World Health Day – 7th April

WHD logo

This very important day was first recognized in 1948 and held by the World Health Organization. It symbolizes the first world health assembly and is held to mark the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO). It is a day where attention should be drawn to a subject of major importance, global health. International, Regional and even Local events are organized by WHO for the big day usually related to a particular theme. Each year differs with specific themes that have made headlines in the year gone past. 2015’s theme is dedicated towards ‘food safety’. The WHO is working with countries and partner organizations to prevent, detect and respond to foodborne disease. The day also focuses on food safety along the whole food chain, from transportation to preparation to consumption. This is due to the way in which the processes within the food chain have changed drastically in the past 50 years.

Here are some facts about food safety that help to explain its importance:

  • More than 200 diseases are spread through food.
  • On average 1.5 million children die a year due to illness’ from contaminated food and water
  • Food contamination affects an economy and society as a whole.
  • Everybody has a role to play in keeping food safe.

DEPDC has tried to exercise the importance of health as well as food safety in various parts of our program. Our Lunch program provides students with knowledge about what is healthy and what is not, as well as providing a healthy nutritious meal that is sometimes the only wholesome food these students get a day. All vegetarian do not forget!


Sports class at HDS Mae Sai

The Half day School in Mae Sai welcomes a member of medical staff once a year, for a routine check up on all the students making sure that they are all in good health. They provide standard vaccinations and inoculations such as polio among others. There is also the policy that if a child at DEPDC has come ill and their parents cannot afford the healthcare needed, DEPDC will bring them to the hospital. Students are regularly given personal hygiene classes in all 3 of our centers. We also provide sexual health classes in our child rights protection center in Chiang Khong. Exercise is strongly promoted in our centers as exercise is key maintaining good health. With space to play and an Olympic size swimming pool in our Mae Chan center it is embedded within our mission.

Swimming competition at DEPDC's Mae Chan Shelter

Swimming competition at DEPDC’s Mae Chan Shelter

The world health day, which occurs every year, is aimed at increasing awareness about global health problems and the importance of health in our societies. There is a lot of room for progress in terms of health worldwide, so do not be shy and pick the healthy option!

Retrospect on HDS’s school year

On Friday the 13th of March the 2014/2015 school year at DEPDC’s Half Day School (HDS) ended and our students began their holidays that will last until 10th of May. The teachers and administrative staff are wishing our students a happy holiday!

HDS's Grade 5 during an English lesson.

HDS’s Grade 5 during an English lesson.

In the beginning of the holidays HDS’s teachers will mark the exams all out students had to write during the last school week and will prepare the reports. After that is done HDS’s teachers will spend visits to some of the students families as a follow up from October’s annual visit.

HDS's students during their midterm exams.

HDS’s students during their midterm exams.

The holidays also mean that HDS’s staff will get a chance to take some well-deserved holidays after a long school year. The school year was filled with field trips, a nature camp, and finally a sports day. Doing all the teaching and preparing all the special activities means a lot of fun, but it also means a lot of work for HDS’s small staff.

During HDS's nature camp our students planted saplings at a reforestation area.

During HDS’s nature camp our students planted saplings at a reforestation area.

Teacher Thoeng teaching kindergarten during our trip to Tam Luang.

Teacher Thoeng teaching kindergarten during our trip to Tam Luang.

Tug-of-war during HDS Sports Day 2015.

Tug-of-war during HDS Sports Day 2015.

We wish all our students and teachers, a restful and happy holiday! Looking forward to see all of you back in May.

Study Tour on Modern Agriculture


On 18 February DEPDC’s Half Day School (HDS) went on a field trip to visit two agricultural development centers which are located close to Mae Sai. The Prince Chakraband Pensiri Center for Plant Development and the Tea Oil and Plant Oils Development Center, which are both operated by the Chaipattana Foundation.

In the morning, our students visited the Prince Chakraband Pensiri Center for Plant Development, where they got an introduction into the center’s work during a tour through the fields. They learned about the development of plants that produce a good yield, a good product quality, and are disease-resistant. The center does research on traditional Thai crops, as well as on foreign ones.

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Additionally, the center does research on organic fertilizers and distributes seeds to the local farming communities around Mae Sai.

After the tour, HDS’s students had a picnic at a small park belonging to the center.

In the afternoon, the Tea Oil and Plant Oils Development Center received our students and gave them a chance to learn about oil plant farming and the production process of tea oil (Made from Camellia oleifera. Not to be confused with Camellia sinensis which is used to produce green and black teas). Additionally to tea oil, which is mainly used for cooking, cosmetics, and medicine, the center does research on oils from plants like sunflowers, lavender, and others.

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After a long day, our students walked back to school and could go home tired but happy. DEPDC would like to thank the staff of both centers for receiving our school and for giving us interesting tours around the centers.

To learn more about the Prince Chakraband Pensiri Center for Plant Development, click here:

English short info (please scroll down)


To learn more about the Tea Oil and Plant Oils Development Center, click here:

English short info (please scroll down)


Happy International Mother Language Day 2015!

On Saturday the 21st of February UNESCO celebrates its 15th International Mother Language Day. This commemoration day was introduced by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in November 1999 “promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism”.


The 21st of February was chosen for this commemoration day because it represents the anniversary of the killing of Bengali student protesters in Dhaka, Pakistan (today Bangladesh), in 1952. They were demonstrating for the right to read, write, and speak their mother tongue, Bangla, when they got shot by the police.

The right to use ones own mother tongue is a fundamental right and of high importance for a community as it is closely connected with its life, history, culture, and identity.

Northern Thailand is language-wise highly heterogeneous. Next to Thailand’s national language Thai, Kham Mueang (the everyday language of Northern Thailand ) is the most important one, but there are as many different languages as ethnic minorities. These languages belong to various language families like; Tai-Kadai, Tibeto-Burman, Miao-Yao, and Mon-Khmer.

At the moment DEPDC’s Half Day School (HDS) serves students from four different linguistic backgrounds. HDS has students speaking Thai Lue, Thai Yai, Akha, and Burmese. These minority languages are still widely spoken in their communities and are often the first language our students learn in their life.


At the time students enter HDS they cover a wide range of ages and Thai language skills, making it impossible to allocate the students into classes according to their age. For this reason classes at HDS are shaped according to the students’ Thai language skills, which makes the classes even more diverse, but gives the students a chance to learn at an appropriate level for each individual.

In some terms HDS offers additional Burmese language classes for our students to give them at least a basic literacy in Myanmar’s national language.

BirmanischBirmanischThe teaching staff of HDS consists of Thai, Thai Yai, Thai Lue, Akha, and English native speakers and offers support for our students in their native language.

“Best Start: The First Six Years of Life are the Golden Years for Children”

On February 6th UNICEF Thailand launched a campaign to improve early childhood development. The campaign “Best Start: The First Six Years of Life are the Golden Years for Children” shall raise awareness of the unique chance of child development during this early period.

HDS kindergarten students during English class.

                                 HDS kindergarten students during English class.

During the first six years a child’s brain develops faster than during any other period of life and its early development will set course for any future evolvement. During this period the base for a successful education in the future can be laid. Stimuli during these years positively influence the child’s brain and motor skills development.

The importance of the first six years in a child’s life is still too little known in Thailand and improving this situation is a highly efficient way to improve the children’s lives and to support a positive development in Thailand’s education system.

During these years a healthy diet is key to a child’s development and malnutrition can have adverse effects for the future life. General undernutrition as well as a diet lacking only specific nutrients can cause problems in body and brain development.

Students enter DEPDC’s kindergarten classes as young as 4 years of age. At that time we start to support our students to enable them to develop to their full capabilities. DEPDC provides its students with education on three different levels. In the morning, our students receive academic education and in the afternoon, our students receive either vocational training or life skills training.

HDS students during cooking class.

                                            HDS students during cooking class.

One important part of life skills training is the education about a healthy diet that covers all needs of the human body. Students will learn what their body needs and how to prepare meals that provide the necessary nutrition. An important part of the vocational training is knowledge about agriculture. In our school garden students have lessons on organic farming practice and all students can grow their own vegetables on a small patch of land. The vegetables the teachers grow are used for DEPDC’s lunch program and the vegetables grown by the students themselves can be brought home to supplement the families food supply.

The lunch program is a very important part of DEPDC’s work as it is sometimes the only proper meal our students will get a day. Often students are waiting for lunch time as it is their first food of the day. The lunch program helps to provide all our students with the nutrition needed to enable them to develop to their full capabilities.


Thai PBS visit at Chiang Khong Safe Shelter

On January 24th and 25th a group from Thai PBS, a major Thai TV station, came to DEPDC’s Chiang Khong shelter to do a short film workshop.

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This year’s workshop was the second one organized in a cooperation of local NGOs with Thai PBS. Besides DEPDC, two other NGOs from Chiang Rai Province participated in the workshop’s organization. Krong Gaan Kiang Rim Kong (Project at the Mekong Riverbank) from Huai So, Chiang Khong District, and Suun Puea Nong Ying (Center for Girls) from Mae O, Phan District, both in Chaing Rai Province.

On Saturday morning, the workshop’s participants received introductory lessons into creative writing, acting, video and audio equipment, and recording. The afternoon was taken up by creative writing and acting training.

On Sunday, three groups of five girls produced their own short movies that will be edited and finalized with the support of Thai PBS’s staff.

The short movies this year will be focusing on ‘Commercial sexual exploitation of children’ (CSEC).

Last year’s short movie (please find youtube-link attached below [Lahu with Thai and English subtitles]) was produced by five girls from DEPDC’s Chiang Khong shelter and is called Stories from a Diary. The movie tells the story of Nagaya’s difficult transition from junior high school to senior high school. It mainly focused on the dichotomy between the dream of studying on to find a good job in the future and the necessity to support the family income by dropping out of school and going to work in one of the big cities now.

Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2015

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It is with the most distinct honor and pleasure for DEPDC/GMS to announce that Khun Sompop Jantraka has been officially named as one of three finalists to receive the Robert Burns Humanitarian Award. Khun Sompop is being considered for his lifetime of dedication to eradicating human trafficking and child exploitation and empowering youth all over the Greater Mekong Sub-region.

WORKING SESSION 2: Providing Real Choices: What works for at-risk adolescent girls and boys.

Robert Burns is a famous Scottish poet whose works include: “To a Mouse”, “Tam O’ Shanter”, and “A Red, Red Rose”. Robert Burns is a highly revered historical figure in Scotland, his nickname being “the Son of Scotland”.

The Robert Burns Humanitarian Award has been presented to those individuals or foundations who have “shown selflessness and dedication in a bid to save, enrich or improve the lives of others through the protection and promotion of human rights and work to deliver social reform” since 2002. It is an internationally recognized award that is considered a great honor to receive. The award ceremony is apart of Scotland’s Winter Festival and is funded by the Scottish government.

The ceremony will take place on January 22, 2015 in Ayrshire Scotland. Khun Sompop will be traveling to Scotland with International Volunteer, Channing. She is responsible for nominating him back in October of 2014, and he is eager for her to share in the experience.

We are so very proud of all of Khun Sompop’s accomplishments and wish him the best of luck in Scotland!

To learn more about Robert Burns Humanitarian Award 2015, click here:

To learn more about the Scottish poet, Robert Burns, click here:

Enough Christmas Letters to Last a Lifetime


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Addie Lynn, 6, is a little girl who lives in Utah. She has a terminal disease, and when her family found out this may be her last Christmas, they started a project: give Addie a lifetime of Christmas cards and letters. Children and Earth Inc., a non-profit organization assisting with the project, says so far thousands of letters have been pouring in to the P.O. box each day!

Addie says her favorite type of card to receive is a home made one, so K1 (Kindergarten), G1 (Grade 1), and G2 (Grade 2) students at DEPDC/GMS Half-Day School each wrote her a letter. To help, the teacher wrote a prompt for the students to copy, but the students were given free rein to design their letter however they wanted. That being said, a Christmas theme was encouraged.

The English teacher in charge of this project had this to say, “When I had the kids do the ‘Hand Turkey’ project, I noticed a lot of them wrote that they were thankful for their good health. I thought this Christmas-themed project would be the perfect opportunity to them to show kindness to someone who is not as lucky as they are in that area. The love and effort put into each letter written was amazing to watch.”

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If you would like to send Addie Lynn a Christmas card, here is the address to do so:

Addie Lynn and Sisters

P.O. Box 162

Fountain Green, UT 84632






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