Right before the 2016 Songkran Festival (Thai New Year), four sows, along with the pig feed, were delivered to the house of Nuea, a sponsored child of World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) in Mueang Pan Project, Lampang province. The child was thrilled about this. He couldn’t resist talking about the pigs all the time. Whenever his mother asked if he wanted to go see the pigs tomorrow, he would instantly reply: “Yes! I want to see and feed the pigs!” Since then, Nuea has always accompanied his mother and father to the pig pen.
“I love coming here to play with them, make sure there is water available for them, feed them daily, and watch them gradually growing,” Nuea said in a crystal-clear voice. The eight-year-old, who is in the 2nd grade and the youngest child of the family, finds great joy in playing around the family’s pig pen every evening.
U-thai, just like the majority of his neighbours, would become without a job when done with the rice planting. He felt the need to leave his neighbourhood to make some money from hired hand jobs to cover household expenses. Being well aware of the occupational promotion much needed by the family, which will ensure sufficient steady income and improvement of the boy’s well-being, Nuea’s sponsor has supported the family to carry out pig raising activity, which would become their supplementary occupation that generates more income, so they can afford their children’s education.
All four of the family’s one-month-old Large White pigs grew quickly. With extra care by this family, the first batch of piglets arrived early. U-thai said that it was as if the four sows were competing with one another in giving birth. Each of them yielded one or two litters per year. Each litter consisted of around 4-10 piglets. Last year, these sows provided the family with 60 piglets in total, which generated the income worth over one hundred thousand baht from the sales of the young fattened pigs. U-thai has used the extra income to pay for the family’s expenses and as the working capital to keep the pig breeding activity running. Part of the income has been invested in growing some vegetables, such as Chinese kale and chili pepper. While pig dung has made good fertiliser for the vegetables, the Chinese kale leaves have complemented the pig feed in return. This practice has helped the family to significantly save the production cost.
The fattened piglets have generated so much income for this family that make the saying “People raise pigs and pigs raise people.” sound true to them. Nuea’s family has been raising pigs for more than two years. Two of the originally given sows have already been sold for 22,000 baht as they have become barren. The other two sows have recently given birth to the fourth batch, which includes total 22 piglets. Today, there are 24 pigs to raise. In about 4-5 months, the 22 piglets will grow to the marketable size with the price of 4,000 baht each or 70 baht per kg. “From the sales of this batch, I would make about 80,000 baht. But I’m thinking about keeping some healthy female to make them sows for the next generation.” U-thai estimated his income in the next 4-5 months.
The pig raising is the family’s supplementary occupation whereas the primary livelihood is crop rotation farming, vegetable gardening, and corn growing. Nuea and his elder brother have taken part in the family’s pig raising activity, which has provided them occupational skills training. Now the pig raising has become the family’s secure occupation which brings about steady income and family well-being and self-sufficiency.
“I would like to thank Nuea’s sponsor for the love and the special aid given to support our family’s pig raising. We have more income, which we’ve been saving to pay for both of our sons’ education. Thank you WVFT for the oversight, suggestion, and support. You have lessened our family’s expense burdens, so that today we can have a broader smile. Thank you again.” U-thai expressed his thankfulness from his heart.
Not only occupational enhancement for families of sponsored children, the Child Sponsorship Programme has also supported child age-appropriate development to enable the improvement of their quality of life towards well-being. Besides the educational necessity support, which is provided to all children in the Child Sponsorship Programme, Nuea, who has hearing impairment at the left ear, which has been diagnosed since he was in grade 1, has received special support from the Child Sponsorship Programme in the form of a hearing aid device and customised learning materials to enable his reading and writing skills and age-appropriate life skills, making it possible for him to enjoy ordinary life and learning in normal class with his peers.