“I love my school a lot. Our school always has water for use and a lush forest park to enjoy.” Peerapat or Uan, a fifth grader, shared the feeling of his appreciation of the nature’s abundance, thanks to World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT)’s Child Sponsorship Programme, which brings well-being to life of all children.
While the arid, scorching weather is taking over many areas, cicada song is playing loudly and indistinctively around the Wat Pakkad School’s forest park, which is located in WVFT’s Pong Nam Ron Area Development Programme (ADP). The presence of cicadas does not only signal the beginning of summer, but also indicates the moist and fertile soil underneath, a perfect nursery of their larvae.
Mr Saksiri Khamrod, Director of Wat Pakkad School said that previously the school area were arid due to the lack of natural water source. They were greatly impacted, especially in summer. The school needed to ask the municipality to deliver water by truck, but the water delivery took so long. Troubles were spreading everywhere while everyone was looking forward to the help to come. With worries about students’ water shortage, the school requested to World Vision Foundation of Thailand to support “Ban Pakkad Small-Sized Check Dams Project” in 2015 to provide long-term solution to address drought problem and ensure sustainable water management.
“WVFT has supported budget and equipment and materials to build seven semi-permanent check dams along a canal near the school. Soldiers, villagers, and students were working to-gether, starting from digging the canal bed until hit the rocky layer. After that, natural rocks in different sizes were piled up and fortified by metal and concrete. Because the canal is small, water flows through it only in rainy season. This type of check dam is different from the traditional one, which allows large volume of water to flow over. We’ve built these dams to contain water and force it to permeate the soil to the underground level. So, we still have some water reserve even in the drought season. Now it’s March, but we still have some water,” Director Saksiri elaborated and pointed out.
“In the past, when the rainy season ended, water would have dried up by early December. These check dams have greatly eased our difficulties. At least the water will be nurturing longan trees to survive this drought season.” Uncle Somphorn Phokaeo, a local villager, reiterated the positive impacts.
If heat and drought comes in a package, it doesn’t matter how many dams have been built, because without forest, there would be no water. This is the reason why Director Saksiri prioritises the conservation of the school’s forest area, which covers up to 25 rai. “Earlier the school’s forest park had been trespassed and destroyed to make cassava plantations. Therefore, the school restored the area and brought back the forest park by growing a diversity of plants to provide natural habitats to small and large animals.” Presently, the school’s forest park has served as a natural classroom and an environment learning source which instill the idea of forest conservation in children.
With collaboration from everyone who has contributed to the check dam construction and the united powers to conserve and restore the forest park, the reforestation takes only 4 years. Thanks to the trees, which help maintain the land’s moisture, the school’s pond has always been replete with water. Nowadays, Wat Pakkad School has sufficient water for consumption all year long while villagers have had water to use in their orchards and households. The reservoir has also served as a swimming pool which is used in the school’s sports day and in teaching swimming lessons to prevent children from drowning.
Today, Wat Pakkad School has 145 students, 59 of whom have been supported by WVFT’s Child Sponsorship Programme./p>