Today, October 24, is World Development Information Day, a day very close to our hearts here at DEPDC. The day was first declared in 1972 by the UN General Assembly as a time to raise and discuss issues to do with development, like poverty and education. It also deliberately coincides with United Nations Day, 24 October, which, in 1970, was the same day that the International Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade was adopted. As you can see there’s a lot of history to this day and its desire to make the world a better place, so we thought we’d do our part to get involved!
Thailand has made great strides in development in the last 50 years, and since the Asian Financial Crisis in 1997 Thailand has steadily continued making progress. Some people and institutions around the world, including the International Monetary Fund, have now even taken Thailand off of the list of developing countries, calling it a ‘middle-advanced country’ or ‘a newly industrializing country’. As part of this, Thailand has been moving away from being only a recipient of international aid towards providing some aid to developing countries itself, such as to its neighbours in the Greater Mekong Subregion. However, although this is admirable and although progress is definitely being made, there is still a lot of developing to do, and many people have decided to keep Thailand on their lists of developing countries.
We’d like, then, to congratulate Thailand on its considerable efforts so far, but not lose sight of the things Thailand still needs to work on, among which two things are particularly important to us here at DEPDC – poverty and education. Sadly, here at Mae Sai and at our other sites at Chiang Khong and Mae Chan, poverty is a serious issue. For instance, Patak village, in which Half Day School is embedded, has poor families who cannot afford basic access to clean water and food, adequate homes and sanitation, and certainly not education. We do our best to provide those things to the kids from Patak village who come to study at Half Day School, providing them with not only education, but also clean lunch, bathrooms, drinking water, etc.
This is important, since education is the key to escaping poverty, but that possibility is often taken away from poor communities because poverty prevents them from getting the educations they need. In that way, we see a clear link between poverty and education and have tried our best to use it to our advantage in fighting poverty by educating kids so they have the tools to improve their lives and hopefully making them less vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking. However, although we’re extremely proud of our work and the successes we continue to achieve, it is a large and insidious problem which requires lots of help to solve.
That’s where our friends come in! We are constantly designing projects and improving our techniques for helping children, especially our own sons and daughters at DEPDC. These programs and projects bring food to the hungry, water to the thirsty, medicine to the sick, education to the poor, and opportunities to the underprivileged. They take time, energy and support, and our generous donors play a huge role in everything we do. So please, if you are able to contribute to our programs, we and our children will be extremely grateful, and together we can keep Thailand developing towards an ever-brightening future.