Andaman Discoveries Blog

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Community Garden

Homegrown is better

Vegetables and herbs are expensive in Ban Lions, as they are typically brought over from the mainland at high markup and transport cost. To demonstrate that locally grown gardens are feasible, over 20 villagers gathered together to clear and till the land for a community garden. Several bags of high-quality soil were brought in from the mainland and mixed in with the sandy local soil. A shade cover was erected to protect the plants from the harsh conditions of the dry season.

The garden will provide herbs for the villagers and color sources for such as turmeric for the tie-dye group. And the mulched remains of plants used for tie-dyeing are used as compost for the garden. Plants in the garden include: lemongrass, ginger, turmeric, long bean, chili, galangal, kariyat, and elephant ear Watering in the dry season will be overseen by the tie-dye group.

Before work on the community garden began, 5 elementary age kids and 5 preschool age kids participated in a “competition” to draw the garden of their dreams and explain why. The children then joined the adults to clear the area, till the soil, and plant the seedlings. After a follow-up weeding session with the Naucrates turtle team, the kids were rewarded with an evening party with project staff and foreign volunteers.

Thanks to Planeterra, Mangrove Action Project, and Naucrates for their partnership on this project.

Labels: , ,


Handicraft Development

Women's empowerment

Started in late 2009, the women’s tie-dye group is highly motivated, and improving rapidly, but still needs some help in capacity development. To jump start their business, we provided a small grant to seed a revolving fund for purchase of fabric. Field staff also provided ongoing business coaching and suggestions for product development. On the technical side, we facilitated preparation of a full color catalogue, price sheet, and web page for the range of products the group makes.

The tie-dye group was also in need of a stable stove for dyeing and a disposal area for the waste from the dying process. Although the process utilizes all natural products, the waste needs to be disposed of in one, well-marked location, not merely poured out onto the earth. We built a drainage area that also serves as a compost pile to mulch the leaves and bark used for dying.

Thanks to Planeterra, Mangrove Action Project, and Naucrates for their partnership on this project.

Labels: , , ,


Conservation in Action

Volunteer activity development

Community members have expressed a desire to host volunteers year-round, and requested help developing activities. At the mangrove study site, we set up a number of plots and transects and developed a detailed monitoring sheet for volunteers. These can be used by short-term visitors in cooperation with village guides. To ensure local understanding and participation, the forms include Thai and English.

Thanks to Naucrates, Planeterra, and Mangrove Action Project for their partnership on this project.

Labels: , , ,


Chickens and Pineapples!

Orphanage gets new chicken coop

The AD staff recently went on a site visit to one of our orphanages just outside of Kura Buri, and we have great news to report! Thanks to the hard work and donations from AD volunteers, this orphanage was able to begin building a new chicken coop that will allow them to not only generate food for the children, but also provide a source of income.

When we visited, the folks were hard at work getting the coops’ ceiling finished so that the volunteers could get their hands dirty the next day painting the walls. We hear the painting party went great, and that the coop will be finished and housing the chickens in no time!

We are also glad to report that the ducks are doing well, and although the bananas didn’t look like they would be ready anytime soon, the pineapples looked just about ready to be eaten by the children, and maybe even some hungry volunteers after a hard days work!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


It's All About the Kids

Helping Students Stay in School

At the end of April, our office was filled with families from nearby villages – parents bringing their children in for our yearly scholarship interviews. This year 14 students graduated high school and are now proceeding to study further for their future!

Andaman Discoveries scholarships provide vital financial support for underprivileged children in the region, allowing them to stay in school. The scholarship helps offset expenses like school uniforms, transportation to school, extra books, and extra tuition for classes like computer studies.

Below is a video from Wilarsinee Klatalay, who has been receiving a scholarship from Andaman Discoveries, and will be graduating from her University next year with a degree in Tourism.


Nearly 100 students, ranging in age from 9 to 24, came to talk about their performance in school and how they see the future. It is amazing to hear about their goals. Some of the students want to be like their parents and become fishermen and women, while others were more interested in higher education.

Jaturong Klatalay, from Tung Dap village, likes reading books and cleaning up the village with his friends when not studying. He wants to be a scientist when he grows up. He sees the effects of climate change, and envisions a future for Thailand where plastic use is reduced, more trees are planted, and the villages are developed. This scholarship helps his career goals by providing stationary, transportation and school uniforms.

Many of the students observed that the world is changing, and the cutting down of the trees is a problem. The solution, they suggested, would be to plant more trees in Thailand.

We would like to thank all of the sponsors for their kind support, and we are also looking for more help. 30 of the students are in need of further sponsorship. If you’re interested, please send us an email.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


ToDo! Award – Andaman Discoveries Does Do!

A Win at ITB Berlin

Andaman Discoveries took home the ToDo! Award for Socially Responsible Tourism at this year's International Tourism Exchange in Berlin (ITB). The award, now in its 16th round, involves an intensive and comprehensive application process and a week-long site visit where every aspect of an organization is carefully analyzed. The other 2 winners this year were community-based tourism projects in Guatemala and Tajikistan.

The Institute for Tourism and Development in Germany has been awarding the ToDo! Award to tour operators and organizations since its creation in 1995. Some 268 projects from about 67 countries and five continents have entered the contest. Approximately 60% of the entries came from developing countries, and 40% from industrialized countries.

34 projects have been awarded the TO DO! prize, 28 of which are projects in developing countries. 1 of which was given to Andaman Discoveries!

Thanks to everyone for all the hard work!

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Volunteering in Thailand

Discovering the Andaman Coast

Sawadee ka, I am Lilia, the newest member of the Andaman Discoveries team! I wanted to introduce myself, and let you know I will be bringing you the newsletter and blogging for the next few months.

A little bit about who I am, and how I got here:

Last year I decided to travel to Thailand, but I wanted to do it while also giving a little something back to the communities I was to visit. One of my main destinations early on was Southern Thailand – famous for its beautiful beaches, rainforests, islands, spicy food, and of course its hospitable people.

I did what anyone would do: I Googled it: “volunteer southern Thailand” and landed on the Andaman Discoveries website. Seeing all of the amazing programs with the orphanages, villages, and schools, I was excited to get more involved. I applied for one of their internships in July of 2010, since I had extensive experience in tourism and interactive marketing, and happened to be in the process of starting a certification program through TIES (The International Ecotourism Society) in Sustainable Tourism Management. By April of 2011 I had arrived in picturesque Kura Buri and had met the wonderful folks at this organization.

Now, one month later, I am completely enchanted by the region’s ecosystems, landscapes, sunsets, and people. I’ve visited Moken villages, national parks, beaches, islands, slept in a floating bungalow on a lake, and seen traditional tie dying – I can’t wait to see what unfolds as I spend more time here.

What’s to come?

One of my main focuses will be to engage you, our dear readers, more by bringing you stories and videos from the field to share the beauty and adventures surrounding this coast!

Please feel free to contact us and let us know what you would like to see more of, as I have come from California with my trusty HD video camera! If you haven’t done so already, please head over to our Facebook Fan Page and “like us” so we can keep you up to date on all of Andaman Discoveries’ recent happenings.

Thanks and hope to hear from you!



Subscribe to Posts [Atom]