Help Bring Water to the Thai Child Foundation

by Business for Better Society
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Help Bring Water to the Thai Child Foundation
Help Bring Water to the Thai Child Foundation
Help Bring Water to the Thai Child Foundation
Help Bring Water to the Thai Child Foundation
Help Bring Water to the Thai Child Foundation
Help Bring Water to the Thai Child Foundation
Help Bring Water to the Thai Child Foundation
Help Bring Water to the Thai Child Foundation
Help Bring Water to the Thai Child Foundation
Help Bring Water to the Thai Child Foundation
Help Bring Water to the Thai Child Foundation
Help Bring Water to the Thai Child Foundation
Help Bring Water to the Thai Child Foundation
Help Bring Water to the Thai Child Foundation
Help Bring Water to the Thai Child Foundation
The Work Is Underway!
The Work Is Underway!

It's been a long journey with the Thai Child Development Foundation (TCDF) with a series of hurdles that we never imagined when this project started but we're excited to share today that the water management system is installed at TCDF!

Through the generous support of donors that gave to this project through GlobalGiving and our Australian corporate partner, Irrigear, a customised water solution was created to mechanise providing water to their mountain property, home to a variety of trees such as banana and plants like coffee and black pepper.  These commodities will be sold at local markets and will provide an important income stream for their operations.

When planning the system, Irrigear took into account a few items which they felt were critical for the project:

1.  Had to be manageable by the TCDF team who would be trained on regular maintenance processes and how to troubleshoot.

2. Had to be created using irrigation techniques that were common to Thailand.  A great example of this is the water filter system which uses a sand based technology as opposed to more complex technologies like infra.

3.  Had to be built using components that could be replaced through local suppliers... no expensive parts that needed to be imported.

The water system will now carry water from TCDF's well situated at the base of the mountain, up the mountain through buried irrigation pipe, into a holding tank at the top of the property and then to the plants.  The pumping system, run via solar power, is aligned with their clean energy philosophy and also means no expensive electricity bills.

There were two major hurdles over the course of the project:

1. It took considerable more time than planned to complete the water testing. This was simply because of the remote location of TCDF and the labs were backlogged with high volumes of work to be complete.

2. The COVID pandemic.  Like so many others, the pandemic meant a substantial rethink of the plan as the implementation needed to be shifted to a local team plus the region kept going into a hard lockdown which meant no one was allowed to enter into the Paksong area.

Over the past few months, Thailand has taken cautious small steps to reopening which gave us the window to deliver the equipment and then to get the necessary local approvals for the team to go to their site and get the work done.

What is next? We are currently working with TCDF on creating an important strategic partnership which will be the final piece in the puzzle for their self sustaining goals. 

As with all of the other causes we support, we'll continue to provide updates on the work that's done and its impact plus new news via our Facebook page and Instagram.

On behalf of BBS and the Thai Child Development Foundation, I want to thank everyone for their donations and encouraging words.  Your caring and commitment is truly appreciated!

Thank you.

Trenching for Irrigation Pipeline
Trenching for Irrigation Pipeline
The Solar Station for the Pumps Goes Up
The Solar Station for the Pumps Goes Up
Solar Powered
Solar Powered
Irrigation Pipe Arrives
Irrigation Pipe Arrives

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Solar panels on site
Solar panels on site

This report is meant to be a quick progress check in and to have July 20 marked on your calendar as that is the day the irrigation system at the Thai Child Development Foundation is to be installed!

Leading up to the installation, the equipment has arrived including the solar panels, pipe, filter tank and other pieces.

However, because of the current COVID wave in Thailand there's a number of items that must be addressed in the next couple of weeks and these include:

1. Seeking formal approval from the local authorities for the team to enter the general area.

2. Setting up a "quarantine system" for the team.  They will need to have regular COVID testing and will sleep and eat at TCDF's EcoLodge which is currently closed for guests.

3. The installation team under no circumstances will be allowed to go into the village.

TCDF has already applied for all of the necessary approvals from the local authorities and have prepared the EcoLodge for the team's arrival on July 15.

As the situation in Thailand continues to change daily, we are working quickly and hard towards July 20 and being able to complete all the work before the rainy season.

Water tank and some of the pipe
Water tank and some of the pipe
More equipment ready for the install
More equipment ready for the install
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Engineers Drawing of the Water System
Engineers Drawing of the Water System

Over the last few reports, we've provided insights not only into this project but some of the other activities at the Thai Child Development Foundation (TCDF) as well as the impact of the COVID pandemic on our work in Thailand.

In this report, our goal is to provide some insights into the technical side of the water management system which will be implemented as soon as the current COVID lockdown is lifted.

This project faced several technical challenges and one of the biggest was to provide a system that allowed for movement of the water from TCDF's well, situated at the base of a mountain, up the mountain to a newly cleared and planted land plot. This new plot contains a number of fruit trees and plants ranging from coffee to black pepper to bananas and all require a consistent amount of water.

The other challenge was to provide a solution that could be easily managed by TCDF's team, didn't require expensive replacement parts that might be difficult to source later on and was energy efficient.

As many of you may recall, the original plan was crafted by our Australian corporate partner following a visit to the site in pre-COVID times. The plan's water filter system was then adjusted by local water system experts to reflect local conditions. It is unfortunate that our Australia partner will not be able to participate in building out what they created but we're very grateful that the local engineering team has agreed to step in to help not only now but down the road when called upon.

Technically speaking, the system will utilise solar power to operate the pumps, a tank filter system, submersible pump and storage tanks situated at the top of the mountain.  From the top, using sprinklers and drip pipes the water will reach the trees and plants. We're including with this report a copy of the engineering team's design to show how all of the pieces connect to create the overall system.

We can also confirm that all of the components noted in the drawing have replacement pieces readily available in Thailand!

Next steps?  As soon as the current lockdown is lifted all of the components will be transported from the warehouse to TCDF's site and the build out will begin.  At the time of writing this report we don't have a clear end of lockdown date but news and reports coming from the country would indicate in five weeks. 

For now, we send our best wishes for the health and safety of everyone in Thailand and that soon we’ll be able to share pictures with all of you of the work underway!

Project Aerial View
Project Aerial View
A Second Aerial View
A Second Aerial View
Engineers Drawing of the Solar Panels
Engineers Drawing of the Solar Panels
The Filter Tanks in the System
The Filter Tanks in the System
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Aerial View of the Paksong Region of Thailand
Aerial View of the Paksong Region of Thailand

2021 brings fresh beginnings and renewed hope for a better year for all. 

We want to start this project report with an update on the pandemic in Thailand and the impact as it relates to the Thai Child Development Foundation (TCDF).  Earlier this month, the Thai Government announced that schools would be closed until January 31st in 28 of the hardest hit provinces in the latest wave of the virus and this does include the Paksong region where TCDF is located.

In addition to the school closure, TCDF's EcoLodge must remain closed to tourists and in general the region has restricted movement which means that until the Government gives its okay that any work on implementation of the water management system cannot take place.

However, preparation for the implementation phase has continued and specifically discussions were held with several of the world’s largest irrigation equipment suppliers with the hope of receiving an equipment donation to help reduce the overall costs.  We are delighted to share that we have been able to secure an in-kind donation for the necessary pump, controller and solar panels for the project and the funds raised through GlobalGiving will be allocated specifically to the filters and a perimeter wall for the property.  

Meanwhile, TCDF continues to serve the children, families and villages in the region through their medical care and social support programming.  Their medical care work includes a nutritional program for children in need, physiotherapy for disabled children and medicine and check-ups by specialists.

From a revenue generating perspective, TCDF continues to sell their handmade soaps, herbal teas, fruits and vegetables within the greater region.  Once the Government re-open the region for tourism the priority will be preparing the Eco-Lodge for visitors.

We want to send our best wishes for 2021 and thanks again to those that have supported the Thai Child Development Foundation and this project.  TCDF is committed to becoming self-sustaining within the next three years and this project will be central to helping the attain this goal.

Mount Neverrest TCDF Drone View
Mount Neverrest TCDF Drone View
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Mandatory Temperature Checks
Mandatory Temperature Checks

We are delighted to share that the Thai Child Development Foundation’s school for special needs students has reopened and is welcoming back students!

For the past 6+months, TCDF's social programs remained open but the non-emergency house visits and hospital visits were postponed due to the pandemic. With the area reopening, one of the biggest challenges lies in visiting all schools and village healthcare stations and reacting to their emergency needs. TCDF is expecting an increased demand for their medical care program and the home outreach programs.

One of the biggest obstacles moving forward for TCDF is the loss in revenue as their Ecologic resort for charity is closed and we will not have any visitors for at least a year. The revenue loss is two-fold: first the loss in sales of the farm produce due to closure of the restaurant and secondly the significant decrease in new small sponsors coming from visitors who have witnessed the power small donations can make and became part of the monthly Friends program.

What TCDF benefits from is low overhead costs and the proactive, flexible and creative approach they’ve adopted to meeting the challenges from the pandemic and accompanying Thai economic crisis. An example of this creativity is while the school was closed, the teachers changed jobs and worked in the garden every day! Composting and mulching the young trees, digging the water gutters, putting in water drips and making staircases for the students to easily walk uphill after the reopening of the school. The thousands of fruit trees are too young to bear fruit but the farm did provide the team with plenty of organic vegetables, fish and eggs. At the end of the day the produce would be sold at the gate to local people who ordered via Facebook. While this revenue stream doesn’t offset the losses from Ecologic, it certainly carried TCDF through the pandemic!

Now that the school is reopened, young adults with disabilities are able to return and continue their occupational training program. TCDF is currently tapping into new markets to sell all the produce the students work on every day. For 2020 the plan was to expand the occupational training programs in order to increase their local sustainability and create solid jobs for the young adults with disabilities. However, like so many others this years plan as well as 2021 is being revised to adapt to the changing global climate.

The water management system plans are also being revised to meet the new global reality as our key partner is unable to travel from Australia for the implementation. Fortunately our corporate partner has several suppliers with operations in Thailand that have stepped forward to fill the gap and help the project continue. After receiving special permission by local authorities to visit the region during the lockdown, a report was issued examining the planned project for viability and to problem solve two challenges regarding water storage.  Pending availability of the teams in Thailand and continued access to the region, planned implementation is for the upcoming dry season which will run into early 2021.  As the timeline is confirmed short project updates will be submitted to keep all of our donors updated.

While this year has been filled with many ups and downs, it has also made us even more grateful for our incredible network of supporters… the donors, volunteers and mentors. Thank you!

These photos are courtesy of TCDF in Thailand.

Workgroups are 5 to 6 Students
Workgroups are 5 to 6 Students
All Precautions Have Been Taken for Entry to TCDF
All Precautions Have Been Taken for Entry to TCDF
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Organization Information

Business for Better Society

Location: Hong Kong - Hong Kong SAR
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Kelly Brantner
Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

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