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.


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.

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.

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.

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.


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.


Mekong Regional Indigenous Child Rights Home: An Update on DEPDC/GMS’s Safe Shelter

Mekong Regional Indigenous Child Rights Home: An Update on DEPDC/GMS’s Safe Shelter

Mekong Regional Indigenous Child Rights Home (MRICRH) in Mae Chan remains open and continues to provide a safe home for high-risk children and women in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) of Northern Thailand.

Our safe shelter currently provides a home to five persons, four children and one young woman. Three of the children attend a nearby school and are provided tuition support, transportation to and from school each day, and academic support as needed. These three students completed school examinations in late September and then went on school break for the month of October.


During the month of October, the children participated in basic life skills training led by the oldest member of the home and shelter guardians. Activities included typical everyday tasks, such as cleaning the home together, learning to wash and iron their own clothing, agricultural activities, and learning how to swim in the Swimming Home’s pool.

The school reopened for the new semester on November 6, 2017. All of the members of the shelter received new clothing, thus the three school children were able to return to class with new, clean and warm clothing…just in time for the cooler weather.

Safe Shelter members hugging recently donated clothing

I want to thank all those reading our update. Please keep DEPDC/GMS in mind during this holiday season. I want to offer a special thank you to the past and future donors of MRICRH. Your donations have helped this shelter provide room and board, basic necessities, medical care, scholarships to attend local government schools, school supplies, transportation, and vocational training for at-risk, vulnerable children and women.

I kindly ask that you continue your generous support, as the shelter remains open and operates strictly through donation support. Additionally, I welcome you to come visit and even consider volunteering if possible. I invite you to come take a look at the impact that even small monthly donations of 10 to 20 dollars to DEPDC/GMS can make…and to enjoy seeing the smiles that you have made possible!

On behalf of DEPDC/GMS founder, all the staff members, volunteers, and especially our children, I would like to wish you a happy holiday season and a very merry Christmas!

Donate to MRICRH Safe Shelter here!

Visit our webpage and learn more about the mission of DEPDC/GMS here!

Apply to volunteer with DEPDC/GMS here!


Sharing some laughter before heading to school





Former Daughter and Sons Give Back!

Former Daughter and Sons Give Back!

With financial support raised through Global Giving, the Half Day School’s Lunch Program is able to provide a mid-day meal to every student. On behalf of all the students, teachers, and volunteers at DEPDC/GMS, I would like to say thank you to current, past, and future supporters…you make a difference in the lives of our students and their families!


As some children may only receive this one meal throughout the day, the Half Day School Lunch Program attempts to provide students with a satisfying yet nutritious lunch. DEPDC/GMS recognizes that learning is impossible if basic needs are overlooked.

In addition to international fundraising, DEPDC/GMS was grateful to receive special visitors from Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai Province who offered their own donations of food for the Half Day School:

On September 12th, a former Daughter (student of DEPDC/GMS) returned to visit with her mother, husband, and best friend. They provided gifts of dried food and other vegetarian items, such as ice-cream and sweetmeat, for the younger generation of Daughters and Sons of the Half Day School. Following graduation from DEPDC/GMS, she received continued financial support to complete three years of high school. Referring to Sompop Jantraka, founder of DEPDC/GMS, as “Father”, she thanked him for helping provide her with a life of safety and stability where she finally has the capability to “give back”.


On October 20th, two former Sons returned to visit and donate nonperishable items for the Half Day School Lunch Program. Current students had the opportunity to listen and learn from two strong role models who were once in a similar place in life. The two former Sons are now Monks with one completing his third year of law school. DEPDC/GMS strives to teach the importance of community service, thus it was a blessing to watch former students not only exemplify this value but also share it directly with younger Daughters and Sons.

Former Sons donate food 2

Your support was tremendously appreciated, especially as the weather begins to cool in Northern Thailand these next few months. Although the cooler weather is welcomed with open arms, it also means “hello” to the common cold and an increase in expenses for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Thank you for your time reading our blog! Please continue to provide your much needed support and don’t forget to spread the news about our mission here at DEPDC/GMS by following, liking, or sharing us on your favorite social media platform!

A busy few weeks

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. 1497253409044

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. Xin Yuan Trading Company

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

Start of the new school year

FullSizeRenderAfter 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. IMG_20170516_104736After 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. IMG_20170516_104658IMG_20170516_104950

The Annual Sports Day


A tradition here at DEPDC is the annual sports day, a day that allows the children to exercise and learn important skills. Skills like teamwork, discipline and respect. The children were divided into two teams, the black and the blue team for which they cheered fiercely.img_1189

This year’s Sports Day included the usual activities such as the sprint, sack hop and the spoon race. There were also some less conventional games, like a game where a Ping-Pong ball needed to be hit across the Finnish line by hitting it with a bottle of water on a string around their hips; a hurdle run, where every hurdle was something to do or eat.  The games started and all the students cheered on their classmates as they ran, hopped, and occasionally ate their way across the finish line. And even towards the end of the day during the final competition, tug-of-war, no one seemed to tire or give up.  Snacks were distributed to all the participants after each event and again at the closing ceremony.

img_1254At the end of the day, we recognized our winning team, had closing ceremonies, and sent the kids off happy from their day’s exertions and fun.img_1227

The Report Is In: Update on Human Rights Issues in Thailand

The U.S Department of State recently released it’s annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015. As you all know human rights are at the core of DEPDC/GMS’s mission to prevent human trafficking through education and awareness raising. Although the report highlights certain areas of progress in the vast, ongoing issues of human rights in Thailand it also illustrates that many of the causal factors that lead to the high prevalence of human trafficking remain and there is much more work to be done.


In the past, many of our posts have been written to portray the underlying causes of human trafficking. A couple of the issues we address quite frequently are the lack of citizenship and statelessness within many of the hill tribe members in Northern Thailand and the surrounding areas. Lack of citizenship and statelessness present an array of problems that perpetuate the cycle of poverty and under education in Thailand. This cycle of poverty and under education is deeply connected to the commodification of women and children and the reason DEPDC/GMS continues in the battle of prevention. In the 2015 report these specific issues were addressed and it is clear that these problems continue to exist and how they correlate to human trafficking and exploitative labor.


“Noncitizen members of hill tribes faced restrictions on their movement, could not own land, had difficulty accessing bank credit, and faced discrimination in employment. Although labor laws give them the right to equal treatments as employees, employers often violated those rights by paying them less than their citizen coworkers and less than minimum wage. The law also limited noncitizens in their choice of occupations. The law also bars them from government welfare services, such as universal health care.”

In a different section the report also states:

“Stateless persons had difficulty accessing credit and government services, such as health care. Although education was technically accessible for all undocumented and stateless children, it was usually of poor quality. School administrators placed the term “non-Thai citizen” on these individuals’ high school certificates, which severely limited their economic opportunities.”


From this information it is then no surprise that the report also concluded that child prostitution remains a problem. More specifically, children from poor families, especially boys and girls coming from migrant populations and ethnic minorities, are more vulnerable to the persuasion tactics of human traffickers.

While this information is discouraging and saddening it strengthens our resolve at DEPDC to continue our work in education, community awareness, and empowerment for the population of at-risk youth that we serve. Our many programs and activities directly target these specific human rights violations by providing opportunities that would otherwise not exist for the majority of these children.

2014-12-24 11.13.04

From the bottom of our hearts we thank you for supporting us and our mission. The fight is far from over but we stand strong in knowing our international community stands with us. 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. 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. Thank you for reading and we wish you all the best.

To view the entire Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2015 for Thailand please follow this link:

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