Operating in the Pak Song region of Thailand, the Thai Child Development Foundation (TCDF) supports special needs children and young adults in several capacities. First, through their school which provides a range of classes including for the older students’ skill capacity building. Secondly, medical care and lastly social support programs.
The long-term objective of TCDF is to be self-sustainable by 2025 and an important component in achieving this goal will be their farm operations. Their farming operation currently includes a range of fruit trees such as coconut and banana, vegetable gardens, a mushroom farm and egg production.
In addition to selling the produce at the local market, what is grown and the eggs feed the school children plus all the guest who stay at their eco resort. Eco-Logic Resort is the major revenue stream for TCDF and is a family-friendly resort that focuses on nature, yoga, wellness as well as volunteering at TCDF.
As demonstrated above, the farm operations are critical to TCDF and touch on every aspect of the organisation.
Water Management Needs
The farms’ current water system can be characterised by broken irrigation pipes due to crossing neighbouring properties to reach TCDF, shallow wells and a lack of proper water storage.
The focus of the work BBS is supporting, which is also the focus of the GlobalGiving campaign, is the creation of a comprehensive water management system.
BBS along with an internationally recognised Australian irrigation company, created a water management system that will address their current challenges and manage future requirements as they expand their farm. Special attention has been paid to ensure that the water system will be easy to operate (allowing TCDF staff to be trained on monitoring and managing routine maintenance) and will rely on easily accessible and less expensive domestic parts. Care was taken during the planning process to avoid future situations where importing replacement components from overseas was required because of the cost and the potential downtime of the system which during the dry season could lead to untold crop damage.
In addition to the Australian firm, a Thai irrigation motor company will be conducting an on-site visit to TCDF to reconfirm the feasibility of the drafted plan and also to provide feedback/ideas to improve what is designed.
Two Current Challenges
Drought – Thailand has encountered one of its most severe and long-lasting droughts in decades. The result is that whatever water was stored has now used up in the care of the trees and gardens. Some rain has been reported the week of April 27 which should provide some temporary relief.
COVID-19 – The outbreak of COVID-19 lead to the Thai government closing all schools as well as tourist hotels and resorts, a double impact on TCDF. The current government plans have a tentative reopening date for resorts in early July although that timeframe does seem optimistic and is being closely monitored. In addition, the Thai government has prohibited internal travel which means that we need to wait for the Thai corporate partner to go to TCDF for the feasibility survey.
Progress is Happening!
In spite of the above two challenges, progress is being made!
A plot of land on a recently acquired mountain side piece of property has been cleared and will be the home to more fruit tree saplings including the addition of several new varieties. Planted trees include black pepper, coconut, coffee and banana. This newly tiered property is included in the draft system and the greatest challenge will be moving the water uphill in an economical way. Until the system is implemented, a temporary water storage tank and drip pipes have been set up on the hill top for the saplings.
Water testing was completed, and the results indicate that the current wells can indeed be drilled out that the quality of water is very high.
As mentioned, a Thai partner to provide the on-site support was secured. While the original plan was for the work to be done by the Australian organisation as part of their CSR work, due to COVID-19 and the bush fires in Australia this is no longer possible. The Thai partner will now step in and take over the installation.
As soon as the government allows internal travel, arrangements will be made for the Thai partner to complete the feasibility visit, report back and then incorporate any changes and/or recommendations. Following that, the implementation timeline will be established and the necessary equipment including pumps and pipelines will be ordered.
Your Donation at Work
All donations received by BBS for this project are earmarked to support the purchase the irrigation motors, storage tanks and pipelines. While the feasibility review still needs to be completed, the anticipated first purchase will be a PS2-1800 Solar Pump for the newly excavated mountainside property. A follow-up summary of the on-site visit will be reported back to all donors in future
Future Home to New Fruit Trees
Before Work Started
Careful Measurements for Future Saplings
Work Underway for the Future Fruit Trees