volunteering and trekking with The Mirror Foundation

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Ecotours

Ecotours (18)

Our treks, homestays and day trips, are all aimed at promoting a fair and sustainable method of tourism. The money paid by tourists quite often goes into the pockets of agents, with only a nominal amount passed on to the villagers. A lack of knowledge, and sometimes interest, by agents compounds the problems as misinformation is presented as fact. Added to this, many agencies have no connection to the villages they send tourists into, resulting in the tourist feeling akin to voyeur.

 

The Mirror Foundation's Ecotours project attempts to resolve these issues. We train and hire guides from the homestay villages, we teach them English and Japanese, we provide a fair price for the families and guides, and we use supplies bought locally - all of these methods helps to maintain the culture, increase pride, and retain money in the local economy.

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Dinner and Dance programmes

Dinner and Dance programmes (2)

Our Dinner and Dance options gives you the opportunity to experience traditional dances from two of the many hilltribes based in northern Thailand. The Akha and the Lahu dance for different reasons - Akha dance at the end of the day as a communal event, while the Lahu tend to reserve their dances for more ceremonial occasions.

In the full day itinerary, we include a 2 hour elephant ride up to the remote village of Ban Yafu, an animist Lahu hilltribe community. On the walk down from Ban Yafu, relax at a local waterfall for half an hour, before heading to Ban Jalae for dinner - local recipes cooked in the authentic way - and traditional dancing.

Don't forget to bring your dancing shoes... um, dancing flip flops...!

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Craftmaking courses

Craftmaking courses (1)

The traditional crafts of the hilltribes, along with many other minority cultures, are in real danger of disappearing. It only takes a couple of generations to skip learning the techniques, and the whole tradition is lost forever. With the village youth migrating to the cities, either by desire or necessity, the chances of retaining the traditions reduce dramatically.

Part of The Mirror Foundation's work is to instill pride of heritage and culture into the youngsters of the hilltribes. Part of the work is also to give the same generation the practical skills, education and knowledge to make it financially possible, and desirable, to learn these techniques themselves.

With these courses, we have the ability to do this - by offering courses in the traditional crafts, the financial incentive for youngsters to learn the skills from the ageing artisans is very real. By seeing that these crafts are interesting to people from the wider world, who are willing to pay money to train and learn, youngsters will be encouraged to take up the mantle.

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