2017 International Student Volunteers

For the past couple of weeks, we have had 28 international volunteers from both the university of Missouri and Daemen college in the US, and were busy working on building a tree house which will serve as a therapy shelter, painting a wall, helping with cooking, and teaching English to our children.

img_0929Two groups of international student volunteers came here at DPEDC with different programs, which were called KAYA and CIS Abroad. Both shared similar visions to support and help children from DEPDC as well as understanding about the current human trafficking situation alongside the Thai-Burmese border. International volunteers were split with tasks divided between teaching and construction works. During the teaching sessions, they provided opportunities for spontaneous interaction and fun challenges with various playful games, encouraging our students to be fully engaged in the English classes. These games evoked their learning motivation into learning English and maintained their interests and curiosity.

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Moreover, our international volunteers contributed to repaint our school’s old wall and build a new tree house shelter, called the “Play Home in Nature” which will provide a therapeutic environment for our children like healing, personal development, personal discovery, and positive change.

img_0951    img_0952img_0950img_0955    img_094616106077_1318268428195337_3019901780444002242_nWe would like to thank our dedicated and passionate volunteers, as our children have had a great and joyful time with them. They have done amazing works help cleaning our class rooms and built a tree house therapy shelter. International student volunteers’ charities, supporting and helping are the greatest of all, because all of us are directly witnessing their good work and how these efforts have a powerful effect on people and society in general.16106063_1317698694918977_7451770073537731428_nimg_094816003161_1317699108252269_8328957234247479823_n

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.


Children’s Day 2017 in Thailand

On Friday, January 13th, we celebrated National Children’s Day (Wan Dek) in Thailand at DEPDC Mae Sai. Everyone had a great and enjoyable day with lots of funny games and joyful performances, and marvelous gifts. Below photos are a brief description of how we spent the day. img_0966Before staring the children’s day celebration, everyone prepared a small gift, marked number on them, and exchange them later in the day. Students played all sorts of games, drew numbers in order to win prizes, and ate lots of sweets. Many of the children performed dances, sang lovely songs for everyone. Thanks to International university volunteers, we had various events, games and performances and lot of gifts for our children. A fun time was had by all, especially our students, as you can see in our photos!

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Children’s Day is not simple a day to celebrate children for who they are, but also to bring awareness to children around the world that have succumbed to violence in forms of conflict, violence, abuse, human trafficking, child prostitution, exploitation and discrimination. In Thailand, every year has a different motto for celebrating children’s day, and the motto for 2017 Children’s Day is “Thai Children who pay attention to study, will bring about national stability.” As this year’s motto, the entire staffs of DEPDC are doing our best for teaching children well and preventing them from human trafficking and children abuse.img_1160

We get our own Musical Instrument, Khlui

Last week, Khun Sompop made a traditional Thai bamboo flute for the all  students and teachers in DEPDC/GMS.

Khun Sompop Jantraka is well-known for being a great leader and educator, not only for fighting against the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and children, but also for protecting the rights of the child. But many people do not know he is a great musician too. He was a musician in a band and he used to sell a traditional Thai bamboo flute, Khlui that he made to make a living (More Information about Khlui).

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Still now, he is a great musician and both encourages and inspires HDS students to learn music. Based on his experience, he made Khlui with more than 10 year old bamboo for all of the students and teachers in DEDPC/GMS. Many researches have revealed music education can help children relax, develop emotional intelligence, understand complex emotions related to specific events or situations, and enhance adolescent brain development. But above all else, our children were so happy and excited to have their own musical instruments to play their own melodies. You can see their happy faces below in the pictures.  

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Jazz saxophonist and composer Charlie Parker once said, “Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.” Khun sompop may understand that inspiring quote better than anyone. All children deserve to have music in their lives! Thanks to his great lesson and his Khlui, we are sure that our children will have a better quality of life.


We would like to thank you for all your support and help. Us here at DEPDC would not be able to continue our work of educating our students without your support. If you would like to support the HDS or any other project at DEPDC, please visit our project page at GlobalGiving.

CRPC a year on – what has changed

The Mekong Child Rights Protection Centre Chiang Khong (M-CRP) was founded by DEPDC/GMS in 2006. It’s mission is to prevent trafficking through education and provision of a safe environment.  During the restructuring process initiated in 2013, M-CRP became independent as Child Rights Protection Centre Chiang Khong (CRPC) in July, 2015. This is an update on CRPC’s work one year after it’s independence by CRPC’s international volunteer Maia Mounsher. DEPDC wishes CRPC all the best for it’s future development. 

In the year since CRPC started becoming an independent organization, a lot has changed. From seven residents last year, we have increased to twelve daughters who came to live at the shelter just five days ago. Four of our daughters from last year will stay on here at the shelter, while the others have gone on to continue their studies in Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. One of our daughters will be entering University this year.


CRPC has continued to provide safe shelter, life skills education, and lots of fun activities for the most at-risk youth in Chiang Khong. As well as a shelter for girls, CRPC has also been sponsoring the education of several boys and girls who live in the community, and providing basic necessities such as food, clothing, and medication to poor families in the region.

The movement against human trafficking and for human rights is still strong in Chiang Khong, and with the introduction of a special economic zone on the horizon, it is more important than ever. CRPC has been working on several projects and campaigns to fight for the rights of children and women. We also collaborate with our partners Center for Girls and Kiang Rim Khong to provide educational workshops on sexual health and HIV prevention.


Our newest residents have been here less than a week but are already starting to feel at home. We are planning lots of exciting and educational activities that will allow the daughters to explore the world and learn valuable life skills.

Child Rights Protection Centre Chiang Khong

CRPC-CK’s Facebook

CRPC-CK’s Twitter

Happy Songkran!

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!

A Look into the Swimming Home by our two new volunteers

Hello, we are students from Ireland. Currently we are on our university work placement with DEPDC. The next five months will be spent working at the organisation’s “Swimming Home” shelter in Mae Chan. This shelter provides accommodation to a number of at risk children, as well as swimming and English lessons. They also provide the necessities to attend the local school.

The centre also offers these swimming lesson to local children. Affordable English lessons, taught by volunteers are available to the public. We are currently working on flyers and posters to advertise the English courses and will start teaching in just over a week’s time.


At present, it is the summer holidays, so most of our duties involve fundraising and preparing the public English lessons, however our responsibilities will alter once the children return in a few week’s time.

There are only two boys staying at the swimming home right now as unlike the other children who live in the centre during the school year, they have no family to take care of them during their holidays. We spent a few days playing with them and getting to know them better. Having done so, it is safe to say that they are kids just like any other and crave the same things – attention and affection.


A few days ago, we visited the Ban Klang Na shelter, which provides women and families at risk accommodation and teaches them sustainable living by providing them with agricultural inputs such as land and seeds so they can grow crops. The living conditions there are very basic but they have everything they need; a safe place to live and food. It is located in quite an isolated area in order to protect the women, as many of them come from a human trafficking background.

Overall, the last week, even though quiet, was very helpful in helping us gain a better understanding of the human trafficking issues prevalent in the Northern part of the country, how it affects people and how DEPDC assists these individuals in accessing the tools for a better future.

World Health Day – 7th April

WHD logo

This very important day was first recognized in 1948 and held by the World Health Organization. It symbolizes the first world health assembly and is held to mark the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO). It is a day where attention should be drawn to a subject of major importance, global health. International, Regional and even Local events are organized by WHO for the big day usually related to a particular theme. Each year differs with specific themes that have made headlines in the year gone past. 2015’s theme is dedicated towards ‘food safety’. The WHO is working with countries and partner organizations to prevent, detect and respond to foodborne disease. The day also focuses on food safety along the whole food chain, from transportation to preparation to consumption. This is due to the way in which the processes within the food chain have changed drastically in the past 50 years.

Here are some facts about food safety that help to explain its importance:

  • More than 200 diseases are spread through food.
  • On average 1.5 million children die a year due to illness’ from contaminated food and water
  • Food contamination affects an economy and society as a whole.
  • Everybody has a role to play in keeping food safe.

DEPDC has tried to exercise the importance of health as well as food safety in various parts of our program. Our Lunch program provides students with knowledge about what is healthy and what is not, as well as providing a healthy nutritious meal that is sometimes the only wholesome food these students get a day. All vegetarian do not forget!

Sports class at HDS Mae Sai

The Half day School in Mae Sai welcomes a member of medical staff once a year, for a routine check up on all the students making sure that they are all in good health. They provide standard vaccinations and inoculations such as polio among others. There is also the policy that if a child at DEPDC has come ill and their parents cannot afford the healthcare needed, DEPDC will bring them to the hospital. Students are regularly given personal hygiene classes in all 3 of our centers. We also provide sexual health classes in our child rights protection center in Chiang Khong. Exercise is strongly promoted in our centers as exercise is key maintaining good health. With space to play and an Olympic size swimming pool in our Mae Chan center it is embedded within our mission.

Swimming competition at DEPDC's Mae Chan Shelter
Swimming competition at DEPDC’s Mae Chan Shelter

The world health day, which occurs every year, is aimed at increasing awareness about global health problems and the importance of health in our societies. There is a lot of room for progress in terms of health worldwide, so do not be shy and pick the healthy option!

Thai PBS visit at Chiang Khong Safe Shelter

On January 24th and 25th a group from Thai PBS, a major Thai TV station, came to DEPDC’s Chiang Khong shelter to do a short film workshop.

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This year’s workshop was the second one organized in a cooperation of local NGOs with Thai PBS. Besides DEPDC, two other NGOs from Chiang Rai Province participated in the workshop’s organization. Krong Gaan Kiang Rim Kong (Project at the Mekong Riverbank) from Huai So, Chiang Khong District, and Suun Puea Nong Ying (Center for Girls) from Mae O, Phan District, both in Chaing Rai Province.

On Saturday morning, the workshop’s participants received introductory lessons into creative writing, acting, video and audio equipment, and recording. The afternoon was taken up by creative writing and acting training.

On Sunday, three groups of five girls produced their own short movies that will be edited and finalized with the support of Thai PBS’s staff.

The short movies this year will be focusing on ‘Commercial sexual exploitation of children’ (CSEC).

Last year’s short movie (please find youtube-link attached below [Lahu with Thai and English subtitles]) was produced by five girls from DEPDC’s Chiang Khong shelter and is called Stories from a Diary. The movie tells the story of Nagaya’s difficult transition from junior high school to senior high school. It mainly focused on the dichotomy between the dream of studying on to find a good job in the future and the necessity to support the family income by dropping out of school and going to work in one of the big cities now.

Child Rights Protection in the Mekong Sub-region

Mekong Child Rights Protection Center:  Girls Shelter & Education Program       

Chiang Khong District, Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand

 The Mekong Child Rights Protection Center (MCRP) Program was established by DEPDC / GMS in 2006 as a shelter home and education support program that aims to protect and prevent at-risk adolescent girls from being exploited and trafficked through a highly traversed border area in Northern Thailand. Currently, 15 girls receive shelter protection, government school education, vocational and life skills development training, nutritious homemade meals, and family outreach services.

Why is the MCRP Center located in Chiang Khong District?

Chiang Khong District is located along a Thai-Lao border crossing in the heart of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS)This area of northern Thailand is highly traversed by human traffickers, both because of several border crossings with Myanmar and Laos, and because of the vulnerable populations of ethnic minority and stateless people who reside there.  Multiple sociocultural, familial, and personal factors place children and youth at very high risk of labor exploitation, especially trafficking into the commercial sex industry.

Spending time with friends after school

How does the Program work?

This MCRP Center provides room and board, basic necessities and medical care, scholarships for local government school education, school supplies, transportation to and from school, and life skills and vocational training to its female residents through the 9th grade. The program also provides partial aid for local government school education and health care related costs and family-based support services to 20 non-resident girls and boys from the communities surrounding the Center site.

Long-term Impact

Each day these children are under the care of the Program is another day that they are safe, healthy, cared for, and able to live more hopeful lives. Upon completion of the Program, the girls will take with them critical vocational and life skills, formal school education, human rights awareness, leadership skills, and the belief that their lives are valuable. These children represent the opportunity to not only escape from risk and danger, but to reach their human potential.

Find out how to directly support the Mekong Child Rights Protection Center through its Global Giving donation page, and learn more from quarterly updates and see photos of activities here.

Celebrating Thailand’s annual lantern festival together

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