Category Archives: Daughters Education Programme
The Daughters Education Programme was established in 1989 in support of girls (and boys too, since 1998) to attend primary and secondary school in two districts of Chiang Rai province. The children have all been identified as being at risk of entering prostitution or are orphans with no one to take care of them. Some children live at home but attend extracurricular activities at the DEPDC centres in Mae Sai and Chiang Khong. Others live at the centres because they are too vulnerable if they live at home or have no one suitable to take care of them. Most belong to different hill tribe minority groups living in Northern Thailand.
Exams and then on Thursday the 16th of March it was finally there again… the 2016/2017 school year at DEPDC’s Half Day School (HDS) has ended and our students began their holidays that will last until 15th of May. The teachers and administrative staff are wishing our students a happy holiday!
In the week preceding the vacation it was naturally time for their exams. They had exams in the main subjects and sometimes with surprising results. There were a few that really stood out amongst the rest, others showed the points were we as teachers could focus on in the next period. And then on Thursday they had a day of helping to clean the school terrain and have a little fun. There was shaved ice as a treat, of which some children went for a second, third and even a fourth portion. And we gave presents and gifts to our children for celebrating their achievements what they have done during this semester.
And now the HDS is closed for the summer period. But seeing that a lot of children’s parents are still working, DEPC/GMS helps to relieve strain on the families by providing two weeks of extra classes in English and Mathematics. This is popular not only amongst our students, but also amongst those from other schools. 30 children are following these classes, which focuses more on the fun and joy of English and math.
Even though the HDS is closed, DEPDC still functions as a community learning center and gives private English lessons to 2 high school students and 20 elementary school students. Besides this, there is a business focused English classes for an adult, who goes from Myanmar to Thailand 3 days a week specifically for these classes.
Swimming training and music activities will be done during the first week of April. Not only for the children of DEPC, but with other colleague organizations in the province. So you can see that despite the school year ending, we still stepping up and work towards a brighter future.
But all this work cannot be done without our dedicated staff and volunteers. And a new school year also means that we are in need of new volunteers. Are you, or do you know a person that would like to dedicate their time and love in this great work into stopping human trafficking through education, please contact us and fill out our form at: https://depdcblog.wordpress.com/volunteer/mae-sai/
Last week we had many special educational activities and classes for our children.
Aside from our regular classes, our children have creative and special classes such as creating and playing musical instruments and art & drawing classes. Each of these unique classes aimed to inspire their creative entitlement and help creating an emotional rounded person with a deeper sense of identity. As this organization aims to prevent children to fall victim of sex-traffickers, it is important to talk about this subject. This starts with basic understanding of another subject that we have to teach, namely ‘Sexual and reproductive health’.
- Sexual and reproductive health
A specialized organization came to teach sexual and reproductive health education. The sexuality education class taught our students the names of the sexual parts of the body and bodily functions in order to help them to communicate more clearly and thus contributes to their safety and wellbeing. But also more difficult subjects have been discussed, such as intimate relationships, sexual orientation, abstinence and contraception. And most important, the children were thought reproductive rights and responsibilities, to help prevent and reduce the risks of adolescent pregnancy, HIV, and sexually transmitted infections. Hence, ultimately they will be able to protect themselves from human trafficking in Greater Mekong Region.
- Music class with Khlui
Since our children got their own traditional Thai bamboo flute, the Khlui, they have learned note reading and finger placement. So they are able to not only make beautiful sounds, but also play simple music completely. As they found their own voices and practice it patiently, we will soon hear beautiful traditional Khlui songs.
- Art & drawing Class
The photograph class finished successfully and we are so proud of the amazing accomplishments and grateful for the amazing volunteer teachers. Through their camera lenses, they would understand their worlds, its people and they have learned how to communicate this to the outside world through a different form of communication. After the photograph class, our children have started the mural painting of some of their pictures. The students will select their favorite photos and paint on the wall their own story and view.
Check out the below video clip how they made great photos.
Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese artist, philosopher and writer said that education is a bow, and child is a living arrow which can be sent forth. We have a strong faith in that our education will decide a major part of our children’s future lives and their quality of happiness. Education is the key to prevent human trafficking and it can cut the link of poverty in this generation. Therefore, as the archer, we will target at the path of infinite, shot our precious arrows to go swift and far, and admire the trajectory of arrow silently and patiently.
Danny DeBlasio and Catherine Hart, cofounders of The YALL Art Project came to DEPDC/GMS in the last week and start their project from this week. The YALL Art Project is a non-profit organization that brings a collaborative art process in photography and mural painting to communities in need of the arts. (More information and donation about The YALL Art Project )
They are teaching and guiding our students taking photographs and ends with a collective mural inspired by their images for six weeks. Each student will be given their own camera and guided through a series of exercises. After the group of students will be challenged to collaborate on a mural inspired by the learning from their photographs. Not only we are highly looking forward to see our marvelous artistic achievement, but also we are expecting our students to find their authentic voice and individual self-expression as well as to know each other’s voices, perspectives, and ideas.
Please check out their first Video clip
Last week at the Half Day School, the all students and teachers came together and harvested our organic rice crop.
This harvest activity is providing children with access to nutritious, high quality local foods at the same time enriching their connection to local cultures by learning traditional farming techniques. Also, children had been learning about the rice plant and its growing cycle, the advantages of following a simple nutritious diet as well as working on art projects to gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty of the plant. Next year we are hoping for a better harvest.
Certain events over the last couple of weeks have sparked many in house conversations regarding the youth that we serve at DEPDC/GMS. More specifically, the boys that we serve and why it was important that our services were extended to include all genders. Although in its inception 26 years ago Daughters Education Programme (DEP) brought in all girls, the subsequent years have seen a rise in the number of boys that go through our programs. As awareness and recognition of the vulnerability of boys increased and resources became available, the evolution of including boys in DEPDC’s mission was implemented as a strategy to more effectively combat human trafficking and exploitative labor.
Often when people think of human trafficking they envision women and young girls. Although women and girls do comprise the majority of persons trafficked we can not lose sight of all that are affected as when we do we cast a dark shadow of hopelessness over the thousands of others that remain victims and vulnerable to the tragedy of exploitative labor and trafficking. According to the International Labour Organization and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes’s report, men and boys account for an estimated 24% of persons trafficked and this includes sex trafficking and exploitative labor.
After 27 years of experience in the field of human trafficking our founder, Sompop Jantraka, also feels that while the risk of girls and women fallen victim to trafficking is statistically higher than boys and men, boys and men often face higher risks in other areas that contribute to the decline of personal, familial, and societal health. Through his observations he feels that boys are more at risk for developing drug and alcohol problems as well as being lured into gangs and street violence. DEPDC can not claim this as factual evidence rather as observations of over 27 years of front line experience in investigating and preventing human trafficking. Furthermore, Khun Sompop emphasizes that the traditional stereotype of only a husband being strong and providing, while the wife stays at home and cares for the family is antiquated. However, this old mindset is still strong and must be adapted to fit modern day reality.
Not only do our programs create more opportunities for these at-risk boys they also provide them the awareness to understand trafficking, dangerous influences, and their roles in society. The programs give them the tools to avoid falling prey to trafficking, as either a victim or perpetrator. Often young men (and women) are presented with employment opportunities that seem less harmful such as driving trafficked persons to and from destinations, advertising girls, or working at hotels that serve as compliant agents. Our program teaches them about equality, to respect, value, and honor women as well as to understand the intricacies of trafficking and the consequences of actions.
At DEPDC we consider boys to be influential change agents in the prevention of trafficking as all members of the community and society are needed to shift the paradigm. Family structure and community are the backbone of real change for they shape the ways in which we see ourselves and how we relate to the world around us.
As we fight to empower our girls we must also fight to educate our boys and in so doing, we empower all.
Being on of the hottest months of the year, April here in Thailand brings relief from the scorching heat for a few days. Mid-April is when the Songkran Festival is celebrated all across Thailand to mark the new year. “Songkran” literally means ‘to pass’ or ‘to move into’, perfect to sum up the changing and new time in the year.
The most obvious and well-known celebration of Songkran is the throwing of water, becoming one large water flight where no one is left dry. Throughout the three day festival, water is splashed and thrown in all directions and on everyone to cleanse people of their bad luck and sins as well as bring good luck for the new year. The celebrations take place from rivers to canals, even in the streets where buckets, hoses, and water guns are everywhere!
More traditionally, Songkran is a time to visit and pay respects to elders; family members, monks, friends and neighbors. It is also a time to worship and cleanse the Buddha images, visit temples and hope for good karma in the upcoming year. If you would like to learn a little more about Songkram, visit the Songkram webpage located here.
This year, the festival started on Wednesday the 13th of April and will continue through to the 15th. In theory, the festival only lasts for three days, but festivities begin a few days before and continue for a few days after the official dates of Songkran. All of the DEPDC/GMS family are enjoying the Thai New Year festivities. The staff and students are away with their families, friends and communities enjoying the holiday. We hope that you all have a great Songkran holiday and we wish you the best of luck for this year: Sawadee Pee Mai Muang 2016 – Happy New Year Thailand 2016!