Tea is one of the world’s favourite beverages. The new generation is increasingly consuming more tea to keep up with the health-conscious trend and to lose weight. In 2017, Thailand was the world’s fourth biggest exporter of tea products with the value of 958 million baht (www.prachachat.net/economy/news-291213). The major tea growing sources are on the mountains in the northern region. More than 85 percent of the popular varieties grown are Assam tea which originated from India in Assam. Tea is beneficial to keep us active, refreshed, awake and to help in quenching our thirst and cooling us down. Assam tea has extra advantage in improving heart function and lowering blood sugar level. Drinking tea regularly promotes anti-aging and detoxification.
Arrays of Assam tea trees grown along the hillside has generated income that is constantly translated into educational fund for the children of Asoh, the father of a sponsored child, Niphon, who has joined the Child Sponsorship Programme in Mae Suai Project, Chiang Rai province.
Before having reached the success today, Asoh, as well as the parents of other sponsored children, must stand firm against a number of obstacles for over 10 years, including the changing climate that impacts farming. They must go through trial and error to learn the proper method of cultivating Assam tea trees that provide quality tea leaves. World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT) has provided Assam tea saplings and training on tree cultivation and tea farming, as well as encouraged all local Assam tea farmers to get together to set up a tea growing occupational group, which does not only empower the villagers but also promotes mutual support among Assam tea farmers.
‘All four of my children were supported by sponsors through WVFT. My two oldest daughters have already graduated: the eldest is now a nurse assistant; the second one has a bachelor’s degree in business management; the third one is in a bachelor programme in nursing; and Niphon, the youngest, is studying in the marketing field. WVFT’s assistance has lessened many burdens, given my children educational opportunities, improved our well-being, and supported our family. The original 1,200 tea saplings given by WVFT to my family have multiplied to 30,000 trees. Tea produce helps my family generate sufficient income and fulfil the well-being of my family,’ Asoh, Niphon’s father, talked about the support he received, which has expanded and brought him happiness and a secure occupation.
‘I’m so proud that my parents are tea farmers. They are my inspiration that drives me to study in marketing. When I graduate, I will run and develop my family’s tea plantation. I have a dream of having a tea factory and a brand of my own family. I’d like to thank my sponsor for supporting me since I was in primary school. Now I’m a 3rd-year vocational college student’, said Niphon, smiling while sharing his dream.
“Thanks the sponsors and WVFT for supporting my family—all four of my kids—and helping us to become tea farmers. Today, I have an income-generating occupation. I’m determined to make my son’s dream come true’, Asoh, Niphon’s father, expressed his thankfulness with a smile.
The family of Asoh and Niphon is one of the achievements that make WVFT proud and give our staff smiles whenever they paid a visit to follow up the family’s well-being. The kindness and generosity shared by sponsors through WVFT’s Child Sponsorship Programme have given opportunities to vulnerable families so that they can become economically self-reliant, have secure and sustainable farming occupation, gain well-being based on sufficiency philosophy, and offer learning opportunities for the better future of children.