The visit is for the Princess to monitor progress of various development projects that Her Royal Highness has initiated to upgrade the quality of life of children in rural schools and their families. Her Royal Highness made her first stop on January 22 at the Occupational Training Center for Old Students of the Nong Pheung Border Patrol Police School in Tambon In-tha-khin, Mae Taeng district, Chiang Mai Province. The center has been opened for 20 years to help students who have completed the school but are unable to find jobs. The center provides training in such fields as hairdressing, cooking, dressmaking and agriculture. The center has an area of 208 rai, and more than 700 people have undergone training at the center so far.
On the premises of the center is a Plant Genetic Conservation Project under the Royal initiative of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. The project is launched on an area of 106 rai with an objective to develop plant genetics resources for the maintenance of plant varieties for the benefit of farmers and the business section of the community. Some of the native plant species have been utilized for medicinal purposes, food, beverage and industrial use. Her Royal Highness on this occasion observed the conservation of ringed teals or Mandarin ducks which have migrated in thousands from the People’s Republic of China to the northern part of Thailand during September to April. Among the birds are endangered black-headed teals or Baer’s Pochard.
Her Royal Highness also observed a demonstration farm under the New Theory agriculture initiated by His Majesty the King. With an area of 12 rai, the project is for farmers to learn the system of integrated and sustainable agriculture in which water management and soil rehabilitation are developed to ensure year-round farming.
Her Royal Highness later on took a helicopter to Rappaport Primary School in Tambon Bo Kaeo, Samoeng District, Chiang Mai, to observe the fourth phase of child and youth development project. The school has 132 students coming from Hmong and Karen villages. As a result of the royal effort, the students have received boosted academic lessons with the help of more educational equipment like tablets.
Students are also given classes on cultivation of kitchen vegetables and livestock raising, the produce from which is used in the preparation of their lunch while the excess is for sale. They are also given occupational training based on local wisdoms such as bamboo and wickerwork, cloth weaving and the technique of cloth painting which has been handed down from their hill tribe ancestors. The children also learn tissue culture for the propagation of strawberries and the preservation of the fruit as well as banana and pumpkin.
The last school of visit on the day was in Mae Taeng District. The Lions Maha Chak 9 BPP School is accepting 103 children from four villages belonging to Lahu and Karen hill tribes. The school has followed the royal advice in developing both academic knowledge and vocational skills of children, with strong support from the Chiang Mai College of Technology which has sent personnel to train the children in hair cutting, cloth weaving, etc. Handicraft products made by students are also sold to tourists, thus bringing them additional incomes. The Princess also observed agricultural plantations prepared by students and the surroundings of the school before returning to the royal residence.