As a single mum who spends half of my week in Bangkok as a part-time phonics teacher and another half at my father’s farm in a small village called ‘Koaknoy’ (โคกน้อย) in Srakaew (สระแก้ว) province, I’m well aware of the gaps between city mums and country mums. Each family confronts different challenges and is rewarded by different definitions of happiness. However, there are things that connect both worlds, helping to make each of our lives better.
As a co-founder of Playgroup Thailand, I want to make a difference. So I have come up with a Pom Pom Project as pom poms are one of the must-have items in a child’s play bucket list. They can simply be made at home and they can be played in endlessly creative ways with children of any age range from babies to school-aged kids.
With that idea in mind, I have seen and experienced for myself how busy a city-based mum can be and how they are so restricted by time and traffic. It would be asking a lot for those mums to make toys for their children! On the other hands, mums who live in the countryside have more free time with their kids, and they are constantly trying to figure out how to boost their family’s finances. Unfortunately, there are just not that many choices of jobs to choose from in Koaknoy.
In fact, as farmers, they cannot bring their children along to the fields, digging in soil with a spade or cutting the grass with a big ax, like they used to. Plus, they do not have any social welfare assistance; many families subsist on the 300 baht daily minimum wage earned by the father.
Therefore, to connect two dots together, my determination and support from my Playgroup Thailand co-founder, Mo, led to this wonderful Pom Pom Project. Below is our story.
One afternoon, I just simply had a stroll into my dad’s farm to pick up an old log. Then I asked my brother to chop it in half. Next I measured it and hammered a nail in both ends. The yarn would be tied to both nails to thread pom poms (just like how mums on both sides can be connected together!). I visited a mum who lives just across the road and she has a 6-month-old daughter. I showed her an instruction video on Youtube. It sounded very silly at first, but then I got her to smile…
From this single chopped log, the project grew to encompass more mums and five chopped logs, keeping the bright yarns connected around two nails. The mums would tie them up into chunks and cut them into a ball. They would meet to discuss how they could improve the quality and the best way to make the pom poms. Shortly, the news spread further and I started to get more knocks on my door, either from other mums nearby or grandmothers who usually went to work in large scale industrial farms. Those women got sick and suffered from the overuse of planting chemicals and were looking for alternative means of income generation.
My heart pounded with hope. Later, I spent my nights, after my daughter had gone to bed, making an e-book of 30 pom pom activities just to help add more value in these pom poms and give busy mums some quick ideas on how to play creatively with their children using pom poms. The pom poms come in vibrant assorted colours and are washable.
Enhance your children’s play while helping to make someone’s life better. Every purchase comes with the e-book and supports our project, which comes from the heart of rural mums… to those of urban mums.
By Sukanya (Ying) Suwantha, Co-founder of Playgroup Thailand. To learn more about the group and/or purchase pom pos, please send a message to Khun Ying via Facebook.
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