Author Archives: DEPDC/GMS

Thoughts and Photos from our Third ISV Group

Our third group of International Student Volunteers all kindly shared their thoughts, and photos, from the past two weeks that they spent with us here at HDS. 

image (9)“I am so excited for the time I spent with the staff and kids at DEPDC. The staff here have shown me what it’s like to love unconditionally and the kids have reminded me to smile despite what goes on around us. Being here has also made me more aware of the issues with human trafficking and it has given me a new perspective on life.” -Lianne

“My experience with ISV at DEPDC has opened my eyes to see the real issues that are happening outside of what I learn from social media or a textbook. The children at DEPDC have taught me to be thankful for the simple things. Seeing them smile warms my heart.” -Lavinia

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“ISV gave me a brand new perspective on human trafficking and showed me how rewarding global giving can be. I will never forget the staff, the teachers and the children (who are teachers too!). This was an incredible experience and I would recommend it to anyone who has a wild desire to make a change because you will surely make a difference being a part of this community.” -Anna

“My time here at DEPDC with ISV has been life altering. It has opened my eyes to the global issue of human trafficking. This center and the staff are doing incredible work through prevention and protection of these at-risk children. I have fallen in love with the center, their work and most of all the amazing children. I cannot begin to express how truly grateful I am for my time here.” -Becca

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“This experience was life changing. The kids are thriving in this program. The goal of prevention and protection I believe is achieved. The teachers and staff make this center a home and safe place for the kids to be themselves. Thank you for everything.” -Jean

“This experience has made me more aware of the struggles so many young children go through on a day to day basis. I am so glad and grateful I had the opportunity to meet such extraordinary kids who love to learn!” -Kim

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“I will never be able to express how grateful I am to have had this opportunity. Being here has opened my eyes to the horrible daily struggles facing so many children worldwide; problems I never would have dreamed of experiencing as a child. We are all human brings and it is essential that we act like it- that we treat each other with humanity; these children deserve it” -Rachel

“Getting to teach and play with the kids at DEPDC was a truly life changing experience! I came thinking I would teach them so much, but they taught me ever more! Those precious children will be in my heart forever!” -Lizzie

“I have learned a lot more than I expected to through the last two weeks. I came here to help these kids, but I got help from them. They smile unbelievably beautifully. They are unbelievably nice to each other. It was such an amazing experience to learn how I can appreciate every moment in my life. I could smile because of them, and I was happy to give them some reason to smile too. I also learned how I can make a difference for a better global society by sharing our thoughts about this society, environment and every aspect in life. I hope these kids grow up beautifully as they are now.” -Grace

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World Youth Skills Day

“On this World Youth Skills Day, let us renew our resolve to invest more in empowering young people. When we do, they can better advance the broader mission of the United Nations for lasting peace, sustainable development and human rights for all.” –UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon


June 15 is appointed as World Youth Skills Day by the United Nations. The UN celebrates this day by creating a special event every year themed under the idea of “skills development to improve youth employment.” As part of the 2030 agenda, understanding what works in order to support young people in the future labor markets through training and skill development are key aspects of this day. The United Nations works with UNESCO and the ILO to bring awareness to this day and the issues it carries with it every year.


“Young people are almost three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and continuously exposed to lower quality jobs, greater labor market inequalities, and longer and more insecure school-to-work transitions. In addition, women are more likely to be underemployed and under-paid, and to undertake part-time jobs or work under temporary contracts.”


DEPDC works everyday to increase the skills of our children for the future labor market. DEPDC’s Half Day School provides vocational training for our older students in all different handicrafts and life skills such as sewing, knitting, construction, woodworking, agriculture and self-sufficiency economics, for a few. The children at the Half Day School learn the skills, while gaining an education, that are necessary for success later in their lives. DEPDC is working towards developing the youth of the Greater Mekong Subregion everyday through its outreach programs and network of organizations. The mission of DEPDC/GMS is exactly what this day is all about.



Thoughts From Our ISV Volunteers

As the second group of volunteers from ISV (International Student Volunteers) have finished up their time with us here at DEPDC, we asked a few of them to share their thoughts about the two weeks they have spent with us.


“This school is incredibly inspiring and gives children the opportunity to learn important life skills, as well as the ability to interact with volunteers from around the world. I have had a memorable experience here and would love to come back. The children are smart, kind, and respectful. I appreciate everything DEPDC has to offer!” -Kylea Sheilds


“DEPDC changed my life. I am a new person, in a great way; 12/10 would recommend.” -Claire


“DEPDC has been an eye opening, soul-touching, body rockin’ experience. If you ever have the chance to do it, don’t pass up this amazing opportunity.” -Cara Wilson


“I have truly had the most incredible and inspiring experience being at DEPDC. I’ve learned so much from the center and the kids, I am forever grateful.” -Nia Wahl


Dogs of DEPDC

DEPDC would like to introduce one of its oldest Canine residents. Meet Dum! Dum is eight years old (we suspect), and has become one of the most easily recognizable features of the Half Day School in Mae Sai. Since her arrival, Dum has seen countless classes of students, teachers and foreign volunteers, come and go. she’s greeted them all with a loving heart and a wide eyed enthusiasm. An enthusiasm rivaled only by that of her human friends. DEPDC wishes Dum many more years of healthy, happy living as both she, and the organisation move ahead with their important work and countless campaigns.


It has been scientifically proven that the presence of domestic animals, such as dogs, can have a profoundly positive impact on man’s physical and mental health. Though the physical health benefits of owning a dog, such as the exercise gained from its care, the mental health benefits are much more profound. Animals provide comfort and companionship, both in our darkest hours and brightest days, which, ultimately, can help to dispel everyday demons such as stress, anxiety and loneliness, all while providing  people with much needed physical contact.


In addition to this, looking after such a creature instills responsibility while teaching its masters to care for something other than themselves. This provides an essential foundation for the children’s compassion as well as an environment in which children have the opportunity to put their leadership skills into practice, allowing them to grow and flourish. It is DEPDC’s hope that the children will incorporate these lessons and skills into their daily lives as they travel down the long and winding road to adulthood.


Photoblog: Wai Kru Day

On June 16th DEPDC’s students celebrated Wai Kru Day. This annual celebration serves the students to show their respect and gratitude to the teachers and gives them a chance to apologize for misbehavior in the past school year.

The following pictures were taken during DEPDC’s 2016 ceremony:










World Day against Child Labour 2016

On 12th of June the International Labour Organization (ILO) will celebrate the World Day against Child Labour. This holiday was introduced in 2002 to raise awareness and support activism against child labor.


“Child labour has no place in well-functioning and well regulated markets,or in any supply chain. The message that we must act now to stop child labour once and for all has been affirmed by the Sustainable Development Goals. Acting together, it is within our means to make the future of work a future without child labour.”
Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General

Two ILO conventions are tightly linked to the World Day against Child Labour; ILO Convention 138 (Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment) from 1973 and ILO Convention 182 (Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour) from 1999.

Convetion 138 regulates the minimum age of children being eligible for employment. It stipulates that the ratifying ILO members (Thailand ratified in 2004) can define the minimum legal employment age at their own discretion, but not below 15 (temporary exceptions as low as 14 can be made). Furthermore, it stipulates that children between 13 and 15 can do light labor that is not detrimental to their health and education and sets the minimum age for dangerous work at 18.

ILO Convention 182 forces all signatory ILO members to immediately prohibit and eliminate the worst forms of child labor (Thailand ratified in 2001). These are defined as all forms of slavery, including selling children, trafficking of children, debt bondage, and forced labor. Furthermore, it names commercial sexual exploitation of children (in form of child prostitution or child pornography), the use, procurement, or offering of a child for illegal activities, and work that is detrimental to the child’s health, safety, or moral as worst forms of child labor.

For us at DEPDC this is an important day, showing that not only people at the local level fight agains child labor and any form of child exploitation, but that it is also a topic of international importance up to the highest levels.

We would like to thank all our supporters during the past 25 years and in the future without whose donations, work, and moral encouragement DEPDC’s work would not have been possible.

Happy World Milk Day!


June 1st is World Milk Day and this year marks the 15th annual celebration. The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) created this day to focus worldwide attention onto milk and the milk industry. Thailand is one of the many countries that participate in these celebrations every year.

PrintEven though Thailand celebrates World Milk Day every year, this year will be an extra special celebration. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC) will hold an activity for World Milk Day in Bangkok with the theme “Dairy Cow Farming: Royally Bestowed Occupation” to celebrate the 70th anniversary of His Majesty the King’s ascension to the throne. The event will promote the consumption of milk as well as the milk industry here in Thailand.

IMG_6288Thailand had already placed an importance on milk before World Milk Day by establishing the National Milk Drinking Campaign Board (NMDCB) in 1985. This programme started from an excess of unsold milk and allowed parents to purchase milk at 25% less than normal in certain areas for their children in Primary and Kindergarten schools. From this programme, it has been expanded into the national School Milk Programme of Thailand. From this programme, schools are given either fresh milk, which is required to stay cold, or UHT (Ultra-high-temperature processed) milk that does not need to be stored and lasts longer, depending on their contract. With this milk, all children in public schools are now given 200mL of free milk every day for the 200-day school year, as well as the 30 holiday days that fall during that time.

IMG_6286DEPDC/GMS is unable to become a part of the national School Milk Programme due to the fact that it is not a government run school. This is why the lunch programme is so important to our students. It allows us to provide our students with the nutrition we can and even though they do not get free milk, they are getting a meal! We would like to thank everybody, past, present and future donors for their support of our mission in fighting human-trafficking through education. Without your sponsorship DEDPC’s work would not be possible. In case you would like to donate to our lunch programme, please visit our project page at GlobalGiving.

The New Term at HDS Started!

On 9th of May the new term at DEPDC’s Half Day School started. For the 2016/2017 school year more than 40 students registered at our school and will receive free education here. Staff and volunteers at DEPDC are happy to see all the known faces back and to get to know our new students. We are looking forward for the new school year and hope that our students will be as successful as during the last year.


The 2015/2016 school year ended successfully for our Half Day School. 12 students graduated with a 6th grade primary education certificate and either had the chance to learn on at public schools or at least to go on with their education for a 9th grade secondary education degree at the local Non-formal Education Department.


As the oldest generation of students leaves after graduation every year, new students enroll to HDS as well. It’s a pleasure to see the excitement in their little faces when they come to school for the first time. For most of them it’s the first time ever that they’ve gone to school, but a few of them have been to other schools before. Especially the children of recent immigrants from Myanmar’s Shan State often had a chance to visit a school in Myanmar before and arrive at HDS with some degree of basic education. Their school career is often different from the children without any previous education, as their main focus is normally to learn speaking, reading, and writing Thai. Once they manage these task they often make quick progress and are able to perform their primary education examination earlier than to schedule.


All staff and volunteers at DEPDC are looking forward for the new school year and the whole team hopes that our students will be as successful as before.


We would like to thank everybody, past, present, and future donors for their support of our mission in fighting human-trafficking through education. Without your sponsorship DEPDC’s work wouldn’t be possible. In case you would like to donate to our Half Day School please visit our project page at GlobalGiving.


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