The Dindang Natural Building Center aims to promote the natural and traditional techniques of clay house building in the area of Phato in southern Thailand.
The organization was set up in the year 2007 and works with both Thai and international volunteers in order to realize its current goal: to set up an educational center where all those interested in natural building techniques can find information and share knowledge.
DinDang is a Thai word, it means: red soil. And red soil is what we use for building.
Dindang was set up by Bow (full name: Rewat Thongbunchu) – born in Nakhorn Si Thammarat province in 1980. “Before starting Dindang I had already worked on clay house building for 2 years. I am really passionate about it! A lot of people are interested in natural building, but there aren’t many places to go: it is difficult to find information or to participate in a workshop. This is why I would like to set up an educational center. In these times of economical and environmental challenges, natural building offers a sustainable solution for people without much money. Building a house by yourself teaches you about your abilities and potential: you are not dependent on other people or expensive materials - all you need comes from nature. You can experiment to find that lots of things from the local area can be used.” Bow works together with volunteers from Thailand, Japan and various European countries in order to realize the goals of Dindang. Since its foundation already around 60 volunteers have come to Phato to participate. Some join the group for one or two weeks, others stay as long as six months!
Dindang is located in a small village called Paksong - within the Phato district (Chumpon province) in the south of Thailand. The village is about 40 km away from the city of Ranong and has only a few hundred inhabitants. Most people work on one of the many small plantations in the area, growing fruits, palm trees, rubber trees etc. The village is surrounded by mountains, waterfalls and vast areas of natural and green rainforest.
Dindang was set up in the year 2007 with the assistance of the Thai Child Development Foundation (TCDF). This organization has been active in the Phato area since 2003 and continues to give support to Dindang. During its first year Dindang has started to build some clay houses on the TCDF premises: in order to experiment with the various techniques and to have some example houses for the project of the coming years. From the start Dindang has been an informal organization, working mainly with volunteers.
Current and Future Plans
The main goal for the first five years is to develop the natural building educational center. Dindang will set up buildings to work in and collect information about clay building methods and the environment in the form of leaflets, books, CDs and models. The center will acquire the materials needed for clay building workshops and gather Thai as well as foreign volunteers to help and learn.
Currently Bow and various volunteers are working on completing the example clay houses on the TCDF premises. Up to year five Dindang will focus on setting up the educational center. This also involves working with schools, the local community and the local government - and inviting them to participate in one of the workshops. After five years the center will continue to be an open place for everyone who is interested in natural building. In addition Dindang aims to organize an increasing number of projects in the local area, such as a workshop to build a library for one of the local schools.
In the coming years Dindang hopes to benefit from its recently established relationship with the local government. After a delegation from the Phato district government visited Dindang last August, the natural building educational center and the clay house building methods were recognized as part of the ‘local knowledge’ of the area. This means the local government is interested in supporting Dindang in its efforts to share and promote the techniques of clay house building. Local officials will help contacting schools, encourage them to participate in workshop, and bring people to the center.
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