The Rueso Subdistrict Municipality oversees one child development center which cares for 48 children. At this center, most of the lunch ingredients come from local markets and are not free from chemicals. It is also found that the cost of food ingredients is higher, from 2,000-3,000 THB per week to 4,000-5,000 THB per week. The municipally-run “Happy Elderly School” with 72 senior citizens has also been hit by the coronavirus outbreak and forced to close. The Rue So Subdistrict Municipality has, thus, implemented the project “Grandparents grow vegetables for grandchildren” for the elderly during the school closure in order for them to use their free time creatively, to earn incomes from farming and livestock keeping, and to produce food for child development centers.
The Community Learning Center of the Rueso Subdistrict Municipality arranges an area in the center for agricultural activities, including fish and chicken farming and a medicinal plant garden, and invites interested people to join in the agricultural activities. Chutima Rattanakitsomboon, 42, has a 10-year-old child. Chutima is in charge of raising catfish and has released about 1,000 fish, which are bought from markets or donated by neighbors, in the pond. When the fish are large enough for sale, she contacts sellers in fresh markets who come to buy them, but during the COVID-19, markets are close and she cannot find fish buyers.
When I do the farming, I bring my child along. During activities at the center, I get to exchange ideas with friends. Our group has saved up some money. When the government or private agencies see our activities, they will give us funding. So, we have to work to make them recognize us. At the center, there is a zone for the elderly to do activities to keep them busy, to spend their time usefully, and to exercise.”