Help Gaia Ashram build the local kindergarten!

Gaia Ashram needs your support to build a 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.

Please support us to make this project happen by donating here:

Support Building Kindergarten School

Donate to support the Kindergarten Building in our local village Ban Suai Long. Every bit helps!

500.00฿

 

Context

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 the 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.

Kindergarten Donation Progress Meter

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The Problem

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 relocated to a newer school building in the school land. Only the kindergarten students are in the old building.

"Support us to Build an Earthen Kindergarten School at our Village"

The Ban Suai Long Eco-School Project:

In their first years of the project Gaia Ashram founders Tom & Om worked closely with local schools on environmental education. It is part of our mission to educate children in the importance of taking care of our Earth and all its ecosystems.

Ban Suai Long Eco School Project will be a multi year project outreach project spearheaded by Gaia Ashram with the goal to make the school more sustainable as well as providing environmental education to the students in the process of doing so. Ban Suai Long Eco School will serve as model for other Public Schools to follow.

The Kindergarten Building Project

The first part of the project is giving the priority to designing & building of a safe, healthy and eco-friendly school building for the kindergarten students from ages 4-6 years old. The whole village including the mayor are supporting the project and see the need of it.

This school building will be build using natural building techniques and materials. Natural and recycled materials we will use are:

  • Adobe or earthen bricks 
  • Earthbags
  • Glass Bottles
  • Recycled steel
  • Recycled windows and doors made from recycled materials.

Design of the Building

We had help from our architect friend from Vietnam Trun 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.

Building site & Location

Layout

The total area of the school building is 160 m2 and the indoor area is 100m2. Indoor area has two rooms:

  1. Main class room total area 42 m2
  2. 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:

Green Roof & Building Design

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 is the layers of the green roof & an example of a green roof on a school 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.

One challenge we faced was with the foundation is from the Education Board where we had only the permission to do a ‘renovation” of an existing building at the school. We started to build from an existing small building which did not have a very strong foundation.

Trung Pham, our Natural Building Architect from Vietnam raised concerns about the foundation size and helped us redesign the foundation. Therefore we have to adjust the foundation to bear the weight of our walls and roof better. Below are the solutions to these challenges:

 

 

The crux of the above drawing is the we widened the foundation, 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.  Here are some of the photos of the work that has been done:

Budget & Timeline

The progress in building the Kindergarten building at Ban Suai Long Village is a big undertaking. For this we intend to take our time as well as getting local hired labour involved and some expertise at certain phases of the project.

We will give a monthly salary the Kindergarten Building project manager who will be responsible for communication with builders, volunteers, interns & experts at the given stages. This person will also be responsible for the accounting, sourcing materials and making sure we are following the timeline and that get things done correctly.

As we are intending to do a Green Roof, this has added some significant costs to the project as this involves creating a solid foundation, strong roof supporting structure and several layers on top of the structure.

Cost Estimation

The Total estimated cost of the building would be 1,000,000 i.e.1 million Thai Baht. For the size 160 m2 this would amount to 6250 Thai Baht per m2. This is a big amount but if we put it in perspective by considering that a conventional build public kindergarten would costs around 11,263 Thai Baht per m2 then that is comparatively cheap.

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.

 

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Your Donation is vital

For the Kindergarten Building Project we are fully relying on donations for moving the project forward. Your donations will help us to make this happen. The kindergarten building will be a beautiful visible testimony and landmark of a more sustainable future right now. This will inspire many people in the region to implement similar buildings.
 
The immediate & long term environmental, social & sustainability impacts of the Ban Suai Long Eco Kindergarten:

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

How to Donate?

You can donate through the paypal button below or through bank transfer. To pay through paypal the minimum donation is 500 baht  (about 13.5 euro or dollar) if you want to give more just press the arrow key and increments of 500 baht will be added. So if you press 3 it will be 3x 500 baht= 1500 bath.

Bank transfer

Support Building Kindergarten School

Donate to support the Kindergarten Building in our local village Ban Suai Long. Every bit helps!

500.00฿

We have both a European bank account or a Thai Bank account to receive donations. We can also recommend using Wise to transfer internationally with low costs:

https://wise.com/

For a bank account transfer please email us and let us know your bank account preference. We will email you the details of our account number:

gaiaschoolasia@gmail.com

Crowdfunding For Kindergarten Building Progress

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"May All the Work we do be of benefit to the Earth and all its Beings!"​