December 22, 2015 Sustainability

Starbucks Baristas Teach English and Plant Gardens in Thailand

When Starbucks Thailand partners (employees) set out to volunteer at a local school, they had no idea the impact they would make throughout the community.

Recently, Starbucks volunteers joined 500 middle and high school students for the Youth Skill Development and Food Sustainability Project in partnership with the Books for Children Foundation. The event took place at the Bumrung-Raviwan Wittaya School, which promotes healthy food and living, grows vegetables for school and home meals, and sells leftover crops to student families. Combined, 330 volunteer hours impacted nearly 5,000 students and their families, along with others in the community.

“At Starbucks, our long-term commitment is to make a positive and sustainable change in the areas of environment, society and economy,” said Murray Darling, managing director of Starbucks Coffee Thailand. “The community event allowed us to reaffirm the company’s long-term commitment to local communities.”

For part of the day, students practiced project planning, leadership and communications skills during a food sustainability project. Students and volunteers built nursery shelves for vegetables, created an organic shade plot for crops and repaired the pier for a small fish farm.

The majority of the community project focused on skills development through an English conversation class. Starbucks Thailand partners helped students hone their English-speaking skills through songs and word games.

Starbucks volunteers also read stories to a kindergarten class with Ruangsakdi Pinprateep, managing director of the Books for Children Foundation and author of "Ping Pong, Will You Come with the Bear." This children’s book was funded by a portion of sales from Starbucks Thailand Barista Bears.

“It was such an honor for Starbucks to join us in service,” said Naiyana Aua-amnueychai, director of Bumrung-Raviwan Wittaya School. “We place a great deal of emphasis on English skills development and food sustainability at our school and Starbucks volunteers helped our teachers and students in these areas. We are pleased that Starbucks and our school share the same goal to contribute back to our society.”

Starbucks Thailand has collaborated with Books for Children since 2005. Together, they have collected more than 400,000 books through an annual Christmas book drive and completed a library renovation at Silapadech community. In addition, they completed the Bookstart for Intellectual Disability Children’s Project at Rajanukul Institute and renovated the Wat Kla Cha-um School library and playground.

“By working with Books for Children for the past 10 years, we have delivered educational opportunities to both public and private organizations nationwide,” said Sumonpin Jotikabukkana, marketing and communications director of Starbucks Coffee Thailand. “We realize that literacy is an essential element for children’s development and we aim to do our best to continue to promote and support these areas for Thai children in every sector of the society.” 

For more information on this story, contact the Starbucks Newsroom