Yesterday was the 25th of November, which hosts 2 days that have a lot of meaning for us here at DEPDC/GMS. It was Loi Krathong once again, and the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, both of which, each in their different ways, ask us to make wishes and take actions to make them so.
Loi Krathong is a special day with a lot of meaning for Buddhists and deep elements of spirituality and optimism. People build small floats (called Krathong) from a slice of a trunk of a banana tree, decorate it with elaborately folded banana leafs, flowers and candles, and float them down rivers as they symbolically release their wishes into the world, hoping for them to come true.
It’s a gentle, beautiful day, and hearing the kids’ dreams never disappoints. Many of them wish to become teachers and help kids just like their teachers at HDS help them. Others want to be strong and independent so that they can help their families, especially their mums and dads. Others just want to be good, happy people and get the chance to reach their potential and make a difference in the world. Simple wishes, but coming from them, it’s truly inspirational.
We think it’s fitting that Loi Krathong should coincide with the UN’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, a wish that we at DEPDC/GMS have been trying to realise for a long time. It’s no secret that women, and particularly young girls, face a host of dangers and threats which men simply don’t have to fear to the same extent. We don’t need to tell you that the fact that a little more than half of the human race has to live in fear of unique dangers due to their gender is utterly reprehensible.
We have a long history of empowerment programs at DEPDC/GMS, and our daughters and sons know that they are their own people, equal and strong. The kids here at HDS and at our others sites frequently participate in human and child rights workshops, and even march in protest through the streets of Mae Sai against violence and discrimination against women. We couldn’t be more proud of them.
As Khun Sompop, our founder here at DEPDC/GMS, realised 25 years ago, prevention is the key to stopping the exploitation and discrimination of at-risk persons, mostly women and children. For this, education and life skills training are essential, and our sons and daughters have proven themselves willing and able to create better lives for themselves. They can cook their own food, fix their own homes, make and repair their own clothes, create wares to sell at markets, and fully participate in their families and communities to make their environments better places for themselves and their children to come. Even without needing Gandhi’s advice, they’re being the change they want to see in the world.
If you’d like to help us and the kids continue to grow and make a difference in the Greater Mekong Subregion, please visit our GlobalGiving donations page here to pick which of our programs you’d like to contribute to, like our sustainable agriculture project or our lunch program. Or if you’re even considering getting more directly 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. Thank you for reading and for keeping up with what’s going on at DEPDC/GMS.