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.
And 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.
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.
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/
As 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.
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)
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/
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 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.
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.
Last week we had many special educational activities and classes for our children.
Aside from our regular classes, our children have creative and special classes such as creating and playing musical instruments and art & drawing classes. Each of these unique classes aimed to inspire their creative entitlement and help creating an emotional rounded person with a deeper sense of identity. As this organization aims to prevent children to fall victim of sex-traffickers, it is important to talk about this subject. This starts with basic understanding of another subject that we have to teach, namely ‘Sexual and reproductive health’.
- Sexual and reproductive health
A specialized organization came to teach sexual and reproductive health education. The sexuality education class taught our students the names of the sexual parts of the body and bodily functions in order to help them to communicate more clearly and thus contributes to their safety and wellbeing. But also more difficult subjects have been discussed, such as intimate relationships, sexual orientation, abstinence and contraception. And most important, the children were thought reproductive rights and responsibilities, to help prevent and reduce the risks of adolescent pregnancy, HIV, and sexually transmitted infections. Hence, ultimately they will be able to protect themselves from human trafficking in Greater Mekong Region.
- Music class with Khlui
Since our children got their own traditional Thai bamboo flute, the Khlui, they have learned note reading and finger placement. So they are able to not only make beautiful sounds, but also play simple music completely. As they found their own voices and practice it patiently, we will soon hear beautiful traditional Khlui songs.
- Art & drawing Class
The photograph class finished successfully and we are so proud of the amazing accomplishments and grateful for the amazing volunteer teachers. Through their camera lenses, they would understand their worlds, its people and they have learned how to communicate this to the outside world through a different form of communication. After the photograph class, our children have started the mural painting of some of their pictures. The students will select their favorite photos and paint on the wall their own story and view.
Check out the below video clip how they made great photos.
Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese artist, philosopher and writer said that education is a bow, and child is a living arrow which can be sent forth. We have a strong faith in that our education will decide a major part of our children’s future lives and their quality of happiness. Education is the key to prevent human trafficking and it can cut the link of poverty in this generation. Therefore, as the archer, we will target at the path of infinite, shot our precious arrows to go swift and far, and admire the trajectory of arrow silently and patiently.
For the past couple of weeks, we have had 28 international volunteers from both the university of Missouri and Daemen college in the US, and were busy working on building a tree house which will serve as a therapy shelter, painting a wall, helping with cooking, and teaching English to our children.
Two groups of international student volunteers came here at DPEDC with different programs, which were called KAYA and CIS Abroad. Both shared similar visions to support and help children from DEPDC as well as understanding about the current human trafficking situation alongside the Thai-Burmese border. International volunteers were split with tasks divided between teaching and construction works. During the teaching sessions, they provided opportunities for spontaneous interaction and fun challenges with various playful games, encouraging our students to be fully engaged in the English classes. These games evoked their learning motivation into learning English and maintained their interests and curiosity.
Moreover, our international volunteers contributed to repaint our school’s old wall and build a new tree house shelter, called the “Play Home in Nature” which will provide a therapeutic environment for our children like healing, personal development, personal discovery, and positive change.
We would like to thank our dedicated and passionate volunteers, as our children have had a great and joyful time with them. They have done amazing works help cleaning our class rooms and built a tree house therapy shelter. International student volunteers’ charities, supporting and helping are the greatest of all, because all of us are directly witnessing their good work and how these efforts have a powerful effect on people and society in general.
If you’ve ever considered getting involved and volunteering, please don’t hesitate to visit the volunteer information page on our blog and get in touch. We always love having more members in our international family, and your help will go further than you can imagine. Or if you can’t volunteer but feel like you’d like to make a contribution, please visit our GlobalGiving donations page here to pick which of our programs you’d like to contribute to.
On Friday, January 13th, we celebrated National Children’s Day (Wan Dek) in Thailand at DEPDC Mae Sai. Everyone had a great and enjoyable day with lots of funny games and joyful performances, and marvelous gifts. Below photos are a brief description of how we spent the day. Before staring the children’s day celebration, everyone prepared a small gift, marked number on them, and exchange them later in the day. Students played all sorts of games, drew numbers in order to win prizes, and ate lots of sweets. Many of the children performed dances, sang lovely songs for everyone. Thanks to International university volunteers, we had various events, games and performances and lot of gifts for our children. A fun time was had by all, especially our students, as you can see in our photos!
Children’s Day is not simple a day to celebrate children for who they are, but also to bring awareness to children around the world that have succumbed to violence in forms of conflict, violence, abuse, human trafficking, child prostitution, exploitation and discrimination. In Thailand, every year has a different motto for celebrating children’s day, and the motto for 2017 Children’s Day is “Thai Children who pay attention to study, will bring about national stability.” As this year’s motto, the entire staffs of DEPDC are doing our best for teaching children well and preventing them from human trafficking and children abuse.