Category Archives: Half Day School
Founded in 1996 the Half Day School provides free education for the children of Patak village (the village surrounding the DEPDC site) and 6 other villages in the Mae Sai area. These children generally have no nationality (citizenship) or identity papers and are too poor to enroll in the formal education system provided by the Thai government.
It has been a busy last few weeks. We had a group of CIS Abroad of 19 students from the United States and 1 from Canada. They helped with teaching, playing and cleaning with the children. Together with the two professors of their University and our staff we put a lot of effort in cleaning a part of our Mae Sai grounds. We were very thankful for all their hard work and wish them all the best in continuation of their travels around Thailand and Cambodia where they learn about all the steps of the human trafficking, so they can in turn make a difference. There was also some fun, as on their day of they went to several tea plantations in the mountains that are run by ethnic minorities. Besides this they also got a brief bamboo flute instruction from our founder.
Another interesting moment came a few days ago, when it was the Thai day of the teachers. During this day the children sang songs and made symbolic offerings of flowers and incense to the staff of DEPDC in the morning. It went on with the teachers thanking the children in their turn with kind personal words for all the students.
But that’s not all; we were also presented with a large donation from Xin Yuan Trading Company (Thailand) Limited Chiang Saen, Chiang Rai. Who donated toothpaste, toothbrushes, school supplies and food for the children. For which we are very grateful of course and so are the students.
And a quick final note: We are in need of new volunteers, our current volunteer is leaving in a few weeks and we haven’t got a lot of serious applications. If you know anyone willing to volunteer at this organization for 6 months, without having to pay all kinds of fees (what is a strange, but common practice at a lot of NGO’s). The only thing you need to pay for is your costs to get here and your food during your time here. Working here can
After these few weeks of vacation the school has finally started again. The children were enthusiastic to start and even more so when they got a few presents. A former student from the first student batch donated 200 t-shirts for the children. Now all the students have a few clean white and black shirts, as can be seen in the picture. As these children mostly come from underprivileged families, new clothing is a rarity. Some of the children were given shoes and underwear, as their family couldn’t afford these basic necessities. They were also given backpacks, pencils and notebooks to write their homework in, this made possible by Lianne Rivera, a person who raised funds in the US. And even though we are a school and education is our main focus, we realize that we have to provide the conditions for children to be educated.
Starting the new school year also involves some extra cleaning. The whiteboards get an extra scrubbing and so do the desks. After this the students are eager to start learning again. During the English class the students were yelling out the answers with a lot of enthusiasm. And after a few months off, they is some need for revision, but we’ll manage. Yes, to conclude, we are ready again for a new school year, thanks to all your generous donations.
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/
As mentioned in an earlier blog, we had two very special international teachers. Since last December, Danny DeBlasio and Catherine Hart were working here at DEPDC. They were funded through their project called: “The Y’All Project”. 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.
Y’all project was a delight to have. They started with a class where they instructed the children about photography and naturally the children were very enthusiastic. The following lessons where the children could take pictures by their own and would discuss it in class. They learned more about art and the way they could interpret their surroundings, with some amazing results. Danny took the children on a walking tour with their cameras, where they had to take pictures of their surroundings.The following period focused on the making of two murals. This was interesting as some of the boys were hesitating at first, but Danny was quick to reassure them and they got encouraged to participate. Catherine gave the children lessons on how to mix the colors, work with primary and secondary colors. At the end we have a great mural and ever enthusiastic children who keep on looking at their work during the breaks and refer to the project in class. (You will better understand after see the slideshow below)
Danny also provided a great website were the photographs of the children are displayed and people are able to purchase them from all over the world. Catherine and Danny asked the children what they would like to do with the money that their pictures made on the website. The children decided to donate this money to our organization. Naturally You All can look at the amazing pictures made by the children and even purchase them here: http://www.yall-art-project.com/buy-prints/
We would like to thank Danny and Catherine for all their efforts and time they have put into this project and their bond with the children. We wish them all the best on the next location of the Y’All project and hope to see them soon again.
The International Department would like to introduce Peter. He joined our organization almost three weeks ago. Peter teaches English to the children here at DEPDC and the Community Learning Centre, but he also helps the other staff with documents and these blogs.
Peter is from the Netherlands and got to know Thailand during an elective track in “Human rights and security” at Thammasat University in Bangkok, whilst he was doing his master’s degree in Global Health. Peter has previous experience working with children, whilst doing his bachelor in Social Work and his education in becoming a group-home worker, which does comes in handy working here. Peter has quite an extensive resume, from which he draws inspiration for this organization.
Peter says that he is inspired to help change the situation for the best for these children. And that he knows that education can be the key for this change. The children really seem to like him and are amazed about his size and they often come up to him to compare their length. During the last Sports Day he was part of the black team and even though he wasn’t very athletic during most events, he was skilled at the tug of war.