Organic farming does wonders for disabled Thai kids

A church-run home for disabled children situated on the outskirts of Bangkok started a project to grow fresh organic vegetables in January, just as concerns over the new coronavirus were growing in Thailand.

It was a fortuitous moment for Camillian Home to begin its organic farming project —a dedication to the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ Laudato Si — as life in the Thai capital would soon change in response to COVID-19.

But while the pandemic-wrought crisis has affected some of the home’s operations, it didn’t stop the project which included the building of greenhouses.

In one greenhouse more than 20 plus types of vegetables and fruits were planted; the produce of which is used in the home’s kitchen for everyday meals.

In another greenhouse about 3,000 mushrooms are being grown, with some of the produce being sold to the public.

Outside of the greenhouses other things are being grown including limes, corkwood trees, household vegetables and herbs.

Meanwhile staff and children work together to make compost from weed within the center for gardening needs.

Inside one of the greenhouses built for Camillian Home’s organic farming project (Photo by Udomsarn Weekly / Father Pairat Sriprasert)

Beyond decreasing the use of chemicals on plants and insecticide, other goals of the Camillian’s project is to educate the home’s disabled children on how to look after and protect nature.

“Perhaps most importantly though, our children — often orphaned, abandoned or abused — can physically see and experience the benefits of nurturing a living thing,” said a statement on the Camillian Home’s website about the benefits of gardening.

“They gain a sense of pride at having grown something beautiful or useful and they learn that these plants will not grow to their fullest potential unless properly looked after and cared for — but that even the latest intervention can have dramatically beneficial results.”

The project was made possible through the efforts of Father Anusorn Nilkhet and Father Phongsiri Sangwanpetch, along with the home’s staff and children plus staff from both the Camillian Pastoral Care Center, Lard Krabang and the St. Camillus Foundation.

The project was blessed by Father Pairat Sriprasert, provincial superior, on May 25.

Camillian Home is a non-profit children’s charity functioning on behalf of the St. Camillus Foundation of Thailand. It was established by Father Giovanni Contarin, an Italian priest who has worked for Thailand’s poor since the late 1980s.

For more on the home watch this video made in 2013.

With reporting from Udomsarn Weekly

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