Community Network – Profiles from the Field

Roliyah Chanchu, Muang Kluang Muslim Homestay

Roliyah Chanchu, or Ja Ya as her friends call her, is a member of the Muslim Homestay group in Muang Kluang village. In the past, visitors to nearby Laem Son National Park would drive through Muang Kluang but did not have an opportunity to learn about the local communities or interact with them in any way. Concerned that an influx of park visitors may threaten or affect their local way of life, locals decided to offer homestay accommodation as a way to reach out to park visitors and generate mutual understanding. Members of the Homestay Club take pride in sharing their way of life with guests, including the natural world on which it depends.
“Doing homestay gives me a chance to make new friends, and it is fun” said Ja Ya.
Ja Ya notes that a focus on local style made it affordable to join the Club, as she already had a clean home with a guest room.
“There was no need to invest anything but my time and energy” she pointed out.
Ja Ya’s whole family gets involved in the homestay process. Her daughters help cook food, including fresh fish caught by her husband, while her son plays with guests after school.
Asked about other benefits of community tourism, Ja Ya observes that even though the income she receives from homestays is not significant, she has learned a great deal from study trips with the N-ACT network. Having visited a number of communities that exemplified sustainable development, Ja Ya has separations bin for wet and dry garbage and recycling. She is also exploring how to make her own bio-fertilizer.