His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej passed away peacefully at the age of 89 on October, 13. At this time of sorrow and loss, all members of DEPDC/GMS would like to express their profound condolences on the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
He was the unifying national leader who worked tirelessly for a carrier of peace, unity and prosperity for the people of Thailand. DEDPC/GMS will continue to honour King Bhumibol’s legacy of commitment to universal values and respect for human right. So he will live in the hearts of our people forever as we would continue to follow in his footsteps.
Last Friday marked the end of term here at HDS. After a full semester the students spent the week taking their exams and enjoying their last week.
Since studying, and playing, hard since May, all of our students passed their mid-year exams and are taking a well deserved break. Our teachers corrected their exams and are also taking a holiday as well during this month. This past semester has been filled to the brim. From concerts, to guests, to new volunteers arriving and old volunteers leaving, there has been no shortage of excitement this term.
On October 31st the new term will start up and we are looking forward to see all of our students back and hope that they will be as successful during the second part of the year as during the first part.
We would like to thank all that have helped and supported during this past term. Us here at DEPDC would not be able to continue our work of educating our students without your support. If you would like to support the HDS or any other project at DEPDC, please visit our project page at GlobalGiving.
On September 22 at 9:00AM, in front of the Mae Sai Municipality Office, the Thai government launched a campaign to stop all forms of violence against women and girls under the concept “Stop Violence…LET’S GO TO ASEAN 2016”. The campaign involved more than 100 students in Mae Sai and more than 8 NGO that were arranged into 5 parades and 3 orchestral bands.
DEPDC/GMS has decided to join this campaign, which aims to educate people and increase awareness about domestic and family violence. This campaign was initiated by her Royal Highness, Princess Bajrakitiyabha. She is aware of the people’s problems and suffering, especially concerning violence to women, both physically and mentally. Her motto is “Say No to Violence against Women” to mark her designation as a Goodwill Ambassador in Thailand.
Violence against women and girls is a very concerning issue in Thailand. Experts in the field of domestic violence counseling say that many statistics fail to show the full extent of the problem due to underreporting; a problem many other countries in the world face as well. Many of the minority ethnic group victims are less likely to seek help in the face of violence because of their lack of legal status, inability to properly communicate in Thai, and limited knowledge of their rights.
DEPDC/GMS focuses on education with hopes of solving the issues of human trafficking, child labor, teenage pregnancy, and various forms of violence against children and youth. In order to continue our work, we need your kind support, concern and help. If you would like to give, please visit our project page at GlobalGiving.
Every year at the Half Day School, the students and teachers come together during the rainy season to plant rice. HDS grows their own rice to support the lunch program and help feed the students. Last year, the rice harvest was less than expected due to a dry rainy season. This year we are hoping for a better harvest.
Last week, the students harvested, cleaned and replanted the rice we had begun growing. Starting with a small plot the students, with the help of P’Noom, planted rice and allowed it to grow to create a start for the rest of the harvest. Once the rice grew to the proper size, as it was last week, all of the students and teachers got together for a full afternoon of harvesting.
All of our students worked to pull up the rice plants, clean the roots and bundle them together to make planting the next day easier. The next morning, all of them got back to work and replanted all of the rice plants from the day before. After the full day Friday, all three of the Half Day School’s rice paddies were filled with plants. Now we will wait for the next three months or so for the rice to grow to its full height. Come December the students will be able to enjoy all of their hard work!
Well… not all of our students helped out-a water filled paddy is too much fun to resist!
This week we had Happiness U Can Give, a foundation based in Chiang Rai, come visit us at the Half Day School. They came and performed all afternoon for our students and children from Baan Doi and Baannana. All the students also each performed a song and Ajan Sompop sang to close out the show!
All of our students enjoyed the show and were thankful to Happiness U Can Give for joining us! Well, maybe not all of our students…
Did you ever hear about the Marshmallow Test? This is one of the most influential psychological experiment about self-control by Walter Mischel. The test is quite simple. A small child was served a marshmallow and was given two choices: you can eat one marshmallow now or, if you can wait, you get to eat two marshmallows later. If you were that child, could you wait for that tortured moment? The research found that that the children who were able to wait longer for the two marshmallows were more likely to have better life outcomes and more successful life styles. The study emphasized that delayed gratification and self-control are major factors for a successful life.
Then, what about our children in the Swimming Home shelter or at the Half Day School? Although I have yet to conduct the same experiment so far, but I bet all of our children would eat the marshmallow in a second. It is not surprising at all. According to recent psychological research, a children’s attitude can be different depending on the financial circumstance. The children in a poor environment tend to take action to get a certain reward immediately instead of waiting for an uncertain future reward. In other words, the effects of poverty, hunger and homelessness on children may lower self-control and patience for delayed gratification.
Why talk about this boring psychology research now? Because this research is associated with us here at DEPDC directly. While we are teaching children about English, music or dance, the children cannot sit on a chair more than 20 minutes and want more games, want to listen to music and play recklessly. As this is a struggle for many a new volunteer here, Ajan Sompop brought forward some good advice. He suggested to understand the children instead of only focusing on teaching them. It makes us here at DEPDC remember that the children are our teachers as much as we are their’s and we must learn everything from them. As a second recent research study said when poor children may have low self-control, children’s learning attitudes may be influenced by their poor families and bad risky environments. Therefore, our children may have a bad educational attitude based on external factors. Suddenly, we recognize that we should learn understanding above all to become a good teacher.
DEPDC has had many teachers this term, from our new international volunteers to all of our International Student Volunteers, and all have learned just as much from our students as they have taught. All of our teaching here at DEPDC is about more than just teaching a subject, it is about teaching our children to understand, and in turn, learning to understand ourselves.
August 19th marks the United Nations’ World Humanitarian Day. Beginning in 2009, World Humanitarian Day has become a day to celebrate and recognize all humanitarian personnel and those who have lost their lives working for humanitarian causes.
This day was designated from the efforts of the Sérgio Vieira de Mello Foundation and his family working closely with the Ambassadors of France, Switzerland, Japan and Brazil. Sérgio Vieira de Mello dedicated his lifetime, over 30 years, to the United Nations. He served in some of the most challenging humanitarian situations in the world to reach the voiceless victims. He died, along with 21 colleagues, on August 19, 2003 in Baghdad creating a loss of a great humanitarian leader.
With his legacy in mind, the Vieira de Mello family and friends founded the Sergio Vieira de Mello Foundation to continue his unfinished humanitarian mission to create and encourage dialogue between communities and victims of humanitarian crises. The Foundation sees World Humanitarian Day as a tribute to all humanitarian personnel who have made the ultimate sacrifices to make the world a better place for all victims of humanitarian crises and to encourage all those working to aspire to even greater heights in accomplishing their goals.
For over 25 years, DEPDC/GMS has worked for humanitarian causes. Providing education, training, protection and rehabilitation for those women and children who are at-risk of being exploited or trafficked, our founder Mr. Sompop Jantraka is a man much like Sergio Vieira de Mello. If you would like to join Mr. Sompop and the DEPDC team on this humanitarian mission, please visit our Volunteer Information page for information on our volunteer positions and how to apply.
Last week on July 30, the United Nations brought attention to human trafficking with their annual World Day Against Trafficking In Persons. The International Labour Organization estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labor or sexual exploitation. While not all of these victims are trafficked, it is estimated that millions of trafficking in persons victims.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon gave a statement last Saturday discussing the issues facing migrants and refugees and vulnerability that allows them to be preyed on. “Human traffickers prey on the most desperate and vulnerable. To end this inhumane practice, we must do more to shield migrants and refugees—and particularly young people, women and children—from those who would exploit their yearnings for a better, safer, and more dignified future.” He went on to mention that these would be key issues during the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants held this coming September. For his final words, Ban Ki-moon stated; “I urge everyone to recommit to protect, respect, and fulfill the human rights of all migrants and refugees. Creating and supporting well-governed, safe, and human rights-based migration and asylum procedures will be an important step towards ending the abhorrent practice of profiting from human despair and misery.”
Ban Ki-moon was followed by statements from both the UNODC (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime) Executive Director and the Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons. Their statements, as well as the full statement from Ban Ki-moon, can be read here.
Here at DEPDC/GMS, we are working every day to combat these issues. With many of our students coming from migrant backgrounds, we see the issues facing these children everyday. DEPDC hopes that by giving our students an opportunity for education, we can bring them out of a state of vulnerability and they can go on to lead long and happy lives free from trafficking. To help DEPDC/GMS continue our work towards ending human trafficking, please visit our GlobalGiving page and support our projects.