Current Surin Island Projects
Plastic pollution is a global problem that has reached the remote Surin islands as well. Sorting trash and implement responsible ways of disposing it is the most recent project. We have employed five Moken on monthly salaries to collect ocean plastics (trash that reaches the islands on ocean currents) on two days of the week and work in the village on the remaining four days of the week. At the end of each month, long-tail boats will transfer all trash off the islands to a local recycle station on the mainland where our partners are currently finding solutions to process all ocean trash. In February 100 kilo trash was collected and sorted around the Surin islands.
At the moment #1 plastics (PET) are sold to a Thailand based fashion company “EcoAlf” who recycles it into clothing. #3 and #5 plastics are sold to a swiss company that makes wristbands for watches.
We believe that plastic pollution on Koh Surin ends up as a local problem, but is largely cased by outside forces such. Tourists, who generate waste during their visit to the islands, are equally responsible for supporting sustainable waste management, as are the companies who provide tours. We hope to make this Moken-led waste management effort something that the global travel community can support through donations. This donation can be considered a “tip” for the environment. Clean beaches and healthy reefs will be the long term effect of this project. If you have enjoyed the Surin islands, please donate here for the environmental maintenance.
Strengthen the Moken community by supporting local infrastructure. We are currently helping to introduce a system of communication within the village. Moken used to live in small groups where decision making happened informally. Now they are forced to live in one place as a large group and lack the infrastructure of group organization. We are looking for ways to help the process of establishing regular village meetings to address topics of rights, laws and regulations as well as the management of tourism and waste management.
Sustain Moken knowledge by including it in the school curriculum. As the only Moken with a university degree, we are lucky to have Kaeng as a teacher at the school on Surin. Together we are exploring ways to employ Moken elders to teach Moken songs and music. Medicinal herbs and the making of fishing tools are other possible workshops. We also have a request going to build one more Kabang the traditional way. Whereas in the old days the Moken men would join forces to help each other to build a boat, nowadays the only way that a group of men can take “time off” to build a Kabang is to provide for salaries and pay for material costs.
Andaman Discoveries is a social enterprise working with the Moken since 2004 to provide livelihoods assistance, cultural empowerment, and support for the Moken Tourism Team.
They also provide scholarships to children from Koh Surin attending school on the mainland, where they live with family members but lack day to day funds. Have a look at the note of Wilarsinee Klatalay, a graduated Moken woman, who received a scholarship for her Bachelor Degree in Tourism. Please contact Andaman Discoveries for more details on supporting scholarships for Moken children, including Khao Niow, the clever girl pictured to the right.
In cooperation with the Moken Tourism Team, Andaman Discoveries also offers tours to Koh Surin.
Andaman Pilot Project
The Andaman Pilot Project of Chulalongkorn University has been working to address the challenges of the Moken, and as a result, Koh Surin has been nominated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Andaman Pilot Project is creating livelihood and tourism opportunities based on Moken practices and beliefs, while contributing to their social and economic wellbeing. The Chok Madah Nature-Culture Trail is an example of how the project aims to integrate society, economy, environment and culture of the Moken for their direct benefit.
Please contact them to learn how you can support their work in community development, human rights, and anthropology.
Childline Thailand Foundation (CTF)
The Childline Thailand Foundation, with support from Plan International, is facilitating a five year project to assist the Moken. The project’s objectives are to create a multilateral stakeholder forum; secure the legal status of all the children on the island and improve the island’s education system, access to health and welfare services, and employment opportunities. In cooperation with Andaman Discoveries. Childine has provided ongoing support for the Moken Tourism Team through trainings, pilot tours, and this website.
Project Moken was founded by a creative team of filmmakers and designers whose main objective is to inspire and generate enthusiasm about the Moken Sea Nomads. Project Moken uses films, interactive productions and eco tourism to invite people to view the world through Moken eyes. Have a look at their website and find out where the next screening of their amazing film “No Word for Worry”, will take place which features the life of Moken Hook Klatale. They have also organized a freedive trip with the Moken in cooperation with Freedive UK.
Thom Henley’s In Touch With Nature Education
Thom Henley, author of “The Courage of the Sea” offers 8-day study adventures across southern Thailand. Students are invited to renew their ancient connection to the land, their food sources in education and fun-filled ways. The study tours may include a visit to the Surin islands. Have a look at Thom Henleys’ website for more information around study adventures and also his newly published book in which he retells stories from the Moken.
N-ACT, the North Andaman Community Tourism network, is creating strong villages and a healthy environment through tours that contribute to the local way of life and protect the environment.
Mangrove Action Project
The Mangrove Action Project, MAP, is dedicated to reversing the degradation and loss of mangrove forest ecosystems worldwide. Its main goal is to promote the rights of traditional and indigenous coastal peoples, including fishermen and farmers, to sustainably manage their coastal environment. MAP has supported the guide trainings of the Moken Tourism Team.
Mercy Center Koh Lao
The Mercy Centre supports children’s rights in various places of Thailand. Read about their work with the Moken from Koh Lao here. Find their article “The Old Man and the Sea, and his Granddaughter” here.
Further information Links