“The right chemistry” the popular quote usually cited by people clicking with each other is used to define the reason why Janthip Sumet, or “Jah Eed” (Jah is used to refer to older sister by Muslims), a volunteer of Ta Kua Pa Area Development Programme (ADP), and World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) have been friends over 10 years along their journey of development work. The phrase does not exaggerate their relationship, considering her answer with a smile which implicates a good feeling towards her companion:
“We’ve worked together to help others for the greater good, make friends, and build relationships.”
Jah Eed and WVFT ran into each other when Ta Kua Pa ADP started in her community. She recollected the first time they met: “I was the assistant village headman. “June” (Nijitra Wannajan, the ADP Manager) asked me to become a volunteer to serve as a coordinator in Child Sponsorship Programme as well as other development work.”
In fact, Jah Eed has already been overwhelmed with many responsibilities. Aside from the two hats mentioned, plus the key role as a wife, whose full-time duties include rubber tapping, housekeeping, and child care, she is also a village health volunteer, village committee member, and village fund committee member. However, with her strong volunteer spirit, she has not turned down the request, but been fully committed to it.
“I helped distribute items to kids and led children to join camp activities. My children saw me doing these all the time and asked if they could become WVFT’s sponsored children because they wanted to go to the camps too. Back then I told my kids that they were not qualified as I thought that only orphans or children from broken families were eligible.”
Nevertheless, Ta Kua Pa ADP has later considered including her two daughters in WVFT’s Child Sponsorship Programme due to the family poverty. Because of that, this family, along with 10 families of other sponsored children in the community, has been supported to raise goats to generate supplementary income, leading to the establishment of goat raising group later.
“I was elected the group leader,” Jah Eed recalled the history while smiling. “We’d never raised goat before. WVFT started from providing us with goat raising training. We’ve learnt about different goat breeds and how to feed them and to build a goat house. We’ve also had opportunity to work with the livestock officer, from whom we’ve gained additional knowledge.”
After that, the group has received equipment and materials for building a goat house and a pair of goat for them to gain firsthand experience in goat raising from actual practice.
“The goat house has been built right next to my house for the group members to practice goat raising together. Goat price in the first 3 years was great. It was 200 baht per kg. If I saw a truck pull over in front of my house, I’d know right away that they were looking for goats to buy. It is a terrific supplementary occupation as we mainly live on rubber tapping, which does not generate yearlong income,” said Jah Eed.
The group has practiced goat raising until all members have developed expertise. Unfortunately, due to goat price slump, some members have decided to leave the group to raise goats on their own while others have quit. Yet, Jah Eed has insisted on raising goat until today..
She stated her reason that: “It is a promise I made with WVFT that I’d continue doing it. I’ve been raising some goats, though not as many as before. Today I have 4 female and 2 male. After all, goat raising has generated supplementary income for us, especially when we’re in need of quick cash.” Then she got back to her experience from working with WVFT until today. “The longer I do this, the more I witness how vulnerable children have been helped. They have opportunity to join the development camps. Slow learning kids have been improved. This work has given me a privilege to do something for the greater good.”