A New Public Library for Loi Tai Leng

Thailife Foundation helped setting up a library for the over 800 students of the Loi Tai Leng School.

Thailife Foundation has started its biggest project so far, the building of a new library and learning centre for the Loi Tai Leng School and the general public of Loi Tai Leng, Shan State.

The project is being realized in close cooperation with the Shan Education Committee (SEC) and the Loi Tai Leng Teacher’s Committee. The construction works have started in the beginning of August 2010 and it is planned to complete the building end of this year.    The overall budget of the project is 466,000 Thai Baht, including the 53,000 Baht for the first batch of books. 50,000 Baht were contributed by another donor.

Project History

In 2009,  SEC asked Thailife Foundation to help setting up a library for the over 800 students of the Loi Tai Leng School. Thailife donated a budget of 53,000 Baht for books and about 200 books were bought to start with.

In the same year, the building of the new Loi Tai Leng School was completed, so the plan was to use the old school building for the new library and learning centre. But it soon turned out that the Thai border authorities demanded to give up this building because it is built right on the border line and they did not want to accept any building so close to the border. Therefore a new building became necessary and the initially small project became a much larger one.

In the following months the construction of the new building was planned and discussed with all parties concerned, the Loi Tai Leng School Committee, RCSS Officers (RCSS is the Restoration Council of the Shan State, that administrates some areas along Thai-Burma border under its control), SEC and Thailife Foundation. All agreed that the new building should be big enough to let the library grow and become a real study centre in the future, not only for the many students, but also for the general public of Loi Tai Leng. In the picture gallery called ‘LTL Library’ a construction plan of the building is included.

The new library will offer books in Shan (Tai), Thai, English and Burman language. It’s also planned to add media such as DVDs and equipment for language training courses later. SEC will be responsible for the purchase of the books and media for the library. One of the teachers will take of the material and books in the library and organize its administration.

Once the library is running, older students will have the chance to join discussions of reading groups and share their opinions with others about the literature they have read. Also children’s picture book reading events for pre-school children can be organized.

Loi Tai Leng Background

In 1996 a massive forced relocation campaign was conducted by the Burmese military regime in Shan state. Over 100,000 people were forced to flee to the Thai border for their safety. There were many children who were permanently separated from their family during this time. They are not only ethnic Shan (Tai) but also Lahu, Pa–O and Palaung and members of other ethnic groups of Shan State.

In 1999 a Shan Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp was set up in Loi Tai Leng. Loi Tai Leng is located on the Thai-Burmese border in a very remote area opposite Pang Mapha district of Mae Hong Son Province, Thailand.

In the year 2000, a school was established in the monastery of the IDP camp. At this time there were only 80 students.  But by 2006 the number of students was already 662 and the monastery no longer had the capacity to support this number of students.

In 2006 an international Charity organisation, ‘Child’s Dream’, decided to support the building of a school to accommodate the growing number of  students, a school office, canteen, kitchen, toilets, teacher’s accommodation and furniture for the classrooms. Planning for this project started in 2007 and the construction works could finally be completed by the end of 2009.

The site of the library is very close to this new School Centre. Our library project will be one important step to improve the access to information and general knowledge for the children living under very difficult circumstances in such a remote location. We are certain that providing books and other necessary learning materials in the library will improve the education opportunities of the now over 800 children of Loi Tai Leng.

The Shan Education Committee was set up in 2007. SEC provides primary education as well as vocational trainings on weekends like music and arts classed and agriculture, sewing, carpentry and traditional dancing courses according to the students’ personal interests. Additionally, SEC supplies basic needs for orphans and takes care.

Your donations are highly welcome and will help us to offer more books and media and educational activities in the new Loi Tai Leng Library and Learning Centre.