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Ban Mok Cham

The hills are alive...

Ban Mok Cham, Thailand

When the Maekok River in northern Thailand formed an oxbow lake, the bustling hill-tribe village of Ban Mok Cham found itself cut off from its main source of trade. Their response was to set up a cultural centre to keep their Shan traditions alive and to attract visiting school groups to share their culture.

After hearing that they wanted to develop a music programme, Musequality gave them a grant to build a performance centre (pictured) and buy instruments. The centre was officially opened at a blessing ceremony in December 2008, and earlier this year a party from the village travelled down the river into Burma to buy instruments from a Shan specialist maker. More instruments are now being made for the project locally.

Ban Mok ChamThe children regularly perform for visitors on a range of traditional instruments, including guitars, violins, drums, a xylophone-type instrument with bells, and cymbals.

After Musequality made its original grant, a generous benefactor gave a donation to fund teachers’ salaries on the project for three years. A music teacher currently visits Mok Cham twice a week to give lessons to 30 students aged 10 to 13.