Helping Hands from Singapore’s Ngee Ann Polytechnic

DEPDC/GMS is pleased to be hosting Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s Youth Expedition Project (YEP) at the Coordination Centre and Half Day School in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai, Thailand.

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These bright and resourceful students have come all the way from Singapore to lend a helping hand and share their technical skills with the children and youth of DEPDC/GMS. In exchange, youth members of SYSTERM shared their own knowledge and experience to their new friends about the way of life for the people of Shan State, Myanmar.

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The Half Day School students completed final exams last week for the 2017-2018 school year. However, the HDS students with some additional children from the community continue to come to school each day to join in character, skill, and team building exercises led by 27 skilled students and their 3 professors who are participating in the Youth Expedition Project (YEP), an international service-learning program from Ngee Ann Polytechnic.

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The Shan Youth Safety Training to End Risk Migration (SYSTERM) program is also partaking in these exercises as well as specific training catered to their specific field of interest. SYSTERM has four major groups: 1) Culinary Studies 2) IT and Media Production 3) Agriculture and 4) Fine Arts and Culture. Later this week, YEP members with specialties in media will train leaders of the IT and Media Production club how to design, create, and manage a personal website using a WIX platform.

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This weekend, SYSTERM gave a presentation on Shan State. YEP students were able to learn about the Shan people and their many unique traditions. They also learned about the history of Shan State and the current challenges the Shan people are facing as they struggle to keep their livelihood and culture alive amidst armed conflict in Myanmar where many ethnic groups are oppressed and exploited.

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Yesterday, YEP students organized a variety of skill and team building exercises which the HDS students, community children, and SYSTERM members completed in mixed groups. YEP, SYSTERM, and HDS students are gliding through the many present language and cultural barriers with ease and developing as many new friendships as they are skills.

Additionally, some of the Half Day School students with special needs are receiving one-on-one attention from YEP students studying for a diploma in Child Psychology & Early Education (CPEE) and Early Childhood Education(ECH).

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Thank you for your time reading our update! We are excited to see what the future holds with DEPDC/GMS’s new friends from Ngee Ann Polytechnic! Additionally, I look forward to updating you on SYSTERM’s journey through their six months of intensive training to prevent human trafficking in the many years to come!

Support DEPDC/GMS’s mission to prevent human trafficking and other forms of exploitation of ethnic minority groups who live along the Thai-Myanmar border with online donations. Donations can be given using PayPal, Global Giving, and other tax deductible methods. Email the International Department at depdc.gms@gmail.com with any inquiries.
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Half Day School Field Trip

End of the 2017-2018 School Year Field Trip

Last Friday, the Patak Half Day School went on a field trip to the main city of Chiang Rai. The school bus carried all the Half Day School students and 6 teachers on a study tour to celebrate the closing of the 2017-2018 school year.

The first stop was visiting a wildlife menagerie. Here the students were able to sharpen up on their photography skills previously learned with the YALL Art Project in the summer of 2017.

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The children were able to view up and close animals that they had never seen before. These included mongoose, Malaysian Sun Bear, Asiatic black bear, Gibbon monkeys, and a large variety of birds, including peacocks, toucans, and hawks.

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The remainder of the day, the children were heard imitating the distinctive call of the Gibbon, the collective favorite animal seen on this park visit.

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After the long bus ride into Chiang Rai and the walking tour of the menagerie, the children and teachers were ready to eat. A shaded area by a nearby stream was chosen to have lunch together.

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The next stop was visiting a river near Khun Gan Waterfall (น้ำตกขุนกรณ์ จ.เชียงราย). Though many took the time to change into bathing suits or active clothing, some of the youngest students jumped in without waiting another moment to change. The water was cold but this did not stop them from swimming and climbing over the cool rocks for hours.

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Swimming is one of the Half Day School students’ favorite activities which they rarely have the opportunity to enjoy. Every HDS student learns how to swim early on in their attendance to the DEPDC/GMS’s Half Day School. Swimming lesson are taught at the “Swimming Home” in Mae Chan District, a shelter for ethnic minority children and youth who are survivors of abuse and abandonment, known as the Mekong Regional Indigenous Child Rights Home (MRICRH).

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It was easy to see that the students had had an exciting day from how quiet and still they were on the hour long bus ride home to Mae Sai.

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This week will be very busy for DEPDC/GMS and its various programs. The Half Day School will complete final examinations throughout the week and SYSTERM students will prepare presentations for a group of 27 students who will be visiting from Singapore’s Ngee Ann Polytechnic for two weeks.

As always, we sincerely thank you for your support and your time to read our news blog! Look out for more updates and photos by following us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

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DEPDC/GMS’s Annual Summer Camp 2018

DEPDC/GMS’s Annual Summer Camp 2018

Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities Centre in the Greater Mekong Subregion (DEPDC/GMS) hosts an annual summer camp each year. This year, DEPDC/GMS hosted 54 students of SYSTERM and the three upper classes of the Patak Half Day School.

The HDS children said goodbye to their parents and siblings on Monday, February 22nd. They arrived to school each carrying one bag containing only a few necessary items.

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Students arrive to school with bags in hand for their yearly camping trip.

All students participating in camp were required to give their cellular phones to the Director of Education to be locked away for the duration of the three day, two night camp. Additionally, every student was encouraged to wake up each morning at 5:30AM to exercise for at least a half hour before cooking breakfast. Many chose running followed by kinesthetics as their choice of exercise.

The SYSTERM and HDS students were then divided into six groups of varying ages and gender. The students from the two programs were able to become friends and worked well together despite age, ethnicity, and language differences.

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Each group was given enough rice, vegetables, and sauces to last for 4 dishes, 2 dinner meals and two breakfast meals. Lunch was provided each day with a traditional dessert in order to allow more time for education. The groups planned out what to cook each day with the items provided and alternated which members cooked and which members helped clean the camping space.

The first two days of camp, guest speakers came to teach the students about health, the human body and puberty, sex education, emotional wellness, and relationships.

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On the second day of camp, the students created posters presenting one important concept they had learned during training on day one and two of camp. By looking at their posters below, you can see that the students obtained both very serious and practical life knowledge.

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In the evening, the students divided up into their groups and produced a brief play to perform the following night at the camp bonfire. The night ended with the campers learning to sing new songs written in several different languages, including Thai, English, Tai Yai, and even one in Chinese.

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The camp bonfire took place on the second night of camp. This was most of the students’ favorite part of camp as it involved singing, dancing, snacks, and watching their classmates perform silly skits.

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Teacher Hom and a HDS alumni lead a dance to a song practiced the night before
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Students from the green group prepare to present their skit at the camp bonfire

Fire safety training was provided on the final day of camp. A handful of members from the Fire and Rescue Department of Wiangphangkam, Mae Sai came for the morning to provide hands-on demonstrations on how to put out fire in a safe and efficient manner.

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A SYSTERM student learns how to safely turn off a gas tank

The children learned about the different classes of fire (i.e.,  Classes A, B, C,D, and E) and learned how to extinguish fires involving solid materials, flammable liquids, gases, metals, and live electrical apparatus appropriately.

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At the end of the third day of camp, the Half Day School children packed up their tents and loaded up on the school bus to return home. However, the SYSTERM students will continue their long stay away from their homes for the duration of the Shan Youth Safety Training to End Risk Migration.

Thank you to all those who support DEPDC/GMS in one way or another. Your kindness has helped the Half Day School and SYSTERM students enjoy another year of camp filled with fun learning experiences!

 

DEPDC/GMS Transportation Support for At-Risk Children and Youth

DEPDC/GMS Transportation Support for At-Risk Children and Youth:

A GlobalGiving Quarterly Report

The team at DEPDC/GMS’s Half Day School is happy to report that our bus and truck are both running smoothly thanks to donation support through GlobalGiving. Both vehicles continue to safely transport HDS students to and from school each day, thus providing access to free education to those without. This would not be possible without your generous support and donations.

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The Patak Half Day School bus and blue pickup truck are crucial in providing local and cross-border transport for at-risk children throughout the school week. The children are not only from Patak village, where DEPDC/GMS’s Coordination Centre is located. The majority of students live miles from the school. Only a few are able to travel via bicycle and none by foot. Several students come via a shared family motorbike, but this is often unreliable and a much more dangerous form of transportation for primary school children. Thus, education for these students would not be possible without school transportation to and from DEPDC/GMS.

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A recnt photo from this week’s yearly camping trip at the DEPDC/GMS Half Day School campus.

Taking a look around the DEPDC/GMS campus, it is clear to see that the students value the importance of their colorful bus and their school grounds. They are taught to take care of the bus, the truck, and the school campus as if it were their own home. Team work keeps the school’s property looking clean and the children proud of their Half Day School.

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Students arrive to school with bags in hand for their yearly camping trip.

For this particular project, no news most often means good news. Three months ago, the truck had the official government safety inspection for the truck completed. Additionally, both vehicles received recent oil changes and have been cleaned on a monthly basis.

Starting in January, DEPDC/GMS began a new program called Shan Youth Safety Training to End Risk Migration (SYSTERM). This program seeks to provide intensive leadership, life skills, and safety training to 100 stateless, youth, at-risk of being trafficked into exploitive conditions, such as forced labor, the sex industry, and domestic servitude. The bus is being used to transport the students on weekends to local site seeing locations around Mae Sai. Additionally, the blue truck is crucial for transporting the first group of 54 students to the border every seven days to have their permission cards to stay in Thailand stamped by immigration.

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Half Day School and SYSTERM students getting ready for a bamboo race on DEPDC/GMS’s annual Sports Day

Thank you again to all our current, future, and past donors, we are able to offer free and safe transportation to our Half Day School children and new students participating in SYSTERM. Please continue to support our cause through GlobalGiving donations.

You can find the GlobalGiving project report and donation options here.

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All the staff members and children sincerely thank you for your time and for supporting our mission to provide free education to at-risk children and youth in the border town of Mae Sai, Chiang Rai, Thailand. DEPDC/GMS could not do this without the kindness of people like you.

SYSTERM Students Learn How to Save Lives

SYSTERM Students Learn How to Save Lives

There are 54 SYSTERM students at DEPDC/GMS learning life skills who will now be able to actually save a life thanks to basic life support training provided by a registered nurse from Houston, Texas.

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Yesterday, February 15th 2018, the SYSTERM students learned how to perform Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and the Heimlich Maneuver. Sharon Moreau, BSN, RN, CPN, a nurse from Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas, USA, came to visit DEPDC/GMS for two weeks to assist with the Patak Half Day School and SYSTERM program. During her visit, she provided assistance with English teaching classes, donated 300 kilograms of rice, and taught lifesaving skills to over 85 children and youth.

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Lifesaving skills training consisted of Sharon showing demonstration videos, live roll-play, and providing one to one student training with CPR using her medical manikin brought all the way from the United States. The students did return demonstrations of a series of 30 compressions to 2 breaths to the beat of the song Stayin’ Alive by the BeeGees. Students learned how to check the carotid pulse on adults and children as well as the brachial pulse for infants. A four page handout was provided to each student which described the CPR process and Heimlich Maneuver, which included illustrations of the procedures and location of arteries. Verbal instructions were provided in three languages: English, Thai, and Tai Yai, the language of Shan State in Myanmar.

The students broke out into small groups to practice their skills with Sharon and her daughter, a volunteer at the center, supervising. The elected student leader of the group assisted with both translation and skill check offs.

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Four students stated they wanted to receive an education to become nurses and work in the poor communities of Shan State. They described the lack of medical care in their communities and the importance of more healthcare professionals with proper training. These four students were able to practice mouth-to-mouth breaths and watch the manikin’s chest rise using a face shield.

The SYSTERM program is six months in duration with the first three months dedicated to practical life skills and leadership and safety training. This week, the students studied media production, basic life support training, agriculture, music education, and cooking. Currently, DEPDC/GMS is focusing on Shan State because of the impact of the war torn area on minority ethnic groups who remain undocumented and are forced to migrate from Myanmar. The crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing, dispossession, and human exploitation and trafficking have created a critical need for non-profit, non-governmental organizations such as DEPDC/GMS to provide aid and education and to create leadership programs for the youth. Such tragedies were the driving force behind the formation of SYSTERM, “Shan Youth Safety Training to End Risk Migration”.

Half Day School students in classes A, B, and C also learned how to perform CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver.

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Sharon Moreau, BSN, RN, CPN

Kristin Moreau, MS, CCC-SLP

 

 

 

Sports Day

Sports Day

This Monday, February 5th, DEPDC/GMS held its annual Sports Day Celebration, marking its 12th year. This is a day when all the students take a break from their studies to compete in a variety of exciting contests with their fellow classmates.

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Half Day School and SYSTERM Students Line Up for a Bamboo Team Race

DEPDC/GMS’s Half Day School is divided into four grade levels, class A, B, C, and D, based on several factors, including their Thai language ability, age, and educational level. Half Day School students range in age from 4 to about 15 years old. For Sports Day, the school is evenly split into 3 teams, Blue, Red, and White, with a mix of each grade level. The students then play several rounds of each game, rounds for girls and boys of each age group to represent their team color in each competition.

This year was special as the Half Day School’s Sports Day included 54 additional students whom are attending the Shan Youth Safety Training to End Risk Migration (SYSTERM) at the DEPDC/GMS Coordination Centre. Please, find more information about SYSTERM at the end of this blog. SYSTERM students jumped right into these games with equal enthusiasm despite their ages ranging from 15 to 26 years old.

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SYSTERM Students Preparing for a Multi-Leg Racing Event

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Sports Day allowed a time for HDS students and SYSTERM students to become acquainted with each other in fun, mini-team building exercises. This year, we were lucky enough to have beautiful, warm weather for the entire day of festivities!

To name just a few, games included tug-a-war, racing with water balloons, a bamboo log run, a piggy back race, and a blind-folded face painting contest. To complete the day, an award ceremony was held for the top competitors in each event.

One of the class favorites to watch was the superman race. Students pulled up underpants and raced with a blanket across their shoulders to their teammates on the opposite side of a field. Can you think of a better way to relax and laugh around new faces than pretending to be superman as you race across a field in underpants?

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HDS Student Races in Underwear in the Superman Race
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HDS Students Receive Awards on Sports Day

Want to see more photos of Sport’s Day? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

What is SYSTERM? SYSTERM is an innovative, intensive leadership and safety training program for at-risk, stateless youth from the Thai-Myanmar border, most notably Shan State. Visit our GlobalGiving page to read the project outline and see how you can support DEPDC/GMS’s efforts to prevent human-trafficking before children and women fall victim to this 150-billion dollar industry. SYSTERM group B is planned to arrive in just three short months; however, financial support is needed to make this possible. Please, help spread the word!

Looking for a volunteer or internship placement? DEPDC/GMS is currently looking for volunteers and interns to assist with the training and management of the Half Day School, Community Learning Center, and SYSTERM projects. The first step in applying is completing an International Volunteer Application, which can be found on our website under the “volunteer” section. Once completed, please send an updated CV/resume, passport scan/photo, and the International Volunteer Application to our International Department (depdc.gms@gmail.com).

New Project Brings New Hope

New Project Brings New Hope

Two thousand eighteen has only just begun and already it is proving to be a year full of hope and promise. We are excited to share that DEPDC/GMS’s new project, Shan Youth Safety Training to End Risk Migration (SYSTERM) will officially commence this Saturday, January 20th with 55 bright beings arriving at our headquarters in Mae Sai District, Chiang Rai, Thailand.

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The Development and Education Program for Daughters and Communities Centre in the Greater Mekong Subregion (DEDPC/GMS) is a non-profit organization working towards the prevention of human trafficking and exploitation of at-risk youth and women. DEPDC/GMS is strongly committed to affecting change through protection, education, awareness, life-skills training, and empowerment. Over the course of 28 years, DEPDC has served over 7,000 of the most vulnerable women and children in this region. Through DEPDC’s time tested approach, that has proven to be successful, we continue to strive to broaden and expand our outreach. SYSTERM is one more step in increasing protection and services for at-risk women and children.

Regional migration is increasing and migration trends and policies have created a dangerous environment for thousands, particularly for stateless women and children. Human traffickers have created hubs along the Thai-Myanmar border and within the GMS in order to prey upon those most vulnerable. Awareness of the gravity of this issue ignited the development of SYSTERM. DEDPC/GMS’s founder, Sompop Jantraka, and team members realized that action was needed and that the time to act is now.

This last November, DEPDC/GMS organized an introduction and open discussion forum around the SYSTERM project. There were several dozen people present from likeminded organizations and universities all across Thailand, as well as several who travelled internationally in order to attend. These passionate, driven people arrived with the aspiration to contribute their professional experience and/or human resources to the development of SYSTERM. DEPDC/GMS was honoured and encouraged. Their attendance and desire to help is testimony to the importance of this project.

The goal of SYSTERM is to provide 100 at-risk, stateless migrants with intensive leadership training with a focus on safe migration. The project will support the willing youth to build self-help projects in their country of origin in either independent groups or with the support of carefully-selected host organisations. The project will be broken into two separate six month periods, training a group of around 50 youth participants during each period. It is our hope that this grassroots project in conjunction with a specialised curriculum taught by experienced professionals will organise, prepare, and build the next generation of anti-human trafficking leaders and organisations.

Projects like SYSTERM are made possible because of our donors. Donations to support the second group of 50 willing youth are still needed as the project is only half funded. Your donations bring these projects to life and provide never before had opportunities for at-risk youth to learn vital skills that affect change more than we can imagine.

Supporting SYSTERM supports a global impact and change to end human trafficking. The ripple effects of your generosity give hope for a brighter future. A future that shifts the paradigm that leads to human trafficking. A future that embraces equality, rights, and empowerment. To say thank you hardly feels fitting. From all of the staff, volunteers, and students of HDS and SYSTERM, we offer our most sincere gratitude. Here’s to a great year! We look forward to sharing more with all of you as the year continues.

Here are some ways you can support the Shan Youth Safety Training to End Risk Migration (SYSTERM).

Donate or Fundraise

Volunteer

Spread the Word

LinkedIn:    www.linkedin.com/in/volunteer-depdc
Facebook:    www.facebook.com/depdc.gms
Blog:    www.depdcblog.wordpress.com

Children’s Day Celebration at the Half Day School!

Children’s Day Celebration at the Half Day School!

The Patak Half Day School students were showered with love today! Tomorrow, January 13th, is Thailand’s National Children’s Day. DEPDC/GMS celebrated early in order to show how grateful we are for our students before the start of the weekend. For financial reasons, the school children are unable to partake in the joy of receiving a gift for other yearly holidays, such as birthdays, Christmas, and New Year’s. Therefore, DEPDC/GMS makes it our mission to make Children’s Day as special as it can be.

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The Patak Half Day School was full of happy faces and laugher today. HDS students, their siblings, and several local community children joined together for a day of fun games and delicious treats.

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Additionally, we were honoured to receive several SYSTERM participants, who will begin the Shan Youth Safety Training to End Risk Migration (SYSTERM) program next week here in Mae Sai at the DEPDC/GMS Headquarters. If you would like to learn more about this program, please visit our Global Giving project page.

The day’s activities included an egg and chopsticks race, balloon blowing competition, fishing for prizes, dispersal of classroom supplies, and a game of football/soccer. The final event was a gift exchange. All the children and DEPDC team members exchanged one unique present by drawing numbers at random. Some of the gifts included stuffed animals, warm blankets, and boxes of chocolate.

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DEPDC/GMS would like to offer a special thanks to the local men and women who joined us for our Children’s Day Celebration and helped make it a brighter day for all the students. A representative of Mae Sai’s TESCO donated rice for the HDS children and SYSTERM participants and multiple food dishes were donated by individuals from the community. In addition to hot and healthy meals, cupcakes, crepes, and brownies were also donated on this joyous day. Moreover, the students were excited to have a new group of young men to play a game of football with them.

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The Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities Centre in the Greater Mekong Subregion (DEPDC/GMS) is a non-profit, non-governmental organisation based in Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand. This community-based organisation has a diverse 25-year history and currently works primarily to prevent and to protect children and youth from being trafficked into exploitative labour conditions.

The organization’s projects provide crucial preventative measures of education, vocational and life-skills training, protection and accommodation, family and community outreach services, and leadership development to at-risk children and youth in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.

Learn more about DEPDC/GMS and how you can get involved on our blog!

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DEPDC/GMS: Growing a Healthy Future for Today’s Youth

DEPDC/GMS: Growing a Healthy Future for Today’s Youth

As some of you may know, DEPDC/GMS’s Patak Half Day School partakes in several projects year round to support the school’s lunch program by increasing it’s self-sustainability…and by making it more nutritious.

These projects include harvesting rice and growing a small organic vegetable, mushroom, and herb farm right on the school grounds. Growing rice and fresh vegetables does not only encourage the students to eat healthy foods, but it also teaches important agricultural techniques so that they may be able to grow their own food independently in adulthood.

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Cabbage Growing in the Half Day School Garden

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The rice harvest for 2017 was completed in mid-December. Though quite unusual for this cool season, it has been raining nearly every day the last several weeks. Thus, we are hopeful for a more prosperous rice harvest in the fall of 2018.

New vegetables were planted throughout the months of November and December, including organic cabbage, peppers, corn, taro, tomatoes, and a variety of herbs commonly used in Northern Thai cooking.

In addition to planting new vegetables, the HDS prepared its fungus farm! After the rice was dried and thrashed, the rice straw was used to create a small mushroom garden.

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Rice Straw Mushroom Farm

How can you get involved?

Fundraising Events

If you are closely associated with a primary, middle, or high school, you, your students and/or your child can start a school fundraiser. For just 30 dollars (USD), you can help supply a nutritious mid-day meal for up to 60 at-risk children. Even small donations can help support the purchase of seeds, organic pesticide, and gardening utensils to increase the Patak Half Day School’s self-sustainability.

Volunteering

Do you have a green thumb? Come volunteer with DEPDC/GMS’s Half Day School and help us improve our humble garden. Find out more information about volunteering here!

Spread the Word

Spread the word about the Patak Half Day School and our mission here at DEPDC/GMS to your community by following, liking, or sharing us on your favorite social media platform!

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Facebook

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