Rajani Dhongchai, affectionately known as Mae Aew, and her husband, Piphop Dhongchai, started Moo Baan Dek, an alternative education school for underprivileged children, around the time when Thailand was adopting democracy as its government. Rajani Aew had taught in public schools but didn’t really like it, and was inspired by A.S. Neill’s Summerhill School to do something more for students. Since its conception, their philosophy has been simple–raise children with values of freedom, empowerment, equality, and compassion, and they will become functioning members of a democracy and happier human beings.
Children come to Moo Baan Dek by way of state social workers or charity organizations. Around 150 students live at the site, many of them have been abused, abandoned, and orphaned.
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