THE RIVER OF LIFE FOR THAI PEOPLE
“The King is water, and I am the forests who always pay respect to water,” said Her Majesty Queen Sirikit
when visiting Ban Tham Tew, Song Dao district, Sakon Nakhon province on December 20, 1982.
Her Majesty Queen Sirikit had always worked tirelessly alongside His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, particularly in conserving the forests of Thailand. Their Majesties had visited every part of the country and learned about the hardship that people in rural areas faced. Forests were disappearing, both naturally and due to deforestation. Without forests, seasons would be affected, and everyone would be affected.
Her Majesty encouraged people to grow trees near Phu Pha Lek in Ban Tham Tew. Her Majesty entrusted Thanphuying Suprapada Kasemsan and Col Rewat Boonthap to prepare a rai of land to grow around a hundred trees to set an example for the locals.
The project was called “Pa Rak Nam” with five objectives to restore deteriorating forest, to preserve the remaining part, to encourage the people to take care of their forest, to provide the locals with usable wood, and to help poor people in the area make a living.
Her Majesty also rented and bought land from the locals to grow a forest and provided homes to the locals, while also teaching them about the importance of forest conservation. Initially, 35 families joined the project. Her Majesty offered them 3,000 baht a month. They were taught to make a living sustainably, and eventually, they were able to stand on their own feet.
Her Majesty spoke about this project on August 10, 1984, “I rented and bought land from the locals. It was a small village connected to a bigger village. The people in the big village determined which families should become a part of the Pa Rak Nam project. They grew trees to preserve the soil, while also providing themselves free fuel for cooking. The wood can also be used to fix their homes. Additionally, they also farmed fishes and learned useful skills to make a living.”
Pa Rak Nam project is a great example of how people and forest can coexist harmoniously. It also encourages people to love their home town and prevents them from deserting their home to seek jobs in other provinces.
Pa Rak Nam project is a great example of how people and forest
can coexist harmoniously. It also encourages people to love their home town and
prevents them from deserting their home to seek jobs in other provinces.
Thanks to the success of the first Pa Rak Nam project, other projects of the same nature followed. Now there are five projects in Song Dao, Khok Si, Charoensin, Muang, and Pathumwapee sub-districts in Sakon Nakhon province.
Pa Rak Nam project also reflected Her Majesty the Queen’s generosity for the Thai people. Her Majesty had also initiated many other nature conservation projects, as it was Her Majesty’s intention to make Thailand fertile for the future generations.