Imagining us in Thailand drinking cocktails on the beach? Thats usually what we think of when we imagine the country, one of the most touristic in Asia.
Well no! Here we are in Paksong, a little village in the centre of Thailand. We are visiting a unique initiative: an Ecolodge that dedicates its work to educating mentally handicapped children.
It is here, on this previous palm oil plantation, that Ingrid (nick-named Pee Koy for the locals) and Rose created the Thai Child Development Foundation (TCDF) for children with mental difficulties. They had the brilliant idea of installing a responsable tourism structure (EcoLogic for Charity), connected to the foundation in order to finance it and no longer depend on irregular donations: 100% of the price paid for lodging, food and activities is directly donated to the foundation!
This specialized centre is dedicated to environmental education for the children, but also for the guests! The program? Permaculture techniques, mushroom farm, clay house building, bio-gas making, and even composting from coconuts and horse manure.
Based next to a clear-water river and a tropical virgin forest, this property allows not only for the discovery of the beauties of the jungle, but also of the marvellous regional culinary culture, as well as the farming and environmental techniques used on-site. You are also invited to join the kids and participate in the TCDF activities, gardening in the orchard, or wake up at dusk for a daily yoga session organized by certified professors. Fantastic!
It is also possible to learn the local Thai cuisine through a cooking class, or to participate in numerous outdoor activities such as biking, hiking, photography and more.
For the generous hearts (and small budgets) the Lodge also offers the possibility for guests to participate in different projects thanks to their volontourism program: daily help with gardening, maintenance, activities, or more specialized sectors such as marketing, finance, statistics…
All this in a calm and idyllic environment, accompanied by authentic and organic Thai food. What else? Oh yeah, a local group made up of teens aged 10 to 16 sometimes jams in the Lounge to some lovely Thai hits.
In a country that has become overly touristic, to find a place like this, that has a reason to exist and remarquable social objectives, is priceless. This experience has enforced our belief in the good-doings of the Hopineo project in promoting small eco-responsable structures.
Don’t miss visiting Ingrid, Rose, Pan, Toy and the entire Eco Logic team during your stay in Thailand. You will come out of it grown, with a clear spirit, and positively certain of the power of sustainable tourism.