Discover Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainability in Thailand

Madelynne Nore Start Date: Nov 16, 2017 - End Date: Jan 9, 2018
  • Cultural Exchange
  • Educational/Research Trip
  • Study/Degree Abroad
  • Thailand

My Travel Story

by: Madelynne Nore Start Date: Nov 16, 2017 - End Date: Jan 9, 2018
  • Cultural Exchange
  • Educational/Research Trip
  • Study/Degree Abroad
Hi there, and welcome to my fundraiser! I'm Madelynne Nore, and I am going to Thailand for a service-learning program: Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainability. I am a senior at Fairhaven College, an interdisciplinary school within Western Washington University with a focus in social change. My focus of study is advocacy, social entrepreneurship, and sustainability.
       I am passionate about my community and involved in many projects. Recently, I helped start the Climate Reality Project Bellingham Chapter with fellow Climate Reality Leaders. Look out for our Chapter Launch Party January 11th (right before I leave for Thailand) with the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy! I have also been in a leadership position for three years for a local music festival, The Subdued Stringband Jamboree. I enjoy playing music and dancing, and am part of a local dance troupe, The Rhythm Belles.
       Thank you for taking the time to read my story, and why this program is important to me.

Why this Program Matters to Me:
       I have learned much about sustainability from the western perspective and this is an amazing opportunity to learn from a completely different perspective: indigenous people in a developing country across the world whose survival depends on the health of the earth. I am excited to experience a community with common values regarding the earth. Mindfulness is a growing trend in this country, but I want to immerse myself in a community where mindfulness is part of everyday life.
       Many of us know the gravity of climate damage, but because we do not immediately feel its effects, we more easily ignore them. The consequences are already being suffered by many of the world’s population, and I am eager to learn how some of these people overcome climate damage and express their resilience.

       I am a sustainability advocate that creatively engages people to get involved with climate damage issues. I aim to amplify courageous acts of service and stories of hope through video. I would love to explore and build relationships with people and cultures around the world, and amplify their stories to help them have a bigger impact.
       I am involved with and plan to work for environmental organizations that help preserve, mitigate, and enhance natural environment. This study abroad opportunity will be a hands-on, in the field experience with grassroots organizations. Throughout my career, I will work with organizations that fund projects similar to what we will do in Thailand. This experience will provide me with a deeper understanding of indigenous peoples’ way of life and a fuller perspective to communicate on behalf of organizations that collaborate with them.

Paying it Forward:
       My hope is to take this experience from act of altruism to a choice for personal enrichment which I intend to share with my community. It’s hard to know what I’ll gain and learn while I’m there, and what I can bring back to share. But, I know I will be so inspired and have lots of ideas while I’m in Thailand. When I return, I will present my experience and what I have gained to the public at a TMI event in Bellingham. Also, as our final project for the course, we will create a Social Action Project Plan in which we will develop a pay-it-forward type of action, service, or product inspired by our experience in Thailand.

Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainability Program:
The Organization:
       The study abroad program is coordinated by The Institute for Village Studies. Their approach is bottom-up, meaning they believe local communities are the experts in their own community development. The Institute’s role is to strengthen and support projects lead by local leaders and organizations. I believe this is the best way to effectively support developing nations.

Key Features:
  • Explore issues of sustainability and social justice in Thailand, with a focus on indigenous and village knowledge and practice
  • Work with grassroots organizations on community development projects
  • Learn about sustainable fishing and conservation with the Moken, one of the few remaining sea nomadic communities worldwide
  • Teach English in a Karen village school
  • Trek in the jungles of Kui Buri National Park, home to over 300 wild elephants
Itinerary & Program Details:
Jan 9-13: Intensive pre-departure orientation in Bellingham. We will gain a basic knowledge of the cultural dynamics, religious traditions, historical patterns, and contemporary issues that contribute to the identities of the communities we visit. As well as learning about ethical travel and examining the ethical and practical questions raised by traveling, working, studying, reporting, and volunteering internationally.
Jan 17: Arrive in Bangkok.
Jan 18-21: Acclimate in Chiang Mai.
Jan 22-Feb 4: Volunteer with IMPECT (Inter Mountain Education and Culture in Thailand Association) at a Mawwakee Village school. Learn about the Karen culture and their struggles to keep it alive.
Feb 6: Travel to Kanchanaburi.
Feb 7-Feb 16: Staying in homestays at Ban Phrat Tat Village. Here we will learn from local community member and immerse ourselves in the culture and language.
Feb 18-28: Ban TapTawan is Moken village. The Moken are one of the last sea-nomadic tribes in the world. We will learn about their traditional way of life and how it is threatened by climate damage and coastal development.
Mar 2-4: Trek Kui Buri National Park, and hopefully see some elephants!
Mar 6: Depart Bangkok/arrive Seattle.
Mar 12-23: Post-Trip Seminar/Public Presentations.

Thank You!
       I am so grateful for your support! Anything you can contribute will be a great help. I’m also looking for some non-monetary contributions, things I can borrow for the trip such as a backpacking pack, steri-pen, mosquito net, platypus water bottle, etc. These items are posted in the "Adventure Registry" section of this page. If you have any of these items, please let me know, and I can put your name down as a sponsor!
       Thanks for taking the time to read my story. I would greatly appreciate your help with getting the word out as well! Please share my link (link) to your Facebook Timeline. And stay tuned for updates and more fun details about the program!

Madelynne Nore
  • Thailand


  • Meet The Moken People Of Thailand And Myanmar

    Meet the Moken People of Thailand and Myanmar

Adventure Registry

  • Steri-Pen

  • Platypus Water Bottle

  • Universal Power Adapter

  • Mosquito Net

  • Solar Charger

  • Backpacking Pack

  • Day Pack

  • Travel Pillow

  • Light Sleeping Bag