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Akha Human Rights - Akha University
 
 
 
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Frequently Asked Questions

·  1. What do you mean by helping the hill tribe?
·  2. Why does the culture and heritage need preserving?
·  3. How will you accomplish that?
·  4. How is the culture in danger?
·  5. Why is the culture important to western society?
·  6. Why should you donate?
·  7. What is your job name and description?
·  8. What do you do?
·  9. What do volunteers do?
·  10. What is money needed for?
·  11. Why should someone be a donor?

·  1. What do you mean by helping the hill tribe?
A. This year:
We assist the Akha on the community level not only with humanitarian aid but with promotion of their traditional culture during a time when they are being pressured by outsiders to abandon it.
We provide leadership aid by holding meetings and traveling to many villages to discuss the issues effecting the community.
Started a leadership community among the Akha.
We seek funding for water systems.
Develop Akha books.
Seek additional books to be translated into Akha language.
Make contact between police, army and government officials to solve disputes.
Make contact with Thai NGO's to alleviate village to government problems.
Make contact with international lawyers and organizations in seeking humanitarian aid and human rights assistance.
Developed the first stage of a fish hatchery.
Published an English To Akha handbook.
Published an Akha alphabet book.
Developed an Akha Children's book.
Helped preserve a 10,000 rai tract of traditional farm land that was under threat of seizure by forestry officials.
Improved village roads and trails.
Established a 100,000 plant coffee project in one village.
Investigated the murders of Akha men and brought an official investigation, which is still ongoing.
This generated an Amnesty report for Thailand.
Located our office to the mountain villages from its previous in town location.
Started an Akha language school.
Began work on an Akha cotton and weaving project.
Including making an Akha cotton seed remover.
Distributed first aid care and coffee seeds to Akha villages.
Watch for potential village relocations.
Consulting on village security
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·  2. Why does the culture and heritage need preserving?
A. Akha culture is uniquely intertwined with great care for the environment, clearly defines village functions and provides a legal system for village disputes. Since the Akha receive little to no government aid, assistance to record their traditions for the use of future generations is needed from outside. Knowledge of the culture and traditions gives tools of survival to the young people, many of them displaced by government policy.
B. A strong traditional culture helps them maintain their traditional farm lands and farming techniques, food security, traditional medicines and healing systems, clean water, community intermarriage.
C. Loss of the culture leads to an increase in mortality, crime and community break up. Decreases food security and nutrition. Leads to an increase in prostitution and drug use, and imprisonment.
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·  3. How will you accomplish that?
A. We accomplish this by holding meetings with the Akha to find out what they want, then developing a plan of action for how we will assist in that. We encourage further meetings, language and culture discussions, visit the villages during times of festivities or ceremonies to encourage these, develop Akha language books. We assist the villages with humanitarian needs such as first aid care, blankets, vitamins. We travel with skilled elders to villages that do not have any to assist in education, providing the transportatin and organizing the event. We address other pressures on the villages such as extra judicial killings and other human rights abuses.
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·  4. How is the culture in danger?
A. The Akha are not trying to abandon or give up their culture, but policies of the government stress their communities and pressure them to assimilate against their will. When assimilating into Thai society they would only enter at the lowest economic position where they work as low paid laborers or prostitutes.
Missionaries of many varieties are trying very hard through the use of division and deception to convince the Akha that their culture is evil and that they should give it up, that they should give up their songs, stories, dances, dress, law and history, right down to how they name their children. If it is Akha they should give it up, their entire identity. We think this is morally wrong.
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·  5. Why is the culture important to western society?
A. Western culture seeks to find ways to preserve the environment as it comes under greater pressure and to find new models of healing illnesses.
B. The Akha have a clearly sustainable social model, put little stress on natural resources, maintain good food security without transport, do not require complex manufacturing, toxins or antibiotics. Their model is also excellent for custody of the rapidly shrinking south east asian tropical forest.
C. The Akha have a good model of governance that is community centered.
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·  6. Why should you donate?
A. The Akha are good partners in the ecology effort and a worthwhile investment as custodians of the environment in their regions.
B. The Akha like any other society can benefit from aid that would help them protect their communities from erosion and maintain good health institutions. Damage done by one outside group can be restored by careful planning to its healthy position.
C. The Akha should have the choice to keep or give up their culture if they so choose, not something that is forced on them.
D. They Akha have a right to identity cards and all the protections of international law.
E. Healthy communities are a wise investment because unhealthy communities develop costly social problems and endanger the environment around them.
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·  7. What is your job name and description?
A. Field worker, Director
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·  8. What do you do?
A. I do all the field work in Thailand as well as organize the administration of the organization.
B. Village visits, first aid care, computer work, book development, vehicular repairs, village meetings, and local or international advocacy.
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·  9. What do volunteers do?
A. Volunteers help with village projects, planning, printed materials development, fundraising
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·  10. What is money needed for?
A. Books, blankets, wells, schools, teacher salaries, first aid materials, seeds, fruit trees
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·  11. Why should someone be a donor?
A. To assist with these needs etc.
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Copyright 1991 The Akha Heritage Foundation