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31 October 2018

Fulfilling Mumu’s nutritional requirements (Read in Thai)


The south of Mae Hong Son province is situated in the remote area full of forests and high mountains. The lands to conduct agricultural activities are scarce. The local villagers mainly live on a forest-product diet, such as bamboo shoot and wild fruit, which may be collected from natural sources near Salawin National Park. A huge bamboo basket on the shoulders of Sunantha, Mumu’s mother, is slowing roaming across the forest to be filled with wide vegetables and bamboo shoots which will become dinner tonight.


Mumu helps her mother look after her little brother when the parents are out to work in the rice field all day long. In the evening, Mom will come back home with a variety of vegetables collected. Chili paste with vegetable and wild mushroom is the family’s favourite dish. Living on a diet prepared with products found in nature is part of the S’gaw’s way of life. Although Mumu has 3 meals to eat regularly, her diet is solely vegetables found in the forest or along the pond edge. It is not a surprise why at her 11 years of age, Mumu is smaller and thinner than she should be.


Despite the student lunch project, the school is situated far away on the hard-to-reach route. Especially during rainy season, the difficulty of travelling from the mountain to the city to procure nutritious ingredients to cook lunch for students is even further multiplied. Mr Adisak Khonkhasai, a teacher at Ban Mae Sariang School, in which Mumu is studying in grade 5, elaborated the problem the lunch project faced. He explained that because of the difficult transportation and limited and expensive raw materials sold in the village to cook food for students, plus the limited budget, the school could not sufficiently feed all students with nutritious food that fulfills child nutritional requirements. Therefore, Mae Sariang Area Development Programme (ADP), which carries out World Vision Foundation of Thailand’s Child Sponsorship Programme, has supported the school to conduct natural farming to enable the school to secure sufficient food source, contributing to the solution to students’ malnutrition problem.


Through the generous sharing from sponsors with children living in Mae Sariang ADP’s implementation area, the support and relief of child malnutrition and health problem, which is considered the most pressing issue, has reached the community. An empty space in Ban Mae Sariang School has been magically transformed to a natural vegetable garden, consisting of bok choy plot, of which yield is now fully grown and looks delectable. There are also plots of morning glory and Chinese kale, along with other types of vegetables which are grown in the rotating fashion. Catfish and big, fat frogs have also been raised in concrete tubes to provide the source of quality protein for children. Students from grade 3-6 are the main workforce, in which members take turns to care for the vegetable garden which serves as their daily food source.


The kindness poured down from the sponsors and the water poured down on the plot by the children have resulted in thriving and full-grown vegetables to make toxin-free lunch served from Monday through Friday to get everyone full and fill the canteen with laughter and happiness through the previous 6 years.



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The success of the vegetable gardening at school has resulted in a secure food source which sufficiently feeds the whole school year long and has been a part to fulfill Mumu’s nutritional requirements. The S’gaw girl, as well as each of her schoolmates, has been transformed to a healthy little child. Besides the establishment of a secure food source, students have also had opportunity to gain occupational knowledge and skills on natural farming through action learning, enhance skills in vegetable gardening and animal raising and develop observation, note taking and collaboration skills and self-discipline, as well as have been implanted with the sense of love for agriculture and be able to practice it as their livelihood in the future.


“The problem is solved now. In case of lots of surplus produce, students will be given some to bring back home to eat with their parents. Children are full as they have complete 3 meals of nutritious food to eat while their parents and little brothers and sisters are not left hungry. This has simultaneously solved the problem of household food shortage,” Mr Adisak shared about the project.


“Vegetable soup with frog or catfish is my favourite dish. My parents said I’m so smart as I know how to raise frogs. My mom is always smiling when I help around in the kitchen. I’m so happy to eat with my parents and little brother," said Mumu, the girl with a bright smile.