What is Gordonstoun’s Thailand Project 2013 all about?
Every year Thai Charity the Pakanyor Foundation and the Scottish school Gordonstoun work together on a water project in a specific Thai village to deliver clean drinking water to its inhabitants.
The Pakanyor Foundation, which is led by James Soutar (Jim), work with the Karen to provide them with access to clean water. The foundation is based in Chomthong, near Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand and works across Thailand where the Karen have settled.
Pakanyor is a Karen word meaning everyone is equal. Jim Soutar and his team including Project Manager Ekachai work throughout the year on various projects around Northern and Western Thailand to provide remote Thai Karen villages with clean water access. The tanks built by the foundation provide each village with a vital water supply when the rest of Thailand relies on mains water supply.
Gordonstoun School, in Elgin, Scotland has been running the Thailand Project since 1986 to implement drinking water projects in partnership with the Pakanyor Foundation. This year, the Karen village of Ban Hak Kia was chosen to receive two water tanks. This village compared to previous project villages is much larger in size, and already has two tanks which are in need of maintenance work.
For the first week in Ban Hak Kia, the Gordonstoun team began by climbing to the chosen water source to build a dam and secure the piping that would be used to carry the water to the tanks. (I did this trek a week later and it was exhausting.) Once the students had laid the piping they then began laying the foundations to build the two concrete water tanks.
The tanks were built in rings by using an inner metal mould and an outer mould and the cement was poured in the gap. This was strengthened by using metal poles which ran vertically up through the rings. Each tank had four rings of cement, so this process was repeated four times. Then the roof was built. First of all scaffolding had to be constructed using bamboo, and then a wire mesh was put on top and secured. This structure was then covered with wet paper and the cement was poured on top, with a hole left to allow maintenance work to take place on the inside of the tank when required. Once dry, the scaffolding and paper was removed by climbing inside the tanks. Then we had to render the outside of the tanks to make sure they were watertight and tidy up the building site and secure the Gordonstoun sign.
Each tank will supply the village with 7,500 litres of water. The water will be much cleaner than the open river water nearby and will be piped to the village taps to provide the villagers with their daily water requirements. The whole project took about 10 days to complete and the water tanks were opened on our last day in the village. Local governmental officials and the villagers turned up to celebrate the opening.
These water tanks will supply the village taps with a continuous source of water which will enable the village residents to access water much more easily. The donation of LIFESAVER jerrycans will allow the residents to filter the tap water to ensure it is free from all bacteria and viruses.
To find out more about the donation of LIFESAVER technology to this village, please continue to read the blogs posted regularly on this page.
Congratulations to the Gordonstoun Thailand 2013 Team, The Pakanyor Foundation and all the Karen who helped in making this water project such a success.