Puenchumchon-Thammasat Model Project: Helping Community Adapt During Pandemic

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The locals in the Rayong community receive help from “Puenchumchon – Thammasat model project”. The project is a collaboration between Thammasat University and the Community Partnership Association (CPA) or Puenchumchon. The project and the association teach them strategies and innovations to help the community enterprise stays in the business, despite the lower income in this difficult time.

With lack of tourists, the usual goods sold by the Rayong community are no longer in demand. Therefore, they decided to turn the local “Rice milk cloth” garments into a face mask with an air filter to help everyone stay safe in this global outbreak. Rice milk cloth face mask from Rayong community enterprise shows how the community adapts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Puenchumchon can only do so much. The community enterprises have to take the knowledge, then develop and adapt to their business, in order to create a stable business and career opportunities for the community. For example, we teach something like packaging redesign, marketing, and new market opportunities, they have to adapt the knowledge to their products.” said Varit Namwong, Vice President of CPA.

Mr. Varit added that, even though the 5th generation of the “Puenchumchon – Thammasat model project” has been put on a pause because of the current situation, CPA is still working with the community helping the community enterprises by finding a platform to sell their products, especially online marketplace. There is still a lot of demand on the internet due to the lockdown policy, so we are pushing every enterprise online, making sure that they can take advantage of the current online trend.  This way, the customers can still purchase the goods from the community enterprises via online.

Mr. Montri Ngamsanga, vice president of the Nam-hu canal rice milk clothes community enterprise, said that “Normally, we would be producing clothes like shirts, skirts, or scarves from our rice milk clothes. Our products were sold both domestically and internationally. However, with the pandemic, the number of orders and the revenue decrease significantly since December 2019. Then, we notice high demands in the face mask and face shield market and decided to change from producing clothes to face mask in March 2020.

He also added that “In the beginning, there were a lot of orders from the CPA and the entrepreneurs in the in Rayong industry town, because they know us, and they believe in the quality of our products. Now, the majority of orders come from online and phone calls. We can sell about 3,000 – 4,000 pieces per month.  The income is relatively less than what we normally make, but in this kind of situation, we are grateful and happy that at least, we can still have some work for people in the community.”

There are 2 types of Rice Milk Cloth face mask: the 2-layers muslin mask (16 baht)

And the 3D 4-layers face mask (45 baht). For the 3D 4-layers, the outside and the inside are made of cotton cloth that has been sterilized and fermented with rice milk to make it soft, creating a unique texture. The second layer is made of water-proof muslin, and the third layer is an air filter.

“Our products have changed, but the quality and safety have not. We will make sure our product maintains the same quality at an affordable price. Our slogan is “Feel good, smell great, the perfect products for our love ones,.” Said Mr.Montri.

Anyone interested in buying the face mask can contact the Nam-hu canal rice milk clothes community enterprise, Noen Phra , Rayong by calling at tel. +662 081 572 8560 or checking the Facebook fanpage: “Nam-hu canal rice milk clothes community enterprise  (วสช.คลองน้ำหูผ้าหมักน้ำนมข้าว)” and www.community.or.th