The Solbakken organisation began working in December of 2013 in response to rural communities’ request for clean drinking water and electricity. With a decade of combined work experience along the Thai/Burma border, the staff had already established strong community relations before coming together to form a new organisation. They envision a world where rural communities along the Thai-Burma border and communities within Burma have access to clean drinking water, electricity, and proper sanitation.
Solbakken and The Branch Foundation are working together to install a solar system for a migrant school in rural Thailand. This border region is home to over 200,000 migrants who have fled conflict in Burma and are trying to establish a safe life and a better future for themselves and their families. Because of their migrant status, children are not allowed to attend the Thai schools without special documentation. This has created a network of migrant schools; many of which barely have their basic needs met. Together, Solbakken and The Branch Foundation will provide power and lighting for the 115 children attending the Maw Kwee migrant school.
Solbakken is also currently working with many local Community Based Organisations (CBOs). By sharing information and resources, they are able to find out which migrant schools and communities are in the most need of clean water or power. By supporting existing infrastructure and understanding the social and cultural complexities of the region, Solbakken’s projects are effective and long-lasting. The communities affected take pride, ownership, and responsibility of the finished water or power system.
During the coming months, Solbakken’s cross-border program will be surveying nine clinics and one school in rural Karen State, Burma. Power for these remote clinics is critical as access to medical facilities is extremely limited and performing medical procedures by candlelight is far from favorable. By working closely with local communities and providing clean water and solar power to these outlying villages, Solbakken hopes to have a large positive impact on the lives of many along the Thai-Burma border region.
Written by Nick Powers – Project Manager – Solbakken
To check out our collaborative project with Solbakken, click here.