The Life Development Center Ministries/Projects
Many human development projects all over the world are harming the environment. They use up precious resources vital to our survival on this earth. The LDC realizes that these natural resources are an essential part of life for all, so we have turned our efforts to not only human development, but environmental conservation as well. All of our projects are initiated to improve communities without harming the environment. We welcome volunteers from around the world to participate in implementing these projects and to make lifelong connections with the hill tribe people
The LDC has created a demonstration farm to show the positive effects of organic farming. Many pesticides and fertilizers are causing health and environment problems throughout Thailand and many other countries around the world. Not only are pesticides causing problems for the environment, but they are also causing health problems for the farmers and surrounding communities.
We hope that this farm will promote and inspire villagers to learn about and adopt organic principles into their own farms. Although farmers will have to put in extra labor in the beginning, organic farming will save money in the long run and protect natural resources like land, water, air, plants, and animals from the harmful effects of agrochemicals. In order to sustain this project and encourage villager participation, it is important to increase the villagers’ understanding of the dangers of agrochemicals. When the farmers see the productivity of organic farming, they will know that the principles behind organic farming will, over time, save them time, money, and land.
Agrotourism and voluntourism programs
Through the organic farm, the LDC is able to support ecotourism, agrotourism and voluntourism programs. We invite you to visit our organic garden and self-sufficient study center at the Meakon village. It is located in the valley with a beautiful view of the surrounding nature and tribal communities—Lisu, Lahu, Shan, Karen, and Thai. This garden boasts 30 kinds of organic fruits and vegetables, quiet and comfortable cottages, private rooms, and a conference room all nestled in the midst of the beautiful mountains of Northern Thailand. You can also visit the different tribal communities within a three kilometer area. The village is located only an hour and a half outside of Chiang Mai and 20 kilometers from the Burmese border. The location is perfect for endless adventures including trekking, bamboo rafting, hot springs, and nature parks. This is the perfect vacation to escape the crazy world around you and enjoy the hills of Northern Thailand, and while you vacation, you can support the neighboring villages and our organic farm project.
Women’s development and empowerment projects
We have established five women’s groups in Northern Thailand in order to promote and encourage women’s rights and empowerment. Women in the hill tribes are often considered inferior to men, but being informed of their human rights within the context of their community can make a big difference in how they see themselves and how they are treated by others. We foster situations in which women become empowered among other women, making sure that they learn their rights in settings that are healthy instead of in settings that may instigate conflict with their husbands or other male tribal members.
Women’s groups provide a platform for the women to help their community, improving the hill tribe women’s competency, responsibility, social accountability, and role in society. These groups are forging a new path for women in the hill tribe communities: many community positions are now held by women, an occurrence unheard of in the past. Women’s groups are actively engaged in different development activities for example doing handicrafts, organic farming, and involving in different social and environment problems solution programs with many other organizations and local officers.
We are helping some tribal communities establishing community sustainable development project models and learning centers such as in Pai area we helped
- Establishing community service center at Baanmaisahasamphan village in Pai district, Meahongson province.
- Developing organic garden to be self sufficient and environment conservation learning center for villagers, volunteers, school students and visitors
- Strengthening community groups and local Christian churches
- Establishing agrotourism and voluntourism programs
We would like to expand our environmentally friendly income generating projects to many other tribal communities. These projects are beneficial because they help the environment, improve villagers’ living conditions, and support the community’s economy. We would also like to maintain the existing community groups and children’s development projects. As a result of our effort, some women’s groups and one local Christian church leaders’ group have been formed and developed for networking and promoting positive behavior in the surrounding communities. We use these community groups as a springboard for new projects. Without their help it would be impossible for us to reach as many people in remote areas. As we build up competency and social accountability within these groups, we can then enlist them to participate in project implementation and evaluation. We encourage them to be involved in evaluating and solving social and environmental problems. We want to see church groups become self-ministered. We want the community to demonstrate God’s invisible and intangible love and care by being a visible and tangible form of that love.
Community involvement has been the key to our success. Working with uneducated people can be extremely difficult and takes time and effort, but after a decade of effort, we have learned that many people are becoming important agents for change in their community. With their influence, we have been able to promote gender equality, church development, and environmental conservation; direct HIV/AIDS and drug prevention campaigns; and implement a cooperative social response in the communities. The more people that get involved, the more areas and issues we can cover. Community involvement and social engagement are very important for establishing ownership and sustainability for the projects.
Due to a lack of funding, we are not able to maintain all of the projects we initiated in the past decade. We are very concerned about the sustainability of our organization, our current projects, and the environment. The LDC has relied on outsourcing for financial support over the last decade. Due to the worldwide economic crisis and a shortage of support, we have learned that we can no longer depend on outside sources to fund the LDC. That is why we must create economically sustainable projects, so the LDC can be a self-supported organization and maintain the projects we have begun. If we do not survive as an organization, many tribal communities’ projects will also fail to survive. For these reasons we would like to focus on creating environmentally friendly income generating projects. We welcome any donations. A little bit of help can go a long way in helping these hill tribe communities