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Happy Children of Baan Unrak

Sweet Dreams Fundraising
Note: This charity conducted by SimplyBuy has already ended. For reading joy only.








At a far remote area sitting in between Myanmar and Thailand border in a village in Sangkhlaburi, Kanchanaburi Province. This is where Baan Unrak Children's Home provides a loving home, food, medical care and education to over 140 destitute children from Burma, Thailand, and neighboring Mon and Karen tribes.  Majority of these children does not have proper identification papers or nationality.

















Baan Unrak, translated from Thai as "Home of Joy" is a children's charity home that is 6 hours away from Bangkok. Bringing hope and relief to these children is a huge task and often challenging. But still somewhere on this planet, there're folks willing to sacrifice their time and effort for these children's plight.  Read More about Baan Unrak at www.baanunrak.org  

Happy children of Baan Unrak needs your assistance. But wait until you read our full story before you decide to take any action. In this charity effort, SimplyBuy will jointly assist Jason R. Smith, a highly dedicated self-sponsor of Baan Unrak children's welfare. Together with Jason, we share a common belief in bringing change to the less fortunate especially children. With a heart of compassion, we sincerely hope you too will join us in reaching out to these happy children at Baan Unrak.



















Behind the many happy and smiling faces of these children, hides the sorrow that only they could understand individually.  Being abandoned and left to defend for themselves in their early childhood is a sorry state that would otherwise seal a bleak future for them. With the help from mostly foreign volunteers over the years, their lives took a dramatic change for the better.















These young children from babies to teenagers at Baan Unrak receives food, care and education largely from international donations due to the impoverished area of this charity home. More importantly we are giving them a chance to lead a normal life just like any children would deserve.

















Many of these unfortunate children are orphans and were left here for one reason or another. We do not want to talk about their sad tales of how they ended up at Baan Unrak simply because their stories will make you shed tears. We just want them to be strong and happy to lead a life filled with joy and a sense of purpose.

Stefanie and the children















Taking time to spend with children as volunteers comes from the heart. Not everyone could do this in the long run where strong stamina is required to ensure the well being of each and every child is being taken care. A lot of volunteers does not only pour in their energy but also their personal money each month to sustain the kids here. The kids would have nowhere else to go if this Home of Joy is closed down for any reason.

What Kind of Sponsorship is Needed Here? 


From a glance, the building structure may seem complete with all the basic amenities. One may assume that the children are well funded. But behind closed doors, there is a basic issue that is not completely solved yet. There are 140 children staying here and nearly 100 of them are still sleeping on hard concrete floors due to the lack of funding for beds. This is something that Jason and me are trying to change with a Sweet Dreams Appeal fundraising campaign for Baan Unrak's needy children. All these wonderful children never ask for more than what was given to them.













Sweet Dreams Appeal 

To help give an idea on how much you would need to sponsor for a bed, let's take the most basic bed  frame average cost (approx. RM100 or SGD40). Not forgetting a basic mattress and pillows additional RM100. We should be looking at around RM180 to RM200 (+ or -) per complete set of bedding. This is just our rough estimation.

In any fundraising, no amount is a small amount. Every dollar counts. What matters most is the heart that sees the children's sleeping condition.  Donors can choose to contribute half a bed, just a mattress, or a pillow according to what you feel comfortable.  It is your choice of how much you would like to give.

Your generosity will provide the much needed sweet dreams and basic comfort to the children at Baan Unrak. Do not let them sleep on the hard concrete floors any further. Thank You in advance for considering this appeal.

Sweet Dreams

Note: Sponsors details are highlighted at the bottom of this page. 



Life at Baan Unrak's Children Home
















Jason has been living and working in Thailand for more than 5 years. Over the years he had spent his free time travelling to Baan Unrak and provides monetary aids to this charity organization. Looking good here is one of Jason's many visits to this little village in Sangkhlaburi on a bicycle.



















Serving as volunteers is a long-term commitment to some who came from abroad and faraway to this children's home. Running errant for kids on 2 wheels, sending children to seek medical treatment, buying groceries, etc. I could't imagine how a single guy would cope if he's given the task to buy baby diapers.


Children's activities for different age groups are aplenty at Baan Unrak to develop their active minds throughout their growing years. Learning social skills, arts and crafts, sports activities are all parts and puzzles  of this children's sanctuary.







Youth Camp Oct 2012

To make things interesting this year at Baan Unrak home during this school holidays, 14 teenagers had the best adventure of a lifetime at Southern Thailand beaches. The teenagers were hosted by one of Krabi's best dive crews to provide youth camp experience. They are simple kids right from a very young age. They don't mind at all travelling long distance journey all the way to Krabi on a pick-up. Thanks to volunteers and supporters to make this youth camp experience a success.


The kids played games with local volunteers, learned about new environments and cultures with a basic introduction to marine and coastal conservation. Not only that they also experienced scuba diving and rock climbing. We certainly hope that many more of such trips to come in the near future.

Beach soccer with Jason

Looking at their happiness and joyful gestures, it only reminds us when we ourselves are kids we too enjoy such terrific moments. Children at this stage are experiencing the best fun of their lives without any exception. Learning to socialize and working as a team is what these activities will impart into them.





A Day Out with Scuba Kids



With one of Thailand's best dive team, the children got a chance to experience a whole new world of underwater discovery. Hosted by Aqua Vision and well supervised by Jason, Magnus and Tom the brave young ones finally got a taste of what it's like in scuba diving.



Scuba Discovery for the first time 
  
Scuba diving is a sheer adrenalin fun adventure. Children receiving guidance and briefing from volunteers with years of experience before the dive. It's wonderful to see these innocent looking kids with a brave heart.






Once again a great thanks for taking time to read Baan Unrak's children's story here today. They were just kids needing care and some concerns.  A little help from you will go a long long way for them.

WE did our best to bring awareness of this appeal for beds. You are their "Twinkle Little Stars" and with your assistance may these little children sleep comfortably on the beds that you helped sponsored. 














TOTAL Sweet Dreams SPONSORSHIP=RM 6,882.00
*estimated est. THB does not reflect the actual currency exchange rate due to rates fluctuation. 

This fundraising appeal had officially ended at SimplyBuy's blog. We believed that we have helped spread the message of Baan Unrak's children plight across to every SimplyBuy's discerning blog readers irrespective of country or nationality you maybe from. More importantly we have pointed out somewhere in this world there's a place of hope in Sangkhlaburi. 

This fundraising campaign started on 20 Nov 2012 and the last donor came in today 5th Dec 2012 at 2.30pm. A tremendous success within a short span of time with Special Thanks to all the above mentioned kind-hearted Twinkle Little Stars. 


There ain't any snow here in Sangkhlaburi but certainly will have plenty of Sweet Dreams. Thanks to all sponsors. 

Bank Transfer Receipt























Note: There have been instances where Baan Unrak's bank account received monetary donations from good people who decided to remain anonymous. It's a good if all donors communicate with Baan Unrak's Founder via e-mail (dididevamala@gmail.com) so that they can have a proper accounting record.  
 
May this meritorious act of giving helps develop the arising of good mental states Citta and Cetasikas in us and toward realizing Wisdom.  Although this fundraising had ended here but willing donors may still come forward to make contributions directly to Baan Unrak Children's Home. Thank you. 

A copy of this Thank You letter by Dolci Donata (Didi) can be sent to you upon request. All Twinkle Little Stars donors with e-mail will receive a copy. 



Getting to Sangklaburi - a travel guide provided by Stefanie Langley, Baan Unrak Volunteer Coordinator. 

You may want to consider paying a visit to the children home or simply becoming a volunteer at Baan Unrak. The information provided may be of some help to you.

Sangkhlaburi is currently located on the edge of Khuean Khao Laem - an artificial lake created in 1983 when the Khao Laem Dam was constructed across the River Kwae Noi. The old town of Sangkhlaburi was submerged in the reservoir and the residents were relocated to the current site. The town is divided into two parts - what are commonly called "Thai Side" and "Mon Side".

Officially known as Wang Kha, the Mon settlement is located across the lake from Sangkhlaburi proper and is connected to the Thai Side by the longest wooden bridge in Thailand. The Mon Side is populated by ethnic Mon people, who have resettled in this area from Mon State in neighboring Burma. Homes on the Mon Side are built in the traditional Mon style and Mon language is most commonly spoken. There is a market which sells carved wood and various fabrics on the Mon Side and also a small collection of food vendors who set up near the market each evening. The food sold here is "ahaan Mon" or Mon food. It is distinct from Thai food and definitely worth a try.

Baan Unrak is located on the Thai side of town, about a 30 minute walk from the town center. The main market area has shops, restaurants and fruit stands where you can buy almost anything you need. If you have an ATM card with MasterCard, Visa or Cirrus (and other) logo, you can withdraw money from your bank at home in the ATM in town.

Guest House - There are a variety of guest houses on the lake close to Baan Unrak. They offer rooms that range from basic (for about 150 Baht) to very comfortable (for about 1700 Baht).

Graph Cafe - 650 Baht with hot shower
Cheun Jai Tea House - 450 Baht with cold shower
Burmese Inn - 400 Baht with hot shower

Getting Around

Most places can be walked to. There are motorbike taxis which will genrally cost 10 Baht a ride; travelling between the Thai Side and Mon Side is usually around 40 Baht.

There are also sangteaws (pick-up trucks with two long seats and a roof covering the back) which run set routes to nearby villages or they can be hired if you want to travel somewhere with a group. Motorbikes can also be rented by the hour or by the day (for about 200 Baht a day) from local guest houses.

Directions to Sangkhlaburi from Bangkok

There are several ways to get to Baan Unrak from Bangkok, and any of these options will roughly cost you between 200THB - 300THB, one way.

The easiest way to get to Sangkhlaburi is to take the bus from Mochit (The Northern bus terminal), by no. 114-115 to Dan Chedi SamOng (3 Pagodas Pass), the journey is 7 hours. You can also take a big bus to Kanchanaburi, then transfer to minivan service to our town Sangkhlaburi, this option will get you to Baan Unrak faster.

From Kanchanaburi you can grab a minibus from just outside the Kanchanaburi bus terminal (ask the tourist police to point you in the right direction) to Sangkhlaburi. It costs 175 Baht and takes 3.5 hours. The last minivan leaves Kanchanaburi at 4.00pm so please ensure you depart Bangkok in time to catch it.

When you arrive in Sangkhlaburi you will be dropped off in the main market; from there you can take a 20 Baht motorbike taxi ride to the Baan Unrak Children's Home. (Be sure to tell your driver in your best Thai effort that you want to go to 'Baan Didi tambon' that way you get to the Baan Unrak Children's Home on top of the hill, and not mistakenly dropped off at the Baan Unrak Primary school in town).

Communication

Phone: Skype available at internet cafe; payphone nearby; Thai SIM cards available in town.
Internet: Baan Unrak has an internet cafe. There are also several options in town.
Mail: The Post Office is on the main street. Mail can be sent to you c/o our address (on the website).

Things to do and see

The wooden bridge is a key sight in Sangkhlaburi. A walk to the Mon Side makes a nice evening activity, as sunset is very scenic on the lake. The Golden Temple (officially called Wat Wang Wiwekaram) on the Mon Side is an impressive sight to visit and there is a handicraft market beside the temple. For many, the one hour walk to the temple is a bit too far but you can walk to the Mon Side of the bridge and get a motorbike taxi from there. The Monastery on the Mon Side is also worth a visit.

Boat rides on the lake are very nice. You can visit the old temple, which is now submerge in the lake. The top of the bell tower can still be seen emerging from the water nearby year round. In the hot season, as the water level in the reservoirs recedes, the upper floors of several buildings in the old temple complex also rise up out of the water. Several guest houses rent canoes and kayaks for recreation on the lake or you can hire a long-tail boat. Local guest houses organize treks, which include boat rides on the lake, elephant riding and bamboo rafting.

Three Pagodas Pass is a 30 minute drive from Sangkhlaburi. The scenery around Three Pagodas is stunning and worthy of the trip. There is also a handicraft market on the Thai Side of the border here. On the way to Three Pagodas there are a couple of nice stops;

  • There are waterfalls in the area, which can make a nice stop. They are about 10 minutes off the main road and accessible by motorbike. In the same area there is a cave that is home to a simple temple. 
  • There is a great lunch spot along the Songkalia River. Here small bamboo huts are set out over the water and food is brought to you in your river hut. You can swim or wade in the shallow water or just dip your feet in and watch the lazy river flow by
Feel free to contact us via e-mail or telephone so that Baan Unrak can prepare for your arrival; Stefanie (+66 0 831 05 4223) or Baan Unrak Office Phone (+66 0 34 595 428).






















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