In August 2004 we visited the Home of Joy which is a Children's Homelocated in Sangklaburi, Thailand . It is located about 8 hours from Bangkok. Baan Unrak is managed by three Ananda Marga social workers and was started with one worker and one orphan about 14 years ago. Over the years it has grown and now cares for over 100 children.
Many of the children are from Burma and Thailand . They come from many different backgrounds; abandoned by their families due to poverty, abandoned by prostitute mothers and in worst cases some arrive because they have HIV, infected by thier HIV parents.
Some of the children are living with their mothers. Some of these mothers were driven out from their families and forced to find income through prostitution. The Home of Joy provides these mothers with a means to make a living through weaving, food preparation or helping with the running the children’s home.
Baan Unrak teaches the children various skills to enable them to become self sufficient once they leave. These include running their own business: vegetarian restaurant, bakery, hair salon, tofu making, farming and building construction e.t.c.
The children themselves are helping to develop the Home of joy which in itself is slowly transforming into the Village of Joy . What was once only a small shack is becoming a commune for holistic living.
The children give regular performances in yogic dance to tourists and get regular visitors to ther weaving store to purchase beautiful handmade garments.
The Home of Joy attracts constant visitors from all over the world who volunteer to donate time to work in the project. Many volunteers come to teach, help with administrating, computers or what ever skills they have to offer the project. This keeps the home constantly active, as Didi Ananda Devamala the home manager says, "It keeps the school vibrant with energy. Every body who comes here, contributes something good to this place and takes away something special”.
Plans to develop the project are always in place, soon their will be a Homeopathic clinic, new school and expansion of farming projects and accommodation. Help is always needed whether it be in the form of monetary donation or physically contributing hands on service. Please go to Baan Unrak Home page for more information
Written by Maetreyii and Lokesh