Bucks for Books
Organized by: Charlotte Fager
Hello friends, family, and volunteers! I would like to introduce you all to the Ta Yang Learning Home. This is a fundraiser but please, feel no obligation other than to read and to learn about this incredible place I currently call home. I think we can all learn a little bit from the people of Ta Yang- and perhaps you will be inspired to contribute my cause!
Ta Yang is a Muslim village in Southern Thailand. With less than 100 families, the village is small in size, but large in heart. The people of Ta Yang make a living on their rich, natural resources. The local trees produce a leaf called the ‘Bai-Jack’, which is well-known for making roofs, baskets, and tobacco papers. The people also fish in the river, and collect tree rubber from the surrounding rubber plantations.
The people of Ta Yang are constantly searching for ways to enhance the quality of life of the villagers. They have made education their top priority. The primary school where I teach does well, but the people know that their children need more. They discuss ideas day and night. The Ta Yang Learning Home, where I currently live and teach, was built out of Bai-Jack trees, hours of manual labor, and small donations from all of the villagers. The mastermind behind the project is my host father, BangLeem, who lives directly next to the Learning Home with his family. The purpose of the Learning Home is to cultivate cultural exchange, and to enhance the education of local children and adults. By inviting national and international volunteers to live in the home, the villagers have access to the English Language in a space that is comfortable. It is hard to match the generosity of BangLeem and his family. They have opened their home to friends and strangers alike. They never have a moment to themselves; they have devoted their entire lives to their people.
As the learning home is expanding, so are the ideas. Last year, they built the Learning home from scratch. This year, they built a toilet for volunteers, and a lovely garden where I pick cucumbers and Morning Glory to sell every morning-all profits going directly to the Learning Home. Each new idea requires effort, manpower, and donations. The people of Ta Yang donate what they can, even with mouths to feed at home and dreams of sending their children to University. They grow and sell vegetables, they play music, and they offer endless hours of work. Occasionally, Ta Yang hosts short-term workcamps to get some projects done when they have enough funding.
This year they have started building a Library right next to the Learning Home. The Library will hold books and supplies for children to have free, constant access to learning. The library will encourage more and more communication between volunteers and villagers. It will inspire children and adults to read often and share their knowledge. Building began a few months ago and has unfortunately been temporarily stopped due to lack of funding. The villagers have given everything that they can, but it hasn’t been enough. I am in Ta Yang for two months and would absolutely love to see this Library finished by the time that I leave. BangLeem needs a total of $50,000 Baht to complete the project, which comes out to around $1,500 USD. I thought I would create this website for all volunteers, current and former, to share with their families and friends in order to give BangLeem the money he needs to complete the project. I really think that in the next couple of weeks we can do it! With the money, we will buy wood, flooring, tools, shelves, and all other supplies. If you were all here in Thailand, I would have some kind of book drive. However, since my home is so far, I will use a small portion of the money to purchase good books in English for the collection. Everyone loves to practice their reading!
These people care so dearly about their children, and their village. They ask for very little in life. With limited resources for education, they are doing whatever they can to help their children to grow in this world. Truly, every single dollar we can contribute to this project will be enormously appreciated, and put to good use.
Thank you for taking the time to read about Ta Yang. If anything, I am happy to share this story, and to remind everyone about the small things that make a huge difference.