Wora - A Passion Fruit Filled Future

Wora has seen many harvests come and go. Seventy years old, he is sitting on the open porch underneath his house, raised up with wooden stilts like many Karen households. We have travelled to the village of Ban Khun Mae La in northern Thailand, where a KHT irrigation system was installed in 2015.

“We used to worry a lot in the past about the water coming and breaking the dam. But, we aren’t worried anymore”

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 Like many Karen families here, Wora makes a living by growing and selling cash crops to merchants who regularly visit his village. These crops form the foundation of his livelihood.

Wora goes on to describe how much life has changed throughout his seventy years. Both of his parents were also farmers, whose lives were devoted to working the fields. Although Wora followed much in their footsteps, regional development has brought with it new opportunities for his five children.

“If children have an education and study hard, they will get a job. I had no education. The school was too far away and my parents could not pay for it anyway. Now, one child is a policeman, one a nurse, one a teacher, one a politician and the other chief of the local government office.”

Instead, Wora used his farming skills to build a profitable livelihood for himself and his own family. Thanks to his fields, he had money to give his children the opportunities he never had himself.

Because food security is so important to their way of life, we have been installing durable irrigation systems across the region since 2008. This is to protect livelihoods from extreme weather as nearly every year heavy rains bring devastating floods.

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Entire crops wiped out by flooding

Thanks to the KHT dam, worrying about flooding is now a thing of the past for Wora. The concrete system also allows him to grow cash crops in the dry season as it does not need repairs following the rain, the time can be instead used to prepare for a second harvest. His current crops include potatoes, chilli, cabbage, tomatoes and, as Wora proudly shows us, passion fruit It is remarkable to see these growing in spite of the intense February heat! 

The concrete dam is also structurally more powerful, meaning that it can hold back a larger volume of water to be siphoned to nearby fields in the rainy season.

“In the past, we would get just half the amount of rice. Now we grow three tonnes more because the water can reach more fields.”

With more rice and more cash crops, this project has had a real impact on Wora’s livelihood. KHT is set to continue our food security work long into the future, reaching out to as many remote communities as possible. Find out how you can support these lifechanging projects here.