"This Land is Our Happiness"
Team Member: Emi Bauman
Ways of Change wrote -
Help a refugee community buy its land back!
I was always told that money can't buy happiness. Recently, the chief and villagers of Huay Pu Keng, a refugee village on the Thailand Burma border, challenged this notion when the land they live on was put up for sale.
In the words of Khun Nuong, the village chief;
"The land, inclusive of our school, playground and sports field is privately owned by an older couple. The husband recently passed away from sickness and the wife is in need of money. She has put the land up for sale. This land is for our children. It is our only hope for the future. It is where they are educated, it is where they play and engage. This land is our happiness. This land is what keeps our children off of drugs. Because of this land we are able to escape our daily lives and play soccer. Once a year we participate in a soccer tournament with the local Thai community. This is our only connection to the outside world. Now you see how this land is our happiness? Our only hope is to buy this land. Can you help us?"
Huay Pu Keng is a small refugee village, made up of 45 families.
Khun Nuong went on to explain that if the land is sold to a third party, it will be for farming. Pesticides are heavily used in Thailand in the form of an extremely harmful spray. Many of the villagers homes are a mere 1 yard from the land up for sale, and would no doubt be negatively affected by exposure to the spray. Furthermore, the villagers at Huay Pu Keng proudly practice organic farming techniques.
The land is for sale for 200,000 Thai Baht ($6000.00). Any donations above and beyond the goal will go towards the expansion of the school, which currently only includes up to grade 4.
Happy to answer any questions!