Help Gaia Ashram build an Eco kindergarten In Suai Long Village!
Gaia Ashram needs your support to build an Eco Kindergarten in our local village Ban Suai Long. The current kindergarten is housed in an old building that is being eaten by termites and poses a safety issue.Therefore the Gaia Ashram team has decided to build a new kindergarten building on the school grounds and this kindergarten will be build with the help of local villagers. This Kindergarten will be build using sustainable materials and will be build from earthen bricks, earthbags and it will feature a “Green Roof” and “Solar Panels”. We are in need of all the support we can get.
Gaia Ashram Eco-learning project is located in a rural area near Nongkhai in Thailand. The founder Om Sunisa Jamwiset Deiters grew up in the small village Ban Suai Long village and went to school there. After her primary & secondary schooling Om went on to study Community Development at the University of Khonkaen. She always had the wish to go back to the village and help positively develop the village and its people.
Ban Suai Long where Om went to school was closed for 3 years from 2017 onwards as the provincial government wanted to merge schools i.e. close the smaller schools. After 2 years of closure, the villagers came together and took initiative to re-open the school and are continuing in supporting the school by teaching, making lunch for the students and supporting any school events.
The average marks of the school children were in the top range of the district in comparison with other schools. This is mainly because of the focused attention the children are getting due to the small size classes and the committed teachers.
To support us sent us an email and we will sent you the bank account details:
Eco Kindergarten Donation Progress Meter
Many rural schools in Thailand are underfunded by government and many of those schools are in need of financial support in renovating/rebuilding school buildings. Our local school is also affected by this issue. The top floor of the main school building which is made of wood is being eaten by termites and is starting to fall apart. This was aggravated by the school building being empty for 2 years during covid-19 which left most classrooms in unsafe condition for our kindergarten students.
Students from grade 1 and above have already been relocated to a newer school building in the school land. Only the kindergarten students are in the old building.
"Support us to Build an Eco Kindergarten School at our Village"
Design of the Building
We had help from our architect friend from Vietnam Trung Pham to design the Kindergarten Building. The school will be build using earthen bags, adobe bricks and various recycled materials. The special feature of this school building will be a ‘Green Roof‘ to passively cool the building and ‘Solar Panel‘ on the roof that will provide electricity for the building.
The total area of the school building is 160 m2 and the indoor area is 100m2. Indoor area has two rooms:
- Main class room total area 42 m2
- Secondary classroom which has a low division between library area and play/toy area total are 48 m2
There will be a big roof overhang which will allow the kids to also play outside the building and on the West side we have added a outside patio play area which also has a sink to wash there hands. Here is the design of the building:
For the roof, we selected a green roof as this would help the passive cooling of the building. Cooling is an important design consideration for the tropics and especially in our 6 months dry season where it can get very hot. The roof will have a big overhang which is important for natural buildings to protect the walls from rain and to help further cool the building. There will be lots of natural ventilation to allow air to flow through the building. The roof will be around 260 m2 big. To help design and implement the green roof we will be getting the support of ecological permaculture designer Ben Murray who has extensive experience in Natural Building & Green Roofs in Thailand. We are also talking with a well known roofing company Sika and their applicators to look at the options and there might be some sponsorship opportunity.
Here are the layers of a green roof and an example of a school with a green roof in Europe:
Green Roof Structure & Foundations
One important design considerations for green roof is the weight of the roof as we are adding layers of structure to support the soil & vegetation on the roof. Then also we need to consider that the roof in rainy season will be heavier with the rain. There are different type of green roofs & each has different weight:
For our Kindergarten Building Project we aim for the extensive green roof i.e. the one that has not too much soil depth as it will provide us with enough cooling we need, is lighter and is cheaper to implement.
Even though we opt for the lighter green roof it will still be a considerable wait and this is why we created a wider then usual foundation and have several poles help hold the entire structure. We have added a reinforced foundation in the shape of a cross to connect the wall and some of the poles, adding outside poles to support the weight of the roof, the walls will also carry some weight and we also will add remesh into the floor foundation to connect it all. With all these measures in place we feel confident of the integrity of the building and its ability to carry the roof.
Progress Untill Now!
In the month July and October we organized two natural building courses where participants helped starting to build the walls. In this time period we also have had a local team of builders work on improving the foundation. In September & October we have had volunteers, 50 students from Khonkaen University and local villagers help build and make lots of adobe bricks. The students of the University during their stay also organized a camp for the school children. Creating a meaningful experience for the kids in the village. In December 2022 we had 26 Secondary School students from a Waldorf school near Bangkok help build. Here are some of the photos of the work that has been done:
The Total estimated cost of the building would be 1,350,000 Thai Baht i.e. about 36000 euro or 38800 US dollar and this include the main building structure, the green roof cost, installation of Solar energy system, furniture and educational materials. The rough breakdown of the costs is the following:
Foundations & Poles
- Labour costs 75000 THB
- Material costs. 140000 THB
- Labour cost 62000 THB
- Material cost 34000 THB
- Labour cost 135000 THB
- Material cost. 412200 THB
Solar Panels & installation
- Material cost 220000 THB
- Labour cost 10000 THB
Finishing & interior decorating
- Material Cost 94000 THB
- Labour Cost 43000 THB
If you have any additional questions or would like to see a more detailed budget please let us know and we would do are best to reply and be able to share with you a detailed budget. In the case we raise more then the amount or have left over we will spent on landscaping, developing the playground and other projects that are related to the school.0
Your Donation is vital
Environmental Benefits of of Kindergarten Building:
- Dramatically low C02 footprint compared to conventional cement buildings.
- Using mostly local earth will reduce the impact of mining for materials.
- Earthen building help cool the building. In combination with solar energy means no need for AC and lesser CO2 energy output related to energy consumption over the lifetime of the building.
- Serving as a creative beautiful model Eco-School Building that will set a regional benchmark that will inspire many others in the local region to create green schools or refurbish school to become more green.
Socio-Economic Benefits of the Kindergarten School Building:
- Empowering & training local villagers to become green builders. Local villagers will be employed in supporting the building and have potential future work for them if they chose to join the building project.
- Hiring local labour the project will be contributing to the local economy and supporting local families.
- Allowing the parents to sent their young kids to the local school thereby supporting in the social cohesion of the culture of the village.
- Sense of pride for the village and the villagers.
- Raising the profile of the local village within the local political sphere.
- This raised profile will help implement future eco-friendly projects in the village.
- Launching of the long term Ban Suai Long Eco-School project