Three Days of Invaluable Life Lessons

While the month of April was relatively quiet around DEPDC/GMS’ Mae Sai Centre, with the Half Day School on summer vacation, the month of May started with excitement. A busy three day, two night vocational workshop provided a vital education experience to 53 children from the Half Day School (HDS), the Development Education Project at Chiang Khong (M-CPR), as well as children from around Phatak Village.

Throughout the workshop, the children enjoyed lessons given by the staff of the Half Day School. The girls and boys were taught a variety of skills that they will be able to use in their futures, to work and to help support their families.

An older woman from Phatak village volunteered her time to teach the girls how to make traditional ceremony decorations out of banana leaves and flowers. They turned out beautifully and have given the girls a valuable skill if they choose to continue with this type of work in their futures.

Girls were also taught how to cook phobial, a type of Thai spring roll, as well as various types of Thai coconut desserts. Kru Alinda* helped the girls to make kathong, cups made out of banana leaves, to hold the desserts. The food was delicious and now all of the girls have the skills to continue to practice cooking these foods in order to become great chefs!

Kru Sai and Kru Mali taught the girls how to knit scrunchies, as well as design and sew different styles of head-bands. The girls had fun making the items and recognize the value of learning these skills; in Mae Sai these items are sold for anywhere between 10-40 Baht each (30 Baht, approx. 1 US$, buys you a meal in Mae Sai).

During the three day workshop, the boys had the opportunity to study about the basics of building. Kru Ue and Kru Sam taught the boys to make a wooden mould to start the building process. They also showed the boys how to mix cement and how to lay bricks. The vocational experience culminated in the boys using their new knowledge of building to construct a tooth brushing station for the DEPDC/GMS Mae Sai Centre.

In the evenings, staff provided the children with lessons on how to protect themselves in potential trafficking or other dangerous situations. These lessons are invaluable to all children.

The three day program ended with a ceremony, in which each boy and girl received a certificate for their committed participation. During the final ceremony the children and staff reflected on the skills they were taught throughout the workshop. One of the boys proudly declared that now, if something happened to his home, he would be able to fix it.

Overall, the workshop turned out to be another one of DEPDC/GMS’ successful and fun vocational education experiences! We would like to give our thanks to Plan International for the funding they provided to make this workshop possible.

*Kru is a Thai term for teacher.

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