A Place for Sponsored Children to Grow in Thailand

Tha Sala Learning Center in southern Thailand is a place for sponsored children and families to grow. This story originally appeared in Holt’s spring 2018 sponsorship magazine. 

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Walking through the gates of Tha Sala Learning Center is like stepping into a greenhouse with no walls.

The warm, thick air smells wonderfully of earthy soil and sweet flowering plants. Black-and-white spotted butterflies flutter through it — catching your eye as you walk, dodging around long-hanging vines and shady fruit trees. But plants aren’t all that grow here.

“Tha Sala Learning Center in southern Thailand is a place for children and families to grow.”

Tha Sala Learning Center in southern Thailand is a place for children and families to grow. This three-and-a-half-acre property is a shared community garden, summer camp and community center all rolled into one. In this impoverished rural community where so many families subsist on instant noodles and pre-packaged food rather than fresh fruits and vegetables, the learning center is a place where Holt-sponsored children and their families learn to cultivate and cook healthy food, work together to accomplish tasks and be part of a vibrant, healthy community.

On this particular Saturday in May, 21 Holt-sponsored children and their mothers have volunteered to do gardening work at the center — with lots of life lessons, learning and fun hidden within each task.

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