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30 April 2019

Thai herbal compress balls: local wisdom bringing ‘Meiji’ a new skill (Read in Thai)

Thai herbal compress balls made by ‘Meiji’ and her friends are much liked by the senior shoppers visiting Baan Phaeh School’s exhibition booth at Uttaradit Red Cross Fair 2019. The elderly have dropped by to get Thai massages and bring back with them some herbal compress balls to ease their aching body parts with the help from their grandchildren at home.

To raise students’ awareness of the Philosophy of Sufficiency Economy and to implant children to take pride in the Thai culture and values by promoting the young generation to become interested in Thai traditional medical practice, such as herbal remedy, Thai traditional medicine, and therapeutic massage, which are a national heritage and local wisdom passed on from the past until today, and supporting Thai youth to recognise the importance of health care for themselves and other community members, contributing to sustainable health security in the society, World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) has supported life skills and vocational skills development activities for youth in Child Sponsorship Programme, which have carried on the knowledge of Thai traditional massage and promoted Thai herbs conservation. Not only enhanced skills for the youth to gain and value the Thai traditional wisdom, these activities have also developed a life option for these young people to apply as their occupation to provide for themselves. Most importantly, these will help fulfill people’s wellness and create community well-being simultaneously.

‘Meiji’, or Rattana, an 8th grader in WVFT’s Child Sponsorship Programme in Thong Saen Khan Area Development Programme (ADP), Uttaradit province, has joined the vocational skills development activities of Thai traditional therapeutic massage and herb processing towards self-reliance. She said smilingly: “I’ve brought back home the herbal compress balls I made to show my parents and try applying them on my mother’s legs where she had aches. She was so relaxed that fell as sleep. I was glad to see her smile and to hear that all the pains and aches completed went away.”

After the training and hands-on practice, the youth have developed expertise. It’s time to translate what they’ve learnt into income. WVFT’s Child Sponsorship Programme has encouraged school students to set up clubs. Meiji has also established a club called Thai Traditional Medical Club since 2017, with the support from WVFT’s Child Sponsorship Programme in Thong Saen Khan ADP, which provides the students opportunities to apply life skills and gain vocational experience while studying.

Ms Pranee Pinnak, or ‘Teacher Aim’, said that 2 years ago a village scholar with Thai traditional medical expertise was invited to educate and train the students to make Thai herbal compress balls made by cassumunar ginger, turmeric, lemongrass, and kaffir lime grown at school and home. The group has continued making the herbal compress balls for sales since then. The teacher has distributed the share of 2 baht per compress ball to Meiji and each of her friends who join the club, plus the dividend at the end of each academic year.

The students enjoy learning about Thai traditional medical practice. Teacher Aim has once asked the class who wanted to be Thai traditional medical doctors, more than half raised their hands. Aside from gaining hands-on experience and life skills to apply in daily life, the youth have been given a career option in the future as a Thai traditional medical practitioner, a prestigious profession which greatly benefits their community.

“The students have been introduced to different types of herbs in the kitchen which are used in everyday life and learnt how to medically benefit from them. We’re thankful to WVFT for the opportunity for students to participate in such a good project, which enables them to generate income while schooling and enhances their life skills. The project has ignited an idea for the students to secure an option on their career pursuit in the future.” Teacher Aim continued talking about the product development plan formulated by the students as they’re working towards how to transform the herbal compress balls into scented sachets, which help promote relaxation and good sleeps. The products may be made as souvenirs or multiple-purpose knick-knacks, for instant, to be placed as air fresheners in bedrooms, living rooms, and toilets.

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“Thank you, my sponsor and WVFT. I’m glad I’ve joined these activities, which generate income for me while studying. I spend a portion of my share as my school allowance. The other part is put in my piggy bank, so when I need to buy some supplies to do school papers, I don’t need to bother my parents,” Meiji chattered.

The Thai herbal compress balls are easy to make, inexpensive, and good for health. They treat body pains and aches at low cost. Lots of “Likes” for our Meiji! Don’t you think so?