
better chances for the future.
That implied that the children, who lived six hours from Phrao, had to
stay in the city during the night. They slept on the streets, in
wastelands, in makeshift bamboo shelters rented by Phrao inhabitants.
This unsecured environment was the perfect ground for child traffickers.
And indeed they came, and indeed children disappeared from time to time.
And this is where Edward Wayne and Tatjana Trickovic came in. After
running a successful business for a long time, Ed realized his children
would not take the company over and thus decided to sell it. With the
money he made out of the sale, he went around the world and launched
projects: sewage system in gypsy communities in Serbia, school in Nepal,
housing project in Khao Lak for tsunami orphans … You name it!
of the village’s new residents - a shy and very young hill tribe girl
smiles for the camera.
They took the fate of the hill tribe children to heart and decided to
build a village to host them during the night. One hundred days later,
the Hill Tribe Children’s Village is born. It will host 40 boys and 40
girls from 6 to 16 years old, as well as 3 couples from the villages who
will look after the children. The children are chosen by the villages’
councils - the ones who lived the farthest away first, and then the ones
who show the most motivation for education.
With a fish pond, a sports ground, 8 computers connected to the
internet, a kitchen in which they can cook dinner and bake cakes, the
children will find a real improvement to their previous conditions. Each
dorm of 20 will form a team, choose a colour and war cry, and will
compete with other dorms in friendly games. The parents will cook
breakfast and dinner at the village but lunch will be taken at school,
which is a 15-minute ride away in the village’s two trucks.
Far from the missionary pressures that permeate some hill tribe
projects, Ed and Tanja decided that religious education and activities
would not be allowed at the village. To keep the children busy in the
evening, the assistant project manager, Tom, will go there three days
per week to teach English and organize games and fun activities. He will
also make sure that village life goes smoothly and according to plan
during the first six months.
What is really important about this village is that Ed and Tanja
“merely” helped the children by building a safe place to live, study and
play. These children will, however, need more external help in providing
food, school supplies and daily needs. It is estimated that the
financial needs for 80 children and 6 adults will be 100,000 baht per
month, about $3,000, which will cover food, electricity and water, fuel
for the two trucks and other necessities. .
Ed and Tanja are soon going back to Serbia for another project; the
success of San Hog Far village now depends on you! If you want to teach
computer sciences or English, play with the kids or bake cakes with them
in their brand new kitchen, then you can enjoy the guest room at the
village. If not, please consider giving a few baht to the project to
give them a real chance of success. You can do this by contacting Tom,
(Pairoj Topa), at [email protected] or by phone at 089-838-3135.
To discover more about Ed and Tanja’s projects, please visit the website
of their foundation at www. thebridgeoflife.net.
Croston House kids’ great day out
at Mae Sa Elephant Camp
Lee Roy Webster.
After their Charity Christmas Party
fund-raiser, Thailandfreunde Section Thailand
had promised the children at the Croston House
Orphanage in Lamphun a fun day out at Mae Sa
Elephant Camp. The anticipated day took place on
May 5, and ‘fun’ it certainly was!
The 24 children, aged between 3 and 16 years,
were accompanied by 8 adults, who were looking
forward to spending time with the elephants as
much as were the children. The group were some
of 300 visitors to the camp that day, well below
normal numbers, but at least visitors are still
the Croston House kids had never been to an
elephant camp before, and it was wonderful to
see the respect with which they greeted the
great grey jungle giants, so symbolic of
The best part of a
wonderful day – the Croston House children enjoy
an elephant ride through the jungle.
The camp does not only exist as a tourist
attraction; elephant trainers worldwide come to
be educated in elephant ways, and the camp is
also heavily involved in supporting the in-vitro
artificial insemination project at Lampang’s
Elephant Hospital, in order to ensure the
survival in the kingdom of the Asian elephant.
The children were fascinated to learn that each
elephant eats between two and three times its
own body weight every single day, and drinks up
to 300 litres of water. Mahouts explained that
taking care of an elephant’s skin is very
important, and has been made part of the
entertainment at the camp, with bathing
pachyderms happily drenching watching visitors
with sprays of water from their trunks!
The show itself entranced the children,
impressing on them the intelligence of the giant
beasts. From elephant football to a darts
competition with a member of the audience,
including everyone’s favourite, elephant
painting, and even elephant music played on a
harmonica, the kids were amazed at how cleverly
the elephants performed each task.
But, the treat of the day was feeding the
pachyderms with sugar cane, then being taken for
a 30 minute ride through the jungle on their
giant grey backs! The whole wonderful day was
captured on film for the kids, so that they can
relive their happy memories.