Sustainable development, as defined by the United Nations, is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. In every country sustainable development is necessary, however, in Thailand it is essential. A country of vast contrasts, Thailand faces many challenges in developing sustainability for this and future generations. From farming to education and healthcare to basic shelter, there is a huge need for volunteers to help create a sustainable Thailand. The idea of sustainability in Thailand is relatively new, having been addressed by the late King Rama IX. He coined the term “sufficiency economy philosophy” following an economic crises in 1997.
The King had strong aspirations for Thailand, implementing a plan to develop a more resilient and sustainable model for the economy which would help to alleviate poverty while meeting the demands and challenges of globalization. He implemented several projects around the country which remain in use today. Sustainability is a “catch-all” term which covers many different issues. Thailand Volunteers aims to help sustainability in Thailand through activity, education, and learning. The goal is to create a more equal Thailand with opportunities for people today and to plant the seeds which will prosper for the future generations.
Access to clean water is a basic human right, yet many small communities across Thailand do not have daily access to clean water. Providing easy access to clean, drinking water is part of the sustainability model for Thailand.
Educating farmers can help them to produce healthy rice and other crops every year. This helps to sustain the land for farming and provide an income for farmers and their families in rural areas of Thailand.
Like any other country, Thailand has many homeless people who do not have access to shelter from the glaring sun or torrential rain. Building and providing shelter to those who cannot afford it is essential for sustainability in Thailand.
Education is a cornerstone of sustainability. Through education, children and adults alike can learn how to create a sustainable economy for their and future generations. Thailand Volunteers helps to build schools across the country.
Small and rural communities rarely have access to essential cornerstones of health such as vaccinations. Providing children with vaccinations helps to protect them against a broad range of viruses and prevents child death.
Access to medial care is a basic human right and essential for a sustainable Thailand. We work not only to provide easy and regular access to medical care for people across Thailand but also educate people in first aid.
A major part of achieving sustainability in Thailand is to recognize the essential role women can play in achieving this goal. Promoting gender equality in the home, workplace, and in society creates a forward-thinking community that can work together and thrive. Projects such as micro-financing women to start their own business, educating girls in school to become confident, empowered women, and promoting an equal society is an extremely important part of sustainability in Thailand. Through these projects women can learn about HIV/Aids and other sexual disease prevention, how to fight against gender violence, and become leaders in their communities. Until women are empowered in society, poverty will never end and sustainability never achieved.
While volunteering or sponsoring our Sustainability in Thailand program is a great way to help, there are other things you can do to contribute to sustainability in Thailand and around the world:
Normally we have most of our courses in the dry season, but we do run courses all year.
Our meals are buffet style vegetarian food with brown rice, some fish and egg (but always labelled).
We host groups from 15- 30 people.
This 18 days (3 weeks) workshop includes intensive lectures and hands-on instruction on the following subjects; We will provide an Introduction to Natural Building; soil types selection, basics of making adobe bricks, laying adobe bricks, natural plastering, homemade earth painting and other finishes. Also, an Introduction to Permaculture; land use planning in slope and plain area, soil fertility management, culturing indigenous microorganisms (IMOs) for crops, use of IMOs for making the compost, harvesting of the water and maintaining soil moisture, kitchen gardening, healthy food, people, energy conservation techniques, and natural building.
Every Monday to Friday we will take part in a natural building workshop at Bio-agriculture Farm. If the weather is hot in the afternoon, we will learn to produce high yielding food crops by using bio-fertilizers. This activity is a complement to proper land use in limited area. If the weather is hot in the afternoon, we will learn to produce high yielding food crops by using bio-fertilizers. Every Saturday to Sunday we will learn the intro to permaculture at Earth Home Thailand.
On the weekends, the course will be held on our farm-stay land, which is an organic farm and sustainable-living learning center. We started the farm in 2004 and become one of the learning centers for people all over Thailand and the world, sharing knowledge of how to live a simple, healthy life. We teach people how to build houses from adobe, we share knowledge on how to farm organically, and we arrange cooking lessons for anyone who wants to learn to cook Thai food. We are proud to become a center for skill-sharing and cultural exchange, giving opportunities to locals and visitors from everywhere around the world to meet and learn from each other. We are happy that we can share our unique local lifestyle, and to help preserve local knowledge.
Natural building (making mud bricks)
To use natural/sustainable building means using readily available, local, natural materials with little embodied energy and salvaged materials to make your own home. This can mean using adobe (sun-dried mud bricks), straw, straw-bale, clay, cob, bamboo (an easily regenerated wood source), stone and secondhand/salvaged materials you have access to. Natural building techniques are ancient and time tested and have housed much of the population of the world. We use these traditional techniques with experiments and innovations people are discovering today to make them a practical alternative for modern days to the resource intensive conventional building done today. We focus on building primarily with adobe, bamboo, straw, and clay.
Organic Farming/Seed Saving
We feel like bringing seed saving back into the hands of farmers and growers can empower people as well as increase the quality of seed and varieties we have to consume. As a seed center we collect rare and indigenous seeds from Thailand and all around the world, propagate them at the farm, and when we have enough distribute them through our loose network of other organic farmers and communities. We are a living seed bank meaning we do not only collect seeds to keep but grow and exchange the seeds continually to propagate the species coming back to use. We are now beginning to package and distribute organic heirloom seeds to the local area.
We practice organic gardening without the use of any chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides. We do integrated beds of a diverse range of varieties, reducing our need for pesticides. We propagate our own effective micro organisms for liquid fertilizers and make our own composts. We practice mostly hand cultivation and care.
We grow rice, vegetables, herbs, local perennial edibles, fruit trees, and have fish ponds and egg laying chickens.