Orchid farmers back to work after Thai floods
On March 28, staff from CWS-Asia/Pacific traveled with partners from the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) to Dontoom District of Nakhonpathon Province, where CCT, with CWS’s support, has been assisting communities of the Plang ethnic group recovering from last year’s floods.
We visited Banglon Orchid Farm, where five families are cultivating orchids in rows as far as the eye can see. Each family has around five members, including small children, who were playing in the yard during our visit.
Three generations of five families live together at the Banglon Orchid Farm, Nakhonpathon Province. As indicated in this photo, the flood waters rose to knee height, forcing the farming families to seek shelter from CWS’s partner in Thailand, CCT. Through CCT, CWS provided blankets to the families, and continues to support a number of livelihoods activities in the region Photo: CWS-Asia/Pacific.
“During the flood,” says 19-year old Pinpar, “we lived in shelters provided by CCT. There were around 200 people staying there at the time. We received dry foods, blankets and around THB 6,000 (USD $200) over a two-month period during the most severe flooding, for which we are really grateful.”
The orchid farm was closed for around 4 months, from November 2011 to February 2012 and only re-opened in March 2012, enabling Pinpar and her family members, as well as other co-workers, to resume making a living again.
Pinpar, left, and her co-worker Soin Tar Han, right, have been living on the Banglon Orchid Farm for almost 10 years, cultivating orchids for THB 150 (USD $3) a day. Photo: CWS-Asia/Pacific.
Some children on the farm attend school, but others cannot since some schools remain closed after flood damage. Because of their families’ financial difficulties, the children have to help at the farm after school hours. CCT is planning to provide a limited number of scholarships to ‘gifted’ children in the flood-affected area so that they can continue their studies.