Beginning of the rainy season

As some of you all know, two weeks ago the rainy season has started. And that means, you’ve guessed it, rain.  After months with lots of sun and heat, the rain is welcomed like an old friend. The temperature is going down during the rain, but after it quickly rises again. The storm blows away the smoke that accumulates in this valley, which you can notice in the behavior of the children. They are more active and the boys are more active in playing football outside.1495696953405

The rain unfortunately also comes to show the repairs that needed to be done. During the first storm a tree fall down and took down a phone pole, fortunately it was quickly repaired by some local volunteers.  However the rain in the next days showed the holes in parts of the roof. Fortunately the holes aren’t located in a classroom, but it is causing a lot of water in the corridors. As can be seen in the pictures, the rain really pours down.  Repairs are needed; however this unfortunately does cost money. That is why we reach out to you all, our trusted readers and donators, in hope you will help repair the roof with your donations.1495696956281

Start of the new school year

FullSizeRenderAfter these few weeks of vacation the school has finally started again. The children were enthusiastic to start and even more so when they got a few presents. A former student from the first student batch donated 200 t-shirts for the children. Now all the students have a few clean white and black shirts, as can be seen in the picture. As these children mostly come from underprivileged families, new clothing is a rarity. Some of the children were given shoes and underwear, as their family couldn’t afford these basic necessities. They were also given backpacks, pencils and notebooks to write their homework in, this made possible by Lianne Rivera, a person who raised funds in the US. And even though we are a school and education is our main focus, we realize that we have to provide the conditions for children to be educated.

Starting the new school year also involves some extra cleaning. The whiteboards get an extra scrubbing and so do the desks. IMG_20170516_104736After this the students are eager to start learning again. During the English class the students were yelling out the answers with a lot of enthusiasm. And after a few months off, they is some need for revision, but we’ll manage. Yes, to conclude, we are ready again for a new school year, thanks to all your generous donations. IMG_20170516_104658IMG_20170516_104950

A latent update

It has been a few weeks since our last post; this is due to the summer vacation. However the teachers and volunteers aren’t enjoying the vacation, they keep busy with working to better the school. We do this by working on administration, try to apply for extra funds, write lesson plans and getting extra education. IMG_6290

The latter we have done by attending a meeting with other organizations, hosted by Child’s Dream foundation, where the needs of a SWOT-analysis and possible improvements to our organization were highlighted. These meetings aren’t meant to merely teach, but also to make connections and to observe the workings of other organization. IMG_6287(1)Seeing the other organizations we could see that we are exemplary in many ways, however there’s always room for improvement. One of our key features was that we are able to provide the children with an education which is accredited by the Thai government.  And this allows the student to continue their education to get the full 12 years of our elementary/middle school combined with education here and with education from the state. Our organization provides extra basic Thai language and mathematics, whilst providing vocational training to add skill for a lifetime. After which they can enroll into two years of state run high school, even though they lack papers. IMG_6270

Our vice principal presenting our findings

After these two years they have the possibility to go to university. And despite many children lack the ambition and family opportunity to stay in school after age of 16/18, the possibility for them remain and we encourage them to seize it. It’s great to see that the donations of everyone are able to provide such an education, such an opportunity for these children.

IMG_6288Picture of our volunteer Peter, giving a presentation on our organization. 

Exams, end of term 2016/2017 working through the vacation and a call for volunteers

Exams and then on Thursday the 16th of March it was finally there again… the 2016/2017 school year at DEPDC’s Half Day School (HDS) has ended and our students began their holidays that will last until 15th of May. The teachers and administrative staff are wishing our students a happy holiday!

In the week preceding the vacation it was naturally time for their exams. They had exams in the main subjects and sometimes with surprising results. There were a few that really stood out amongst the rest, others showed the points were we as teachers could focus on in the next period. And then on Thursday they had a day of helping to clean the school terrain and have a little fun. There was shaved ice as a treat, of which some children went for a second, third and even a fourth portion. And we gave presents and gifts to our children for celebrating their achievements what they have done during this semester. IMG_1619

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IMG_1622And now the HDS is closed for the summer period. But seeing that a lot of children’s parents are still working, DEPC/GMS helps to relieve strain on the families by providing two weeks of extra classes in English and Mathematics. This is popular not only amongst our students, but also amongst those from other schools. 30 children are following these classes, which focuses more on the fun and joy of English and math.

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Even though the HDS is closed, DEPDC still functions as a community learning center and gives private English lessons to 2 high school students and 20 elementary school students. Besides this, there is a business focused English classes for an adult, who goes from Myanmar to Thailand 3 days a week specifically for these classes.

Swimming training and music activities will be done during the first week of April. Not only for the children of DEPC, but with other colleague organizations in the province. So you can see that despite the school year ending, we still stepping up and work towards a brighter future.

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But all this work cannot be done without our dedicated staff and volunteers. And a new school year also means that we are in need of new volunteers. Are you, or do you know a person that would like to dedicate their time and love in this great work into stopping human trafficking through education, please contact us and fill out our form at: https://depdcblog.wordpress.com/volunteer/mae-sai/

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Successfully Completed The Y’ALL Art Project

DSCF1096As mentioned in an earlier blog,  we had two very special international teachers. Since last December, Danny DeBlasio and Catherine Hart were working here at DEPDC. They were funded through their project called: “The Y’All Project”. The YALL Art Project is a non-profit organization that brings a collaborative art process in photography and mural painting to communities in need of the arts.

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Y’all project was a delight to have. They started with a class where they instructed the children about photography and naturally the children were very enthusiastic. The following lessons where the children could take pictures by their own and would discuss it in class. They learned more about art and the way they could interpret their surroundings, with some amazing results. Danny took the children on a walking tour with their cameras, where they had to take pictures of their surroundings.The following period focused on the making of two murals. This was interesting as some of the boys were hesitating at first, but Danny was quick to reassure them and they got encouraged to participate. Catherine gave the children lessons on how to mix the colors, work with primary and secondary colors. At the end we have a great mural and ever enthusiastic children who keep on looking at their work during the breaks and refer to the project in class. (You will better understand after see the slideshow below)

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Danny also provided a great website were the photographs of the children are displayed and people are able to purchase them from all over the world. Catherine and Danny asked the children what they would like to do with the money that their pictures made on the website. The children decided to donate this money to our organization. Naturally You All can look at the amazing pictures made by the children and even purchase them here: http://www.yall-art-project.com/buy-prints/

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We would like to thank Danny and Catherine for all their efforts and time they have put into this project and their bond with the children. We wish them all the best on the next location of the Y’All project and hope to see them soon again.

The Annual Summer Camp

Last week was a rather fun week, as it was once again time for the annual summer camp. The children were camping overnight on the school grounds. Of course it was very exciting for them, as there were a lot of activities planned, they were all fun, but some with serious themes. This camp gave the opportunity to discuss the more serious topics, whilst being in a safe environment. One of the first activities for the older children was the second lesson in sexual health, again taught by the same organization as last time. All the children were given raw eggs with their names on them and at the end of the camp they would show that they were responsible and give them back in one piece. Most children did return them, but some eggs did fall on the ground. Later in the day it was time to set up the tents and roll out the mats to prepare for the night. Most children had a hard time getting to sleep, but none the less they had to wake up early the next day as they had swimming lessons.img_20170221_101031

img_20170221_154524img_20170221_095323The children were divided into 3 groups, depending on their swimming abilities. Some were quite good and remembered their previous lessons. But the most of the children had to start at the very beginning. Beginning with peddling the water, whilst sitting on the side of the pool and slowly building up to peddle across on a foam rubber floaty. At the end of the day some of the beginners were even able to swim on their own thanks to all the teachers and volunteers who helped them. After a long day of swimming the children returned to the school grounds, where they got meals and some extra treats. In the evening there was a campfire and in its light games were played. They started with a clapping song and then a form of musical chairs.8031980333dscf9575dscf9574

The last day started with a team work game, where they one by one had to turn around until they were dizzy and then cross the field to fill a bottle with water from a spoon. This was a great way for the children to wake up and get ready for a new day. After the lunch another serious topic was discussed namely, domestic violence. After a lesson on the topic and discussing examples they were divided in groups where they had to make posters on that subject.dscf9559

So now after these three day and two nights of fun activities, learning important life skills and being able to discuss the harder subjects the camp came to a close. Once again we can look back on a successful camp and we are reminded on how we are able to do these thing thanks to your donations. That’s why we would like to thank you all for your support.dscf9597-2

Meet an international volunteer: Peter

img_1245The International Department would like to introduce Peter. He joined our organization almost three weeks ago. Peter teaches English to the children here at DEPDC and the Community Learning Centre, but he also helps the other staff with documents and these blogs.

Peter is from the Netherlands and got to know Thailand during an elective track in “Human rights and security” at Thammasat University in Bangkok, whilst he was doing his master’s degree in Global Health. Peter has previous experience working with children, whilst doing his bachelor in Social Work and his education in becoming a group-home worker, which does comes in handy working here. Peter has quite an extensive resume, from which he draws inspiration for this organization.  img_1254

Peter says that he is inspired to help change the situation for the best for these children. And that he knows that education can be the key for this change. The children really seem to like him and are amazed about his size and they often come up to him to compare their length. During the last Sports Day he was part of the black team and even though he wasn’t very athletic during most events, he was skilled at the tug of war. fullsizerender_4

The Annual Sports Day

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A tradition here at DEPDC is the annual sports day, a day that allows the children to exercise and learn important skills. Skills like teamwork, discipline and respect. The children were divided into two teams, the black and the blue team for which they cheered fiercely.img_1189

This year’s Sports Day included the usual activities such as the sprint, sack hop and the spoon race. There were also some less conventional games, like a game where a Ping-Pong ball needed to be hit across the Finnish line by hitting it with a bottle of water on a string around their hips; a hurdle run, where every hurdle was something to do or eat.  The games started and all the students cheered on their classmates as they ran, hopped, and occasionally ate their way across the finish line. And even towards the end of the day during the final competition, tug-of-war, no one seemed to tire or give up.  Snacks were distributed to all the participants after each event and again at the closing ceremony.

img_1254At the end of the day, we recognized our winning team, had closing ceremonies, and sent the kids off happy from their day’s exertions and fun.img_1227

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