Miss Duangrudee Wongthanu, or “Aim,” is a grade 11 student and leader of the Chik Kala Team at Kanthararom School, Kanthararom District, Si Sa Ket province. Aim and her team were encouraged by their school to participate in the Krungthai Tonkla Project 2016. Aim comes from Kanthararom District, one of the poorest areas of Thailand.
Growing up and witnessing the suffering of her community, Aim desperately wanted to help. Life is harsh for many of her villagers, whose subsistence comes from agriculture and, as they can only plant rice three or four months a year, they have limited opportunities to make money. Chik Kala is a small village in Kanthararom District, which has faced a multitude of interlinked societal and environmental problems, such as drought, household debt, labor mobility, and health issues associated with fertilizers used on rice fields and crops. The chemical substances in the fertilizers have been proven to cause health problems among the villagers.
Miss Duangrudee Wongthanu (center) poses with her teachers and teammates after earning first place honors at Krungthai Bank’s 10th Tonkla Project Awards.
Presented with the opportunity and resources to help her community by the Krungthai Tonkla project, Aim initiated a project called “Chik Kala Project – A Sufficiency Life Model,” which applied the late King’s sufficiency economy philosophy and raised awareness of sufficiency living in order to help villagers in Chik Kala. Krungthai Bank has run the Tonkla Project for 10 consecutive years. This CSR program aims to give Thai high school students the opportunity to develop their communities while demonstrating business ethics and the late King’s sufficiency economy philosophy. During the 10th Tonkla project, participants also received support and mentoring from Kenan consultants.
With guidance from Kenan, Aim designed strategies and activities that aligned with the local context and could become sustainable. Aim’s project proved successful in promoting Chik Kala village as a model of organic agriculture (using Trichoderma spp. a bioextract and polymer absorbing soil), sufficiency agriculture (an edible vegetable garden fence, communal fish breeding, and communal duck breeding) and household budgeting. The project benefitted 60 households, surpassing the target of 30. Within seven months, her project was recognized by five different government bodies and seven agriculture networks; 12 activities were implemented throughout the project timeline and the scheme was also expanded to two nearby villages.
The Chik Kala Project strengthened Chik Kala village, leading to better knowledge about and use of sustainable practices, such as household budgeting, and the development of organic agriculture practices. Aim’s project won first prize and secured the popular vote at KTB’s Tonkla Project Awards, earning her a scholarship of 350,000 Baht and a trophy from Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Chik Kala village now has sustainable strategies in place to support its development, bringing real hope for a brighter future.