The Community Center in Ban Talae Nok has become central to village life. The center provides a myriad of services - a meeting space, vocational training, aerobics, community-based tourism, handicraft production, and many more. Upcoming activities in the center include English lessons, summer camp for kids, and a waste management project. Through it all, the Soap Group continues to cook up wonderful smelling batches of herbal soap. They have used the community center as a production space for almost two years now, and have recently opened a small craft shop that also includes batik and other goods made in Ban Talae Nok.
After searching for over a year, NATR has found a well qualified manager for the center who is also a Ban Talae Nok Resident. Cha, one of NATR's graduated ACE Experts, maintains good relations with the other villagers to ensure the programs reflect their needs. Cha has a very clear vision for the center - and is developing it into a community information and education center. This will include night classes for adults to obtain high-school diplomas and a display center for village enterprises, including soap, batik, and community-based tourism.
Cha has already sprung into action, hosting a community meeting in which the villagers requested training in homestay techniques, and giving a presentation to a room full of government officials and academics. When not busy with her other projects, Cha is also a guide for the community based tourism program, and has supervised the construction of two traditional wooden boats for use in the mangroves.