Supporting Love Hometown Group

Supporting Love Hometown Group

From Binah Aaron

Love My Hometown is a local movement by villagers in the Baan Phai District of Thailand that is working to prevent land grabbing by a sugarcane and bio factory threatening to destroy their village

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We are fundraising for an urgent issue of human rights in Thailand that not only carries crucial implications in the present moment, but lies close to our hearts as current CIEE Khon Kaen students. After spending time with the villagers of Ban Phai, a small but culturally and historically rich village outside of Khon Kaen, we were struck by the urgency of their situation. 

The village is inhabited by rice farmers and buffalo herders; life is simple and paints a picture of the Thailand of old. Many residents have lived in the village their entire lives with family roots in the area stretching back generations. 

On to the issue: Sugar company Mitr Phol is planning to construct a factory in the vicinity of the village. Establishment of a factory has significant and wide ranging  implications: Local air quality and water quality could be under threat, land currently used for farming and herding could be repurposed. In short, entire livelihoods are at stake. In addition, the legal avenues through which the company are set to build this factory happen to completely sidestep the voices of those most directly affected. Essentially, by nature of the current administrative structure in Thailand, and the priority it places on economic development, this allows powerful industries to gain access to land with little to no governmental oversight. 

This is a pattern that stretches from the national level on down to regional administration. If this makes resistance seem difficult… well it is. But the villagers of Ban Phai are passionate about their rights and passionate about being heard. Many have already staged a protest at the provincial governor's office in order to express discontent with the proposed factory. With the final referendum regarding the factory fast approaching, it is important that these voices be magnified to the greatest extent possible.

One of the major barriers obstructing effective resistance for the villagers is lack of funding. Funding is needed for various campaign materials (signs, t-shirts, pamphlets, posters) that are crucial to spreading local awareness and galvanizing a resistance force. Without proper funding, it is extremely difficult to pose an effective resistance when a political infrastructure operates in such an innately oppressive way. There is simply no way for these villagers to make their voices heard unless their visibility and manpower is at a maximum. Adequate funding is the first step; so we ask that you consider donating to the villagers’ resistance efforts. 

In this case, a little really can and will go a long way; towards the villagers of Ban Phai efforts to block the construction of the Mitr Phol factory near their homes and ultimately towards expanding awareness of these land-grabbing issues to an international scale. Please give whatever you can to donate to this urgent cause. And keep in mind, a dollar is worth 30 Thai Baht.

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