Khiri Reach Launches ‘WE GROW’ Program

January 18, 2018 by | Filed Under: Sustainability

A new Khiri Reach initiative called ‘WE GROW’ has been launched as a pilot project in Chiang Mai at the Special People Foundation (SPF). The program incorporates training for people in such areas as growing food and sewing products, as well as assisting in the promotion of self-sufficiency, financial support and practical life skills.

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The program has been developed in such a way that it can be implemented as a project in different locations, at venues with different needs or spaces, and with people of differing ages and abilities.

Our external partners in the initiative, Scholars of Sustenance, provided staff members to help onsite with both hands-on training and the setup for composting and corrective maintenance in Thai and English.  

The three days of implementation and training have all been documented, photographed and recorded so that full written manuals and video tutorials can be made. The program will be written in English and translated into the relevant local language to ensure continuation of the projects, even if team leaders or teachers depart or change.

There are three main parts to the program:

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  1. WE NURTURE – developing critical people skills

Breaking the cycle: motivation; learning lessons from mistakes; taking initiatives; demonstrating hard work bears results; and overcoming boundaries.

In this section we offer resources for teaching young children and adults important subjects that are often considered shameful or taboo in Asian cultures, such as self-respect for oneself and for others (‘no’ means ‘no’); understanding one’s body and personal hygiene.

Mentorship and internships: Working with local guides; hotels; restaurants – offices and other potential suppliers that we have connections with – to provide short-term assignments and job experience opportunities to young adults from 17 years and over, enabling them ‘shadow’ people in different departments and positions. The purpose of this is to ensure they gain a better understanding of a vocation they have shown an interest in, or have been studying. It also opens up opportunities for them to practice their English language and other learned skills, and encourages them by demonstrating that despite their background, people believe in them and are willing to give them a chance to grow. 

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  1. WE GROW – growing food for self-consumption and sale

Implement and teach three main growing techniques depending on the available space: Shoe Bag Hanging Wall Gardens, Double Pot Growing and Hay Bale farming.

In this section we teach zero food waste and composting techniques to reduce the need for chemicals and fertilizers, thus showing how correct waste management benefits our communities and our planet, while saving money and resources.

Eat local – think global: Set up cash-crop systems, e.g. European herbs and uncommon out of season ingredients, and link producers directly with hotels, restaurants and cafes that are in need of the produce. Promote as locally grown and benefiting communities and programs that are both sustainable and responsible.

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  1. WE SEW – Sewing techniques and specific items for self-use and retail

Implement and provide patterns for different items: produce bags of different sizes, such as tote bags and other styles of bags for daily use.

In this section we teach sewing skills and pattern usage; covering the importance of using resources correctly; repairing; up-cycling and preventing waste, thus offering easy-to-implement alternative options to single-use, disposable items.

These items can be bought as company gifts or sold to hotels; restaurants; offices; to clients; agents and other potential partners at a fair price, thus creating an income for participants, while encouraging our suppliers to become more sustainable and responsible in their daily practices, leading to reduced environmental impact and cost in the long term.

Connect the projects with local hotels, guest houses and other potential partners that we know, and request that they donate all their used fabrics – like pillow cases, sheets, napkins, towels, robes etc., to the sewing projects. This will reduce costs and environmental impact. It will also be offered to potential partners as a CSR program.

A big thank you goes out to Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort for donating 30kgs of cotton napkins to be used in the pilot project, which are being used to make the different bags.

Initial project locations identified for the WE GROW Program:

  • SPF, Chiang Mai, Thailand (Pilot Project)
  • HDLF, Battambang, Cambodia, to be launched in 1st quarter of 2018
  • Blue Dragon, Hanoi, Vietnam, to be launched in 2nd quarter of 2018
  • Anak Bangsa Foundation, Free High School, Lombok, Indonesia, to be launched in 2nd quarter of 2018
  • Home Stay & Farm School, Kandy Mountains, Sri Lanka, to be launched in 1st quarter of 2018

For more information, or if you would like to support this program, please contact:

Country and Location: Thailand / Chiang Mai Khiri Reach Ambassador: Phloenphit Sekchit.