Because "water" is the main factor in the living of all things to nurture life to grow up, World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) and Ford Motor Company (Thailand) Limited have developed the water resources to Ban Panmor School. In addition to bring moisture to the school’s soil, the water resources development is also a source of wisdom for children in a small opportunity expansion school which situated in the Thai-Cambodian border area, Pong Nam Ron district, Chanthaburi province.
Agriculture for Lunch is a Natural Classroom of Students
“There are 481 students in Ban Panmor School and the majority of them are from the famer families and there are 103 children have benefited from the Child Sponsorship Programme pursued by World Vision Foundation of Thailand. The children have health problems because of lack of nutritious food and clean drinking water. In addition, some students don’t have a chance to have higher education after graduation from grade 9 due to the family poverty. As a consequence of having less education, many graduated students are unemployed and have no occupation, and become the burden of parents and society eventually. The school, therefore, has adjusted the teaching program by focusing on vocational skills which will be the knowledge for children to earn a living after graduation,” Mr. Sarit Chimpalee, Director of Ban Panmor School, reported the problems that happened to the school.
When the problem of water shortage has been solved and with the support of Agriculture for Lunch Project since 2017, Ban Panmor School is ready to have a natural classroom for students to learn and practice farming such as growing oyster mushrooms, planting lemon trees, farming catfish in floating basket, raising egg laying chickens and farming pigs. The output of agricultural plots will be cooked for lunch. If there are vegetables left, the products will be sold to the community at a cheap price. Students are involved in all agricultural processes and they will gradually learn and absorb the knowledge to be able to do farming by themselves at home.
“In addition to the involvement of children in the care of agricultural plots, the teacher as the caregiver will be responsible for linking the activities with the learning objectives. Let the children see that all the subjects that they learn can be used to actual benefit, such as the elementary school children help pick the oyster mushrooms, weigh and divide the mushrooms into bags as is mathematics learning for small children. For the older children, they are also responsible to do the product inventory and the income and expense accounts which are the more difficult math. The learning is designed to fit the age range of students,” explained, Mr.Sarit, School Director.
Drinking Water and the Learning of “Discipline for Working”
In addition to agricultural projects, the school also produces bottled water for selling to the community and the water quality is certified by Thai Food and Drug Administration (Thai FDA), Ministry of Public Health. In the activity hours “Moderate Class, More Knowledge” at the school workshop to produce bottled water, secondary school students will play a role as young workers to learn the procedure of producing bottled water at each stage, from filling water to bottling and selling including bookkeeping and stock control. With skills and expertise, some students will volunteer to help produce bottled water during the weekend and school breaks to earn extra money while studying. This is another learning discipline in the workplace and to develop the professional skills to students.
Border Children Learn to “Earn a Living”
"Last academic year, Agriculture for Lunch Project and School Clean Drinking Water Project of Ban Panmor School helped students to have enough clean food and drinking water, and the operating income could be used continuously, including having money around 36,000 baht to support student education. But what is more important than the amount of money is that the children in the school have learned a variety of professional skills. Seniors have passed on the jobs to younger generations to have the succession and to continue the activity. The teachers also have the instruments to help teaching and get closer to students. The professional skills that students have learned will help them to make a living after graduation. And most importantly, the children have learned the sufficiency of life that will lead them to the future sustainability. I am preparing a meeting for teachers to process the upcoming academic year plan,” said proudly, Mr. Sarit.