Fellow Since 1998
Under Tree School Project
This profile was prepared when Sathorn Sompong was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 1998.
The New Idea
Sathorn Sompong has built an alternative community based education program that focuses on developing the "inner qualities" of children, and encourages them to "think and act freely." His program consists of an educational camp for children, known as Kloom LukYang, run in conjunction with local communities, including monks and naturalists from local parks, and also includes a study center which is designed for individuals to come and study educational, environmental and cultural issues. The non-formal education program which Sathorn has developed includes many components, from student associations, to camping excursions, to occupational training, to study tours and training. Sathorn has arranged to bring young children from villages to participate in nature studies, that includes arts and crafts projects, nature walks, and short and longer term camping among other activities. A cornerstone of the program is outdoor meditation exercises, which allow students to begin a process of reflection on themselves and their environment. The LukYang camp also emphasizes study tours and experiential training in traditional arts and culture, as well as exploring career options for young children, through vocational training and other exercises. The Study Center under development aims to provide vocational training for women and children from throughout the southern region, to host seminars, meetings and conferences on educational issues, and to serve as a resource for cultural studies.