Over 1,000 trees planted for King
Volunteers flock to Vachirabenjatas Park
The idea of Thais volunteering to help others has become increasingly popular in the past year. Since last year, we have seen groups of people in blue caps and yellow scarves doing public work and helping others in many ways.
His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua has followed in the footsteps of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej The Great in supporting the idea of people working free of charge for the sake of others. In March and April last year, he sponsored the training of the first round of 384 volunteers, to teach them to be role models for other volunteers nationwide.
They are provided with general knowledge, including information on how to maintain mental and physical fitness, as well as on subjects that are relevant to their volunteer activities, such as woodwork and cooking. They also have a chance to learn about the work and philosophy of King Bhumibol.
Although the official number of Jit Arsa 904 volunteers participating this year has not yet been released, it is clear the number has increased.
At a recent event, despite cloudy skies, Vachirabenjatas Park became brighter than ever with the yellow colours and lively smiles around the area. The ones that brought the vivid colour to lighten up the park were the volunteers who came to show their devotion to His Majesty the King on his 67th birthday.
They all wore yellow shirts to participate in the "We do good by heart" tree-planting event, which was presided over by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
Among the volunteers were employees from various companies, as well as the National Council on Social Welfare of Thailand, celebrities and actors and students from the State Railway of Thailand Vocational School.
They all shared the same resolution to perform good deeds to pay tribute to His Majesty the King.
Yellow star trees were planted in the heart of Vachirabenjatas Park, as they are the King's symbolic tree that are believed to bring luck and offer protection to the people of the Kingdom.
As the trees typically bloom in July, the park will be covered with the vivid yellow of the trees' flowers during the King's birthday celebration every year.
Other parts of the park were planted with 1,010 trees donated by associated organisations. Planting that many trees is hard work, especially in an area as big as this. However, none of the volunteers voiced any complaints. Instead, they wore big smiles as they dug into the ground and planted the trees.
"I signed up for the event as soon as I saw the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration's announcement at my office, because my friends and I always enjoy doing volunteer work," said an officer of the Don Muang district office. "Every time I finish a volunteer project like this, I feel proud of myself for doing something great for society."
To show that everyone is welcome to take part in performing good deeds, regardless of their conditions, "We do good by heart" has become an inclusive event by inviting disabled students of the Chaleo-Pavana Memorial School (Chon Buri's special education school) to volunteer, along with their teachers.
"The kids were very excited when we told them they would be joining a volunteer activity outside the school," said a Chaleo-Pavana teacher as her students helped each other carry the young plants.
Some processes may have seemed difficult to the students, but all managed to finish planting their own trees. The students went back to their teachers with delighted smiles.
"They might work slower than other volunteers, but at least they are happy when we tell them they are doing a good deed," the teacher said, with a proud smile on her face.
"When they go to school tomorrow, they will tell their friends about the event, and their friends will be excited to participate in the next volunteer event too. I think that is a very good way to inspire others to volunteer for the greater good."
The tasks in the event, however, were not just limited to planting trees.
Individuals who wanted to participate in the event but preferred to do other tasks like working at the registration table or handing out snacks were also welcome to participate in the event, according to Mr Chatramongkol Pinthong, a 24-year-old volunteer who worked at the event's registration point.
Mr Chatramongkol said that during his college years at Chulalongkorn University, he would participate in volunteer projects every time he had the chance because he wants to make society more livable.
"I always tell other people about my volunteer experience because I want to encourage them to do the same," said Mr Chatramongkol.
"If our dream is to see our country, which is our home, become more beautiful and more livable, then we should be the ones who do good deeds in order to make that dream come true."