Hill Tribe Hope

Kiwis bringing hope to villages in Northern Thailand

Turning On The Tap

Most hill tribes in North Thailand and surrounding regions still don’t have access to clean water and suitable sanitation. Often a water shortage means villagers will wash hands, dishes, and bathe less frequently – particularly if the source is a distance from the village. Population increases, livestock grazing methods (free roaming), limited sanitation, and minimal hygiene education can make the problem worse and increase the health risk.

Providing clean water and suitable bathrooms can significantly decrease water borne (and other) illnesses among villagers, especially babies and small children. Water is also used to build ponds and raise fish as a protein supplement and to irrigate crops.

Helping Little Ones Take Their First Steps Into A Big World

Children from hill tribes need to gain Thai citizenship so they can further their education and be accepted into Thai Society. A primary school level education provides this opportunity.

Step one in education is to establish a kindergarten in each village.

Step two may involve ITDP constructing a primary school central to the cluster so that children are able to receive primary education. Alternatively, once children are old enough, they may be able to become a boarding student at an already established school that ITDP operate about an hour's drive away.

Health Is Essential To Instill Hope

Many children don't live to school age due to disease. Water and sanitation are a huge benefit, but specialised medical services are also needed.

A long-term goal of ITDP is to provide and resource a Community Health Clinic central to the cluster, in order to provide training in disease prevention and nutrition, basic personal and community hygiene and health care.

A clinic is already established at another cluster of villages in the area that can provide some medical support to our villages.

An Investment That Keeps On Growing - The Key To Sustainability

Most villagers have land they can farm so long as trees and streams are not destroyed - although the Thai Government can take land away at anytime. However, many of these land users don’t have the resources to utilize the land to its best potential; finances to purchase fruit trees, seeds for field crops, gardens, legumes, and indigenous trees and shrubs for soil and water conservation.

ITDP is addressing these issues and empowering these people by operating micro-enterprise funds in many villages.  A revolving credit fund enables families to generate income and repay the loan with interest.  As these initial loans are repaid, the fund is made available to more families. 
Funded initiatives include:
- Livestock
- Fishponds with fingerlings
- Cash crops (coffee, macadamia nuts, fruit trees and cereals)
- Handicrafts / Sewing
- Village stores

In addition to providing funds, ITDP also teaches practical skills in growing crops, managing livestock or running a store etc.