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Sustainability is buzzword that is used quite often in the social impact world. But what does it really mean? Sustainability Director Worn Donchai shares his perspective about what sustainability means and how it fits in with The Freedom Story’s work on Seri.
“For us at Seri, it is the way that people choose to live their life, in a way that is good for themselves, their family, and their environment. It is a give and take that is balanced – it is healthy for them and for the environment. Sustainability is a good relationship in the long term between humans and the environment.”
Worn shares that “For many families in Thai villages, people may choose the short term way to get income that is harmful for themselves, choose the wrong job because they need money, which could mean human trafficking. They don’t think about the harmful affect to their lives or their family. The sustainability project helps shows people that there are other ways to live healthy and earn income, just from nature.
And sustainability is not just living with nature – there are ways to live sustainably in both the city and the village. It’s about balance. So people in the village and the city, they all need to know how to get income and survive and also keep the community and environment healthy.”
Worn, how did you get started?
“First, we have helped the villagers learn about using material and resources in the village to benefit or get income. Like Eri silk worms – people use a cassava or tapioca leaves leftover from the field to feed the worms, then you benefit from the worm by using the worm pupa, which high protein as food, a silk cocoon for make a textile or yarn and a silk waste for your fertilizer. People are excited – they are learning that the things they already have, they can use in other ways. Before this, they didn’t know that they can produce something new from leftovers. The families that are involved with the Eri silk programs, they keep continuing with it because now it is a part of their lives. They love it, they are happy and they are continuing to do it.
In the beginning of the sustainability project, I invited a lot of people to learn about the silk worms, but only a few followed through. Those people have continued with the silk worms and now their neighbors and other people in the village have become interested.”