Homesteading the Future
274 Moo 1 Asia Road, Thasailuad
Little Schools was founded in September 2006 and has been supported by visiting volunteers from the U.S.A., Canada, Germany, the U.K., Australia and Japan ever since. It began life as a shelter for Burmese homeless children who live near Mae Sot, Thailand. As of June 2007, Little Schools has become Homesteading the Future, a non-governmental organization providing vocational training for the children of Burmese migrant workers as an alternative to becoming factory workers, trash collectors, or beggars. Farming skills are ignored by most educational institutions today -- something that we hope to change for our children, at least. They will have a chance to leave one life behind and begin learning another. Many people in Myanmar are farmers but are exploited by Burmese government officials who confiscate their agricultural production for export. It seems those with money don't all want to share it or invest in people's self-sufficiency as a base for a local or national economy.
Homesteading the Future bases its approach to meeting the needs of Burmese migrant workers and their would-be partners, Thai farmers, upon the premise of a 'resource-based economy'. This kind of economy's basic assumption is that people can locally produce their own food, clothing, housing, medical care, and updated education. Thus, instead of production for distribution outside a community, all farm-produced goods and services are for local consumption and utilization. This theory, also known as the Social Credit doctrine, is reflected in the Catholic Church's doctrine of 1987, "it is necessary to modify economic and social life so that the way is made easier for widespread possession of such things as durable goods, homes, gardens, tools requisite for artisan enterprises and family-type farms, and investments in enterprises of medium or large size." HTF will teach this doctrine to young Burmese farm laborers and Thai farm owners to affect social change in the Mae Sot area through a partnership that shares land resources and local labor. Homesteading the Future will create an Agricultural Research and Training Center. Many children of Burmese workers are already in Thailand but many receive no education at all. These children possess the skills and experience to become self-sufficient farmers but only need training . HTF will provide this 'alternative education' and help children become self-sufficient farmers. Thus, HTF is a long-term program of social change, empowering people to live in farm communities in partnership with Thai land owners who realize their farms would be worthless without the skilled labor required to work on them. In this fashion, HTF's desired outcome is nothing less than the replenishment of farm land to establish a resource-based economy for this local area of Tak Province in Thailand.