The boarding house inside Koung Jor Shan Refugee Camp is home to displaced and orphaned Shan children. To meet their nutritional needs, and in response to the rising cost of food, a caregiver at the home approached us to discuss establishing a mushroom farm.
After agreeing that a mushroom farm would benefit the children in the boarding house, we were able to receive funding from one of our sponsors to finance the project.
Since the late 1970s hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes in Burma to escape the long-running political unrest in their country. In 2002 “Koung Jor”, which means Happy Hill in Shan, was established for over 500 Shan refugees on the Thai-Burma border in western Thailand.
Inside the camp is a boarding house that has two caretakers and a cook who provide a safe and caring home for 20 children between five and 18 years old.
One of the caretakers proposed the mushroom farm in response to concerns that the children’s diet was lacking in nutrition in the rainy season when it is difficult to access the local market.
Goals and Results
After we secured funding from a sponsor to establish a mushroom farm, boarding school staff built a mushroom hut to grow the mushrooms. With a mushroom hut next to the boarding house, staff could prepare a nutritious meal for the children, even during the wet season when it’s difficult to access the nearby market.
The mushrooms were harvesting at a 90% success rate, and the surplus was sold to the local market for additional income to purchase food for the boarding house children.
In May 2014 the boarding house ended the mushroom project due to difficulties sustaining the project harvest after harvest. After harvest new seeds had to be purchased, as the growing mushrooms did not germinate new seeds. In addition limited access to water during the dry season made it difficult to provide enough water to the mushroom farm.