Making Tempeh Dishes

We are happy that Dada is with us. During the past week, he taught us how to make a traditional Indonesian food, Tempeh. We prepared it and created some delicious dishes with it.

Our vegetarian Bakery and Restaurant is a great vocational training center for our children, so they went to learn the whole Tempeh process.

The Preparation

First, we need beans. Traditionally soy beans, but Tempeh can actually be made with any kind of beans: black beans, red beans or even chickpeas.
We selected only the good ones, taking out the spoiled ones.

Wash and soak the soy beans in water overnight. The beans will expand and will get the right PH for the growth of the Tempeh culture.
After this time, wash again until the water becomes clear.

Boil the beans for maximum 1 hour.
Dry them on a strainer, using a fan to accelerate the process.

Once dried, put the beans in a bowl and add the Tempeh starter: 1 teaspoon of Rhizopus Oligosporus – a bacteria which ferment the beans to become Tempeh.

In order for the bacteria to grow, proper ventilation is needed, so we put the beans into zipped – and reusable – plastic bags with holes.

So, first… make the holes!

Then, pack it!
We tried our best not to touch the beans with our hands, to make good quality Tempeh. Once packed, we pressed with our hands.

Then, keep it in a place with good ventilation, room temperature 25° C.
Here, we put it inside an old oven on a metal mesh, to allow the air to flow through the bags, letting the bacteria grow.

2 DAYS LATER…

DONE!

Now, we can cook!

TEMPEH DISHES

We prepared special rice, Indonesian Style (flavored with leaves):
– compressed in a cylinder form, wrapped in a banana leaf, called Lontong.

– in a diamond-shaped, woven palm leaf pouch, called Ketupat.

The children took notes of the whole process, to make it again by themselves next time.

Here… Tempeh skewers! With a delicious peanut sauce.

And… DONE!

Another day, new dishes! And… new looks!

Here, a delicious green curry with boiled Tempeh and green eggplants,
together with fried Tempeh with basil leaves.

Another day we prepared a healthy and fresh salad with roasted Tempeh.

…And a fragrant yellow rice with coconut milk and turmeric, lemongrass, cinnamon and kaffir lime, called Nasi Kuning.

…To eat together with a sweet and spicy fried Tempeh.

We also dried the Tempeh and blended it to make a powder.

It became a great and healthy Tempeh topping to flavor any dish, rice or even pasta!

Then, we mixed the Tempeh powder with flour, and this will work as a new Tempeh starter!

Here it is, our new Tempeh starter for future productions.

We even made a smoothie with raw Tempeh, fruit and honey!

ENJOY TEMPEH!

Welcoming the New Year

Welcoming the New Year at Baan Unrak has been, as usual, full of wonder.
Here’s  a photo diary.

December 31, 2020

At the Home we were all busy with the preparation. On special occasions like this, our collective spaces are transformed into something unique, always different!

Here, we were decorating the dining hall!

Meanwhile, Dada was teaching guitar to some children to lead the kiirtan.

Also the smaller children are eager to learn guitar.

In the afternoon we went to Songkaria river, to refresh ourselves with a splash!
And… for the last shampooing of the year!

Back home, catching the wind in the back of the pickup truck.

In the night, we had a Pizza Party!

Then… all to bed early!
With a lot of anticipation for the Big Day to come.

January 1, 2021

Chanting the universal mantra, Baba Nam Kevalam, Love is All.

In the afternoon we had another incredibly powerful Kiirtan.

The vibration of Bliss was so great, so intense and all-pervading, that for some was irresistible, overwhelming. Here, some children fell into a state of deep meditation.

In between these blissful moments, after lunch we had…

PRESENTS!

Happy New Year 2021!

Our Gift… is You!

It has been a challenging year for all humanity. At Baan Unrak, we have done our best to send our love and compassion to all. No matter how far, with our minds, we reached you all.

The past years, during the Holiday Season, we used to receive special people, just like you! As you can see in these previous articles:

Love All, Serve All! (2019)            The Spirit of Service (2018)

There are many good people in the world. They are silently doing notable and wonderful things. We are hardly aware of their existence because they move with a light step not disturbing or bothering anyone. Whatever they do it has the power to relieve pain and restore hope. Their touch is a balm to humanity’s wounded heart.”

They are more than you may think. They are sacrificing daily out of the goodness of their heart, without witness and you cannot find their deeds in newspapers.”

To keep the magic of Baan Unrak alive,
there is a delicate balance…

Our Home of Joy depends on the external help of well-wishers like you…

…to cover the operational costs of providing housing, food and education to 130+ children in need, 20+ care-mothers and local staff.

Our sustainability projects cannot cover our expenses:
the Weaving & Sewing Center, Restaurant & Café, Garden & Farm,
they are a mean of providing employment to local people in need, while also functioning as vocational training for our children.
The Outreach & Relief, the Women’s Project, and the new Elderly Project, are even more ways we found to help our local community.

If you wish to support our efforts…

these holidays, or on a continuative basis,
we would be more than happy!

You can do it here:

Life is like a boomerang…

What you give,
will come back to you!

From the depth of our hearts:

Good News!
We are happy to announce that our proposed project to create a clinic at Baan Unrak has been approved!

It will be partially funded by the Bolzano province, Italy, to which we wish to give our warmest thanks.

However, the project is not entirely funded, so if you wish to help us,
you can do it here.

Thank you again

The Adventures of Our Holidays

During the holidays, our girls had a beautiful trip to Thong Pha Phum.

Here, they visited the Vajiralongkorn Dam, the dam which created the beautiful lake – actually, a reservoir – that bathes our town, Sangkhlaburi.

It was a great experience for them. A very educational and fun field trip.

On another day-trip, they enjoyed tubing at Songkaria river.
Floating on inner tubes, the girls flowed down the river in the jungle.

And suddenly, the rapids!

Meanwhile…

The boys were camping in the jungle for 2 nights and 3 days.

They didn’t take many pictures though, as they were too absorbed in the adventure! The first night it rained a lot. It was unexpected, so it became a survival camp.

And they also carried on a relief project:

Building a House for a poor family

The boys went to collect the wood in the jungle.

And the bamboo!

Then, with the help of our workers, they started building the house.

Everybody did his part generously.

It was a great collective effort.

However, the work is not finished yet! The boys will have to go again next weekend to complete it, because now they are busy back to school.

Stay tuned to see the house completed…

in the next article!

Our Natural Drinks for a Better Health

Since the lockdown began, Didi has been trying to find something that would help the children to enhance their immune system. We didn’t have great success for some time, but now, it’s getting better… much better!

We tried different traditional herbs in the past, making different teas, but the children didn’t get very excited about it.

Until recently…

Now, in the mornings we serve 2 natural juices:
the Wax Gourd juice, and the Boropet juice.

Wax Gourd – also called Winter Melon – is a cheap, common fruit here in Thailand. The children could feel the positive effect of it: better memory and better focus at school, more clarity of mind, good and easy digestion and evacuation.

Boropet – scientific name Tinospora Cordifolia – is very well known here for its medical properties, but it is so bitter that only a few take it. We make it less bitter adding honey, and even so, just a few children dare to take it. But it is a hit among our workers, they work hard, and naturally increases their energy.

Being the Boropet a medical plant, we will only give it for some time.
The Wax Gourd instead, being just a fruit, we could give it throughout the year.

Below, we prepare the Boropet juice the night before, or very early the same morning.

Didi first experimented with these plants for Ishvari, as she knew of the positive effect on the nerve cells. Didi tried herself and, seeing the benefits, started giving these juices to our workers, to some local people, and to the children that most needed it.

The result has been incredible…

Gradually, everybody started to feel better, perform better at school, have less physical pain… and gradually become stronger, look healthier, with more vitality.

Now, it has become a morning ritual!

When the children come from meditation, the first thing they do is drink the Wax Gourd juice and, just a few, the Boropet juice.

We also prepare bottles to bring to people in the community. Everybody feels better.
Meanwhile, there is always someone who wants more honey in his drink.

Some children didn’t want to try the juice at first, but when they saw the positive effect on the others, they did try it too. And they all come back for more.
A child with asthma could feel the healing power of it
, and regularly comes back to take it.

Here, the preparation of the Winter Melon juice (Wax Gourd):

And with the fiber…

Later, we make delicious sweets!

Nothing is wasted: the leftovers of the wax gourd are brought to the goats.

Below, our workers, and the elderly people living at Baan Unrak farm, get benefited and become stronger with the juices. They feel good. They can do more, and get incredible vitality.

These 2 juices boosted the overall vitality of our Home.

…And with that, the happiness of everybody living and working here.

So for now we are focusing on the Wax Gourd and Boropet juices, as the children come to take them everyday by choice.

Only very few children don’t take them. But the incredible thing is that even the ones that don’t take them, they get energy from the energy of the others.

Everybody is very energetic right now.

We also do other drinks, less powerful, but very good anyway. One is the Baibobok water – from Centella Asiatica.

We also prepare and serve very ripe, smashed bananas with tamarind. And, as usual, we don’t throw away anything. We macerate and blend the banana peels to make compost for the Aloe vera plants.

Then, we make the Tamarind drink, that we serve in the afternoon. The mothers like it, the children too. We add brown sugar and salt, and it’s ready to drink. It’s very refreshing, and it helps to move the bowels.

The honey dispenser girl:

A Big Cleaning to start the Holidays

Our children’s holidays have just begun. This year, it’s only a 2-week holiday though.
Our teenager-in-charge, Aye Moe, had a brilliant idea:

“We can start the holidays by cleaning up our little town!”

And so we did!

We went to the road that from Sangkhlaburi leads to Songkaria. It is full of rubbish, and our children took responsibility to clean it.

We also asked to 4 of the bigger boys to come with us, to feel safer, to signal to the passing cars to be careful and drive slowly.

It was a very nice way to start these 2 weeks of precious holidays for our children. It was Aye Moe’s idea, the girls embraced the project, and 4 boys went to help.

Passing people appreciated our children’s effort very much. Some local people even told us that they had thought to start cleaning around the town too, but they hadn’t done so yet.

They were glad that we took the initiative!

We inspired them, and, in gratitude, they gave our children sweets!

30 Years of Baan Unrak – Part 5 ( 2020 )

A brief history of the “Home of Joy”

2020

And here we are! This is a special year for us, as it marks our 30th anniversary.

This year started very much like any other year, with many things to do, many things to learn, fun, happiness…

At the beginning of the year, we learned drawing and painting on cloth. Our children started to do beautiful art. With their art, we made beautiful bags, to give to our friends and to sell. We didn’t know, while we were learning and doing this, that this new skill would become so important for our children during the lockdown…

Just before the lockdown, we’ve been very lucky to have some nice visitors from Italy, who taught us how to take care of our goats, how to milk them in a loving and caring way, and how to make cheese and yoghurt. This skill was very important for us to learn, especially during the lockdown, to give very nutritious milk to our weak children.

When the lockdown was announced, the first thing we did was to make sure that our people, the poor people that we assist monthly through our relief program, would get enough food to survive for at least 3 months. We brought them beans, soy sauce, oil, rice, and other small things like salt and chilly.

As the lockdown began, we started to make a lot of positive affirmations, to boost our mind and to keep our moral high. At this time, the painting skills that we had learned came very handy, as we had to make a lot of posters with positive affirmations, to be attached all around the home.

We harvested very powerful plants in our backyard, and made healthy drinks to give to our children, to strengthen their immune system. We want our children to be strong, and it was incredible that, searching in our backyard, we could find so many herbs, grass and roots that, according to the traditional medicine of the local people, are very useful to improve the immune system.

We taught our children many yogic tricks to keep them strong and healthy, such as how to clean their nasal passages, the eyes, the throat, the legs and hands.

Keeping in mind the wellbeing of our children, we also did a lot of exercise. They learned very powerful exercises, not only to strengthen their body, but also to increase their courage and love for humanity. Some  are really special, like Tandava, a yogic dance.

Our children like to be very close to each other all the time. But in times of Covid, there was a particular rule that we had to observe. And so, we created the Magic Sticks, to learn how to keep the distance, the “social distance”. This way, they learned how to keep away from each other, at least for the length of their sticks.

We encourage our children to be in touch with the 5 elements of life.

The soil, the water, the fire…

The air, the space…

We want our children to be healthy, we want them to be in touch with the essential elements of this world. We want them to touch the soil, to be in the water, to feel the fire, to be in touch with the air and feel it on their skin, and finally, to feel the space within themselves.

Our little Baan Unrak community was really lucky during the lockdown, because behind our house there is a lake. And on the lake, there is a little island. So we could go there at any time, to release our stress, to feel in harmony with nature, and to meditate…

…To improve our existence… and the existence of all that are traveling on the boat of life.

The 30th Anniversary

This was a very happy day for all our little community. We had a beautiful ceremony, with inspiring talks and many shows performed by our children.

For this great occasion…

…Our former children came back home, to celebrate with us!

And they even cooked for us!

Our former children also went to celebrate together at our Bakery & Restaurant.

The Time Capsule

In 2010, we made a Time Capsule. Back then, all the children wrote their dreams and wishes on pieces of paper, then crumpled them and put them into a glass jar. And there we kept them for a long time…

Our intention was to open the jar 10 years later, on our 30th anniversary day.
And so it happened!

In this very happy day, our children got presents!

And Didi got a present too, from our former children! They put the money together for Didi.

We had some visitors as well. And all our friends, former volunteers and sponsors were connected with us online. We saw your faces on Zoom. Some of you chose to follow us on Facebook Live Stream, while others were not able to see us. We want to thank you all.

Thanks to all of you that have shared with us this special day.

Wherever you are, you are always in our heart. We think about you.
And hopefully, we will be able to do another program like this in 10 years, or 20 years, or 30 years…!

See you then!

30 Years of Baan Unrak – Part 4 ( 2013-2019 )

A brief history of the “Home of Joy”

2013

One World foundation did a lot of very good things for our home. They launched our weaving products as the “Conscious Collection” to the stars in Hollywood, and introduced us to the Yayasan Harmoni foundation.

One World foundation sponsored the travel of our yoga group to Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, and Yayasan Harmoni extended their excellent hospitality. It was a memorable experience for our children. Beside that, Yayasan Harmoni donated 1.000.000 THB for our education program.

Baan Unrak Children’s Home became a foundation of its own!

With great excitement from our teenagers, we had a graffiti teacher in Baan Unrak, and some of them were invited to Italy for a special cultural experience.

It was so important for our teenagers to know that there are infinite opportunities…

…To break the myth that you are not able to go out of your border town because you are a stateless orphan.

Then, it was a great accomplishment for us to bring all of our teenagers to a special trip to Krabi in Thailand. All our stateless youth could see a world of wonder out of our border township. It was extremely empowering.

2014

The first flashmob ever in Sangkhlaburi!

The children, care givers and volunteers suddenly appeared among the market crowd. They came in a circle formation singing a song about universal brotherhood, accompanied by meaningful gestures to reinforce the concept that all the creatures of the universe belong to a unique cosmic family. Then, after 2 minutes of performance they suddenly disappeared in the crowd again, leaving everybody bewildered!

The flashmob is Didi and volunteers’ creation. They decided to create it to evoke the spirit of Baan Unrak. The activity was conceived in such a way that every member of Baan Unrak, from the oldest to the youngest, could participate.

We received donations of beautiful game facilities, like this trampoline which brought a lot of laughters to our children.

We finished the new kitchen! Everyone in the house was so happy. But at the same time we had to close the Bakery. It was imperative to renovate it, as the structure had become dangerous.

Thanks to our wonderful volunteers and visitors…

…they brought so much enthusiasm and joy to our home.

2015

Another flashmob!!! Our children under the guidance of our volunteers were dancing for peace. This was an international program where different groups of people around the world danced in the street for peace at the same time. It was so exciting for our children, and so refreshing for the spectators.

Our new Children’s Home and Nursery started in Burma. It was freshly constructed this very year.

A group of doctors from Taiwan came to check the health of our children. They had a very efficient team. In one day they could check all our children and workers, and the nearby village too.

A very good sponsor of ours, bought for us a townhouse in Bangkok. It was so great because our university students could have a house to call their own. And our new very sick baby, that needed to stay in a Central Hospital in Bangkok for an extended amount of time, had a good shelter too.

2016

Our teenagers took initiative to do many relief activities deep inside the jungle. They also launched the program “YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE”. Together with volunteers, our teenagers walked for 4 days in the jungle bringing relief goods to all the poor villagers.

Our teenagers helped to install solar panels for our first water system management.

We installed the solar panels, but this year there was no water. Baan Unrak suffered an extreme drought. For taking a bath and washing clothes, the children had to go to a far away river. We had to collect water from that same river to clean the home.

We had two main meditation programs this year. We had an international spiritual conference and a meditation for peace, a global program to meditate together at the same time. The children were the protagonists in both events.

2017

This year we had a lot of guests that came to help and bring beautiful things for us. One of our university students created a new flashmob to surprise our guests and at the same time to communicate the deep believe of Baan Unrak that “everything is love”.

Mc Graw Hill Education company took us on board. They started to assist our education program, providing materials and teachers for our children to improve in our academic achievements.

This year, the children entertained so many visitors with their music, dances, yoga performances and songs, and they were entertained by the visiting clowns and their innovative puppet theater.

We were able to improve our infrastructure to support our disabled children with wheelchair ramps and standing frame equipment. Beside that, we had an alternative physician to come and support our little ones.

2018

Finally, we completed our giant water tank on the top of the hill, to make sure that the next drought would not overpower us. We did a special meditation on it. Many other people were meditating at the same time around the world, to bring a wave of love to all the universe. We believe that water can absorb pure vibration and get energized, giving us not just life, but an awe-inspiring life.

This year we did not have a drought, we got flooded. Together with the villagers, we built a bamboo bridge to enable our children and staff to go in and out of our land to school or to the market.

We received a donation of solar panels to help us reduce our electricity bills. We also got a huge filter to clean all the impurity in the water that we pump up to our big water tank.

A group of our teen children was invited to Italy for a cultural exchange experience. It was amazing how we were welcomed. We were received even by the regent of San Marino. Here, we are in the tv news of San Marino.

2019

An amazing year, in which we successfully held an international Yoga Conference, full of joy, with many participants from many countries.

In the same year, Burma suffered a heavy flood. Baan Unrak gave almost all of our clothes and resources to send to our neighbors.

The delegate of the Japanese Embassy in Thailand came to Baan Unrak. They came to donate a school bus for our children. We did a beautiful ceremony to welcome them.

A group of homeopathic doctors came to Baan Unrak twice this year, to treat our children and our community. Many people benefited.

 

Following the 30-Years Story of Baan Unrak, we have arrived to the present days.

Stay tuned…

…for the next episode, about this very year of 2020!

30 Years of Baan Unrak – Part 3 ( 2005-2012 )

A brief history of the “Home of Joy”

2005

A new year, a new growth for Baan Unrak. A year of achievements.

Our school was built. A real school!!! Dada Shambushivananda, the Kulapati Head of the Gurukula schools, came to the inauguration of our new school.

Our Children’s Home became so full of children that we started to consider to move to another place. The school needed our land too. The school needed to possess at least 2 rai of land (= 3,200 square meters) as one of the requirements to become fully accredited with the Thai Ministry of Education.

We were lucky enough to get a donation from a kind sponsor from Italy to build the new house on the top of a hill.

At the end of the year Boboy, a Filipino baker arrived, helping to make our Bakery more professional.

2006

The home had a radical change.

We moved to the New BIG HOUSE!!!! with all the excitement and challenges. Our previous house was no longer enough for us and the school needed to make a kindergarten on it. The new house construction was completed, and so we transferred to the hill with all our 100 children.

It was a challenge to transport our children to school. Our new house had no road or pathway. We had to take them by motorcycle, walk, and even raft… And one day, we made a bamboo bridge, so the kids could pass to the other side easier.

The first thing we did when we arrived in the new land was to plant trees, in the memory of every child that passed away and could not come to the new land with us. And finally, we were happy to be in our home.

2007

This year began in difficulty, but ended bright and beautifully.

Early in the year, one mother was so tired and slept very late without blowing off the candle. In the early morning the candle set fire to the mosquito net and then the mattress. She was in shock. She could run out of the hut but could not alert anyone. So the fire went from hut to hut and everything was destroyed.

Luckily, nobody was hurt. The mothers and their babies were safe, and the fire was soon put off.

We did our first youth camp with the Brighten Foundation. We went on a floating house to an island behind our home. And another camp took place later in the year for girls only.

Our community had become so big!

2008

After overcoming the challenges of the previous year, with many accidents and a disaster (the Flood), 2008 is one of those years full of sweet memories.

Our meditation center was partially completed on top of the hill. The International Meditation Conference was held at Baan Unrak Children’s Home. The chanting and meditation were performed at the place that we call Baba Room, or the Pagoda…

As a part of the conference, one Revolutionary Marriage (the interracial/international/casteless/non judgemental marriage) was done. The Bride is Bashanti from Philippine and the Groom is Glen from UK. Bashanti was brought up in an Ananda Marga Children’s Home and we were very grateful that she chose our home for such a special day of her life. It formed a beautiful connection between different Children’s Homes.

In the meantime, our children’s effort in the relief work became more organized after the flood of 2007. Our children actively helped the communities, especially the ones affected by the flood.

There used to be another children home in Chumpon, Thailand. It was closed after some time, and all the children moved from there to Baan Unrak with Didi Anuraga. One of them is Sadhana. She moved to Sangkhlaburi as a senior high school student, and in 2008 she graduated at university. Below, Sadhana is receiving the certificate by the then Honorable Prince of Thailand.

Image may contain: one or more people and people standing

2009

This is the year of pride, of kindness, of starting new things…

Sopa is the second Baan Unrak child to graduate. She studied Law at the university. She chose this subject with the strong determination to come back and help our stateless children to get legalized. She did that and many children became Thai because of her effort.

Baan Unrak concern is to help all. We had an opportunity to do something special when a volunteer couple, Filippo and Ester, came with enough funding. The couple guided by Jacopo, one of our long term volunteers back then, installed a water system with 400 meters of pipes, completed with water tanks and faucets for a village deep in the jungle.

Our teenagers started a program to help the elderly. They went to visit them, listen to their stories and assist them.

Our teens and grown up children started to assist to sell baked goods from our Bakery at the market, as part of the program to learn livelihood while also earning some money for their home. Here, with Harjinder Banga.

While there was already a yoga group, we started a Hip Pop group! With a new series of street performances, including performing to the charity fairs in Bangkok.

2010

Sometime the unrest in our neighbour country Myanmar could be felt even in Baan Unrak. We heard shooting, and at least 5,000 people fled to Thailand. Everything was under control of the Thai army, but these people needed to be fed and protected from the cold nights.

Baan Unrak and other NGOs in the area cooperated to help these people. Overnight Baan Unrak was able to collect blankets for all of them. We cooked for them, we brought water and provided medical assistance (Dr Paolo was in our team).

Even when the girls did have a good house, our boys still used to leave in huts. Finally we got a donation good enough to start building a good home for the boys.

Brighten foundation used to visit us every year to hold a youth camp. However, this time, beside the usual games we had a game to understand the creation of the universe and the evolution of the species. Here, the children building up a dinosaur with their own bodies.

2011

A year full of accomplishments and new beautiful programs.

We became partner with the local high school. We signed a contract with the authority to open junior high school classes at Baan Unrak school under the home schooling program. This was a great achievement, as we knew that our children needed our coaching for some more years. Teenage years are such a sensitive time.

We organized a wonderful program for 22 of our children. They had the opportunity to travel to Singapore and Malaysia with the support of AirAsia company. It was an incredible cultural program. The children had the opportunity to show their skills in singing, dancing and acrobatic yoga performances.

We completed the construction of our Boys’ House. Finally!!!

2012

In this year, we slowly made our infrastructure better and better.

We decided to dig a well. We were trying to solve our chronic water problem. Siamgroundwater.co.th came for a survey and for the drilling. It was the beginning of a long time struggle to secure water for our children and single moms.

The memorable adventure of the boys by bicycle. Our teenagers studying in Bangkok took a big challenge, cycling 400 km from Bangkok to Sangkhlaburi. It was an attempt to raise consciousness about Baan Unrak, and at the same time a fun adventure for them to experience.

We started building a new kitchen (our current kitchen).

We connected with wonderful visitors and volunteers that have left a great impression in the minds of our children.

Stay tuned…

…for the continuation of our story!

30 Years of Baan Unrak – Part 2 ( 1997-2004 )

A brief history of the “Home of Joy”

1997

This is the year we met Me Lek. She became one of the pillars of strength of Baan Unrak. She came to us in search of refuge, but she ended up staying as a care mother. She is in charge of all small children and all care givers. Beside that, she became the main teacher in our kindergarten.

A delegation of the British embassy came to visit us and left a big donation to improve our weaving center. They also donated sewing machines.

In 1997, we became a registered organization with the department of Social Welfare in Thailand.

They recommended us to MEU, the social services of the Matsushita company of Japan. They rewarded us with a big donation, and our Didi went to Japan to collect it! Below, the ceremony and the awarded certificate of commendation.

With that, we bought our dream house. The owner gave it to us at half the original price, and it turned out to be exactly 20,000 USD, the money donated to us by the Matsushita company.

1998

Another year of growth. With the help of the British embassy, our weaving center was expanded. We switched from small looms to big looms to become more productive.

The children were trained to help others, by Didi, from the very beginning. Here we see Jyoti, one of our big girls, handing over a relief bag to a poor mother with her baby.

Jyoti motivated all the teenagers of our home to go to collect vegetables and bananas to be brought to the refugee camp. In this way, the Baan Unrak children relief program started, and it is still going on nowadays.

The children did not think only about themselves, but also about the people suffering around them. They grew to become part of the society.

We celebrated the marriage of our first grown up girl. The ceremony was conducted under the Ananda Marga Yoga system.

1999

This was the year of social recognition. The Australian Embassy awarded us with the AusAid grant, and the Australian Ambassador donated from his own fund to improve our kindergarten program and community study center.

It was a help beyond money, as they made the point to send their Minister of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, the Honorable Philip Ruddock MP and his wife, to our opening of the AusAID program. It created such diplomatic impact for us in Thailand, and a recognition among the local authority.

This event allowed us to upgrade all of our educational programs, kindergarten, study circle and community study center.

The Cultural program started at our home. The children performed in public for the first time, with the Karen traditional dance.

2000

A new millennium arrived, with challenges and sweetness. We got into so many sad things, but we also found out that miracles can come at any moment in life, and people were willing to help us in a very generous way.

In 2000, we opened up our arms to some seriously sick babies as a result of human trafficking. And we had our first encounter with HIV…

The baby was so sick that we feared for her life. But at the end of the year, the child suddenly became well. A miracle??? Or was the result of the test on antibodies defective? For us, it was a miracle that our baby survived.

A visitor came and was so impressed with our loving environment that he decided to give us a donation, which was enough for us to buy the small land aimed at making a sustainable project for the future.

2001

This was a year of blooming for Baan Unrak.

Didi A. Anuraga came back (she was also with us for one year at the beginning of Baan Unrak) to recover but she did not just sit idle. She started training yoga for kids.

This is our very first yoga performance in Bangkok, in the event of the Vegetarian exhibition in a big department store in Bangkok.

Visitors started to come more often to Baan Unrak. Our lovely environment had inspired the then young couple very much. They decided to get married and start a family life.

Angie, who used to be our visitor, fundraised in Japan for us and brought a group of English teachers to volunteer. It was the beginning of a long-lasting partnership. For 18 years their group has been fundraising and returning to Baan Unrak to bring happiness to the children and to celebrate Christmas.

2002

In this year we improved a lot our education and yoga performance.

Didi A. Anuraga gradually took over all the educational program in the home. She improved the programs and gave them more structure. In the photos below, our students wearing uniforms at the kindergarten, and at the primary school with professional teachers.

This year we had our first fundraising performance in Bangkok…

…as the children were doing yoga beautifully.

Even though there was a beautifully painted story behind the performance, the yoga overshadowed the hand-made backdrop, a creative way of “Yoga Theatre”!

2003

Another amazing year of growth and contribution. Our efforts were recognized and more and more help came.

Didi Mangala (now Didi Ananda Manimala) arrived at Baan Unrak. She assisted the sick children and started the Bakery & Internet Café, the place where our teenagers got vocational training. For this project Didi Mangala selected the 3 eldest teenagers of the home.

The Minister of social Development and Human Security Mr Anurak Chureemas presented a plaque of appreciation to Didi A. Devamala as an outstanding volunteer, for devotion and valuable contributions to the interests of Thai society. The plaque was given in the occasion of the National Social Day and Volunteer Day of 2003.