HER ROYAL Highness Princess Bajrakitiyabha will lead 20 visually impaired people on a cycling event on February 9 to raise funds for a vocational-training centre for the disabled.
The project called “No One Left Behind Year 2” aims to raise Bt118 million for the completion of the Asean occupational training centre for persons with disabilities in Chiang Mai’s Chiang Dao district. The project raised more than Bt32 million in a similar event last year.
The event will kick off from the football pitch of Thammasat University’s Tha Phra Chan Campus and end in Samut Prakan, covering a total distance of 50 kilometres, event organiser Professor Wiriya Namsiripongpun, chairman of Universal Foundation for Persons with Disabilities, said.
After completing the first 50 kilometres, the 20 visually impaired participants, accompanied by 20 volunteers, will then cycle through 15 provinces from Bangkok to another occupational training centre for the disabled in Nakhon Pathom’s Nakhon Chaisi district.
The current training centre for the disabled in Chiang Mai’s Mae Rim district is too small, Wiriya said, adding that the new 33-rai (5-hectare) site in Chiang Dao is bigger and can serve up to 1,000 people a year, not including their caretakers and family.
“This will help minimise social inequality and give disabled people vocational skills so they can earn livelihoods,” he said.
Niphon “Tatar” Tasa, a resident of Chiang Mai’s Wiang Haeng district who was born with dwarfism and has deformed hands and feet, took a 100-day training course in farming crickets at the Mae Rim centre.
Niphon “Tatar” Tasa
“Now I can support my family,” he says proudly. “I have been able to teach the skill to others in the community. Cricket farming earns me more than Bt20,000 a month, which is more than enough for me to look after my mother.”
Similarly, Somboon Imnuan from Chiang Mai’s Doi Lor district, who attended a course at the Mae Rim occupational training centre, is also teaching people with disabilities and their families about cricket farming on a freelance basis.
This is another way to expand knowledge at the local level by enhancing the capacity of disabled people who live in remote areas.
“After I returned, I began farming crickets in five to six boxes. Cricket farming is easy and requires less space. Also, demand is high and the supply is not enough,” he said.
He opened his home to train people, but he is not able to provide training to the more than 4,000 people with disabilities who are seeking the knowledge.
As of September 2018, more than 2 million people, or 3.05 per cent of the Thai population, live with disabilities, according to the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
Of the 877,853 people with disabilities of working age (15-60 years), only 218,490 people or 24.89 per cent are employed.