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Posted September 2000

Mushroom production training for disabled people: a progress report

Outreach and impacts


Summary

Introduction

Objectives of the project

The training center

Why mushrooms?

The project team

Training of trainers

Selecting trainees

The training

Buildings, tools and equipment

Outreach and impacts

Feasibility, sustainability, replicability

Selected success cases

Conclusions and recommendations

Annex 1: Layout of mushroom cultivation center

Annex 2: Buildings and equipment

Annex 3: Main steps in mushroom cultivation

Annex 4: Contributors to the project's success

The main comment received by trainees is that they learn to do things independently. Although it is difficult at times because mushroom cultivation can be physically demanding, trainees are proud to say, "I CAN DO". They are expected to do things by themselves and therefore they do it. Trainees often realize that they can do much more than they thought. Some are especially happy to see they are acquiring new skills that will help them generate sufficient income or supplemental income to support their family. They become independent and certainly gain self-reliance and self-confidence. Upon return in their family and community, they are in a position to teach others new skills and know-how. They become trainers for their family and members of their community. As entrepreneurs, they become fully integrated in society and become active members of their community. They become full participants in the family's income generation.

For many, this is the first time they receive regular income. Although a number of people with disabilities are working as farmers in rice fields during sowing and harvesting, they never received any daily income. They are happy and proud of their success and most wish to continue to cultivate mushrooms on a small or larger scale.

Self-confidence and self-esteem can best be demonstrated by six disabled trainees that married and set-up their joint enterprise shortly after training. Because they feel confident, happy and good about themselves, they can feel good about others and share their life with someone. They can now take responsibility for their own life and for their spouse.

Information on the project was provided to all authorities in Ubon Ratchathani and around Thailand. During a visit on January 21, 2000, the Governor of Ubon Ratchathani Mr. Siva Saengmanee announced his intent to promote the center and its activities. He personally requested officers at the center and in the province to support people with disabilities and help them succeed in the private sector. He wishes trainees to become an example of strength, courage and determination for disabled and non-disabled people in society. He allocated a space within a sales outlet in the city of Ubon Ratchathani, free of charge. This new sales-point started in March 2000 and operates every Friday through Sunday. Deputy Governor of Ubon Ratchathani, Mr. Prapas Boonyindee presided over the opening and closing ceremonies of the second group of trainees. He announced that he would like the center to become a reference in mushroom cultivation and part of the interest sites for people visiting Ubon Ratchathani. He said he is ready to cooperate with FAO to develop the center as an example of success for people with disabilities in the region.




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