Author Archives: DEPDC/GMS

DEPDC/GMS’s 25th Anniversary celebration

Over the weekend, hundreds of former daughters, sons, staff and volunteers came back to join us at HDS to celebrate DEPDC/GMS and everything it’s accomplished over the last 25 years. We were also joined by monks who generously provided a blessing for DEPDC/GMS and its future.

On Saturday, everyone started arriving and greeting one another. For some of them, it’s been years and even decades since they’ve seen each other. The centre and Mae Sai have changed a lot since many of them were last here. 10-15 years ago. The program existed, but the school that we teach in now didn’t exist when some of our daughters and sons were here, while Mae Sai not so long had at most one concrete road and rice fields spreading off into the distance on either side.

For some, coming back was surreal – they barely recognised the town they used to live in. But for all, coming back to see the development of DEPDC/GMS and retell old stories was really special. So many people have been involved in DEPDC/GMS, but few have been here for the whole time, so hearing everyone’s stories about the past was extremely interesting – there’s so much we didn’t know and so many good stories to tell!

We all ate together throughout Saturday afternoon and night, catching up and making new friends. Our very own Khun Sompop and his friend Khun Apii-Chid performed a song for the crowd after having a jam session together the night before to prepare. They’re old friends from university and used to play in the same band, so it was fun to see part of the band back together.

We lit a bonfire to top off the night before everyone went to bed, many of them in the classrooms at the school, which had been converted into bedrooms like back in the old days!


Sunday started with ‘making merit’, a Thai custom in which people perform good actions to show virtue and atone for misdeeds. The rest of the day was a constant celebration featuring dances from some of our young daughters, displays of culture from our Akha and Thai Yai daughters, speeches from our directors thanking everyone who came to celebrate and who’ve helped to get us this far, and lots and lots of delicious food.

It was a beautiful day to spend with family and friends, and as the day wore on and people slowly melted away to their homes, we all keenly felt the warm sense of family and community that DEPDC/GMS has been providing for the last quarter century.

Many people made generous donations to the program to which many of them say they owe their lives – many of whom have gone on to do amazing things, even advising the UN on matters of poverty and child trafficking! We’re extremely proud of their accomplishments and deeply grateful that they came back to support the children today as others once came to support them.

If you’d also like to give your support, we’d love to have you on board! 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, like our sustainable agriculture project or our lunch program. Thank you for reading and we wish you all the best.

Loi Krathong and International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

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.

Rice harvesting self-sustainability project

Four months ago, the father of Khun Noom, one of the directors at DEPDC/GMS, came to HDS with a lifetime of experience growing rice to show the staff and students how it’s done. He taught them how to sow, grow and harvest 9-10 bags of their own rice, all of which was done organically. The rice will now be used for HDS’s lunch program over the following months, providing much-needed sustainability in a time of global economic uncertainty.

The project wasn’t without its difficulties, including a major battle with worms that wanted to keep the crops for themselves! But the staff and students drove them off and learned valuable lessons and skills in the process. This was the first time they’ve attempted to grow their own rice, but now they have the skills and knowhow it definitely won’t be the last.


The kids did a great job, helping the teachers to cut, bundle and thresh the rice, which is now ready to be sent off to the rice mill to be prepared for cooking and eating. They learned a lot and had a lot of fun, taking valuable life skills from the experience and learning valuable lessons about empowerment and self-sustainability. Given how especially vulnerable young girls can be, this is particularly important for our young daughters here at DEPDC/GMS.

Thank you for reading and a special thank you to everyone whose donations help to make programs like this possible. Your donations mean important lessons, fun times and full stomachs!

If you would like to make a donation, please visit two of our ongoing projects on GlobalGiving: one to help us buy an irrigation system for future harvests and self-sustainability, and the other to help support the lunch program. We would deeply appreciate donations to either, but there are currently no donations for the irrigation system, so if you could please donate to that you’d be helping us to build a sustainable future.

Three weeks term break at HDS

On 10th of October DEPDC’s Half Day School (HDS) went into its term break. For most of our students and teachers that means three weeks to relax and recreate.


After studying hard since 11th of May, our students wrote their mid-year exams between 7th and 9th of October and went into the term break afterwards. Most of the teachers at HDS corrected their students exams and went into holiday as well. Only one teacher and a group of about 10 students are at the school during the term break to improve their Thai language skills during an intense extra course.

For those students interested in dancing, our Thai Yai teacher offers lessons in traditional Thai Yai dances on a few days during the term break to keep these dances alive that otherwise might be forgotten in the future.

2015-10-16 15.42.46

On 2nd of November the new term will start and we are looking forward to see all our students back and hope that they will be as successful during the second part of the year as during the first part.

World Food Day 2015


Every year on 16 October, World Food Day is celebrated in honor of the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. The World Food Day theme for 2015 is “Social Protection and Agriculture: Breaking the Cycle of Rural Poverty”, which is linked to the UN EXPO 2015 theme “The Zero Hunger Challenge · United for a sustainable world”.

Since 1981, the day has been celebrated widely by many organizations concerned with food security, including the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

The objectives of World Food Day are to:

  • encourage attention to agricultural food production and to stimulate national, bilateral, multilateral, and non-governmental efforts to this end;
  • encourage economic and technical cooperation among developing countries;
  • encourage the participation of rural people, particularly women and the least privileged categories, in decisions and activities influencing their living conditions;
  • heighten public awareness of the problem of hunger in the world;
  • promote the transfer of technologies to the developing world; and
  • strengthen international and national solidarity in the struggle against hunger, malnutrition, and poverty and draw attention to achievements in food and agricultural development.

Ending hunger is everyone’s responsibility, and one can make simple changes to make an impact through one’s everyday decisions and actions. Fundings towards food programs has decreased the last decade, even though the need for support has grown. At DEPDC, we do our best to provide the children with lunch, the children are taught how to grow vegetables, and how to make the most out of what they got. Our goal is to make them able to provide for themselves in the long run and we are blessed to be able to make a huge impact through our everyday decisions and actions.

International Day of the Girl Child 2015

2014-12-24 11.13.04

Outside English class at DEPDC’s Half Day School

Today, the 11th of October, the United Nations (UN) celebrate the 4th International Day of the Girl Child. This year’s theme is ‘The Power of the Adolescent Girl: Vision for 2030′.

In 2008 Plan International, a non-governmental organization that operates globally, celebrated the first, still informal, International Day of the Girl Child and started a campaign towards governments and international institutions to make it a globally recognized commemoration day.

In December 2011 the UN finally passed a resolution to make the 11th of October the International Day of the Girl Child. This commemoration day is meant to call public attention towards problems and difficulties for girls in many countries and regions in the world.

Main demands are:

  • Support of girls and young woman through education

  • Abolition of forced marriage

  • Equality in all areas of life

  • Strict enforcement of anti-discrimination acts

  • Zero tolerance towards violence against girls and women in the name of tradition or culture

This year DEPDC is celebrating its 25th anniversary fighting for the rights of girls and children in general. We are happy that girls’ rights and child rights are on a global agenda today and hope that the goals promoted by the International Day of the Girl Child will be achieved in the future. Providing equal opportunities for everybody, independent from gender, social class, religion, ethnicity, and sexual orientation.

A Helping Hand

Often, you give to others what you seek and need from others yourself. In this case, I believe it is true. I have repeatedly seen the children at the Swimming Home caring for and helping each other, caring for and helping animals and caring for and helping other people, myself included.

I came home after dinner one night, and started talking with some of the older children. They were eager to know more about me, to learn more English words and to tell about themselves. They were quite fascinated by the moon, and started to tell vampire stories. Not that I understood half of it. I told them I like the light from the full moon, because then it isn’t so dark around me in the nighttime. I struggled my way through telling them this in Thai, but obviously they understood what I had told them, cause moments later they followed me to my room. We said good night, gave each other a hug, and went different ways. What I realized when I came into my room was that they didn’t turn off all the lights outside during that night. That was highly appreciated! It was so thoughtful of them to care about this grown up foreigner that doesn’t like the total darkness in the nighttime.

cat rescueThe other day, we heard some noises from one of the rooftops. It turned out, one of the cats was stuck there and couldn’t get down on his own. The children rushed to the building, trying to help him down. One of the children climbed up on the roof and another one climbed up a tree to help out catching her on the way down. The cat refused to go down this way, she held tight to the girl on the roof. In the end, we found a bag to put him in, and then slowly got him down on the ground. All the children were involved in some way or another, wanting to help the cat down.

Our newest family member who is only two years old, has also gotten to feel how these children give of themselves all the time. He has always someone around him, either to help him eat, walk around with him, play with him or put him to sleep. They just care so much. They are so alert and knows exactly what to do in every possible situation. I truly believe he has found a perfect home, where he’ll grow up knowing that many people love him.

What you seek is often what you give.wpid-20150902_1920202.jpg.jpeg

GlobalGiving Matching Campaign 16th September 2015

On 16th September 2015 GlobalGiving runs its final matching campaign this year. Beginning at 9am EDT (8pm ICT Bangkok; 3pm CEST Western Europe; 2pm BST British Isles) GlobalGiving will start to match all donations by 30% and up to 1000$ per individual donor per organization.

DEPDC/GMS + GlobalGiving

The campaign will run either until 16th of September 2015, 23:59:59 EDT, or until the total amount of $70,000 in matching funds has been distributed.

If you have been thinking about making a donation to DEPDC before, 16th September 2015 would be a good time to make your donation and use the chance of GlobalGiving’s matching campaign to increase the impact of your donation.

At the moment DEPDC has five projects live on GlobalGiving that can receive donations (to visit the project’s description at GlobalGiving’s website click the pictures):

Send 70 At-risk Children to School in Thailand:


Safe Shelter for 16 Children and Woman in Thailand:


Irrigation system for our School’s rice fields:


Literacy Training for an Ethnic Minority Community:


Help To Provide Lunch For Half Day School Students:


For more information about GlobalGiving’s matching campaign and policy please visit GlobalGiving’s website.

Finally all children, students, staff, and volunteers from DEPDC would like to thank all former, current, and future donors, whose kind donations made DEPDC’s work possible. Thank you so much!!!


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