Half Day School Welcomes in a New Semester…and Some New Faces!

Half Day School Welcomes in a New Semester…and Some New Faces!

What is the DEPDC/GMS Half Day School?

            The Half Day School, in Mae Sai, Chiang Rai, Thailand, provides education to children who are at-risk of being trafficked into the sex industry and other forms of exploitive working conditions. Our students tend to be children of stateless persons and migrants from neighboring countries who are unable to receive an education through other means. Providing the children with a mid-day meal, shoes, school supplies, and various other needs assists the children directly while also providing an incentive for their parents to let them remain in school. Keeping children in school can often be a challenge, one which becomes more and more difficult with each passing birthday. This free education provides them with a safe environment to grow and learn, a basic human right which all children should enjoy. Additionally, the Half Day School provides an education with a focus on prevention strategies and the life skills needed to develop and maintain a self-sufficient life.

A group of students focus on a word search during English language class

 A New Semester Brings in Both New and Familiar Faces…

            September 13th through 17th was the first full school week back in session for the Half Day School after a month long semester break. We are grateful that our students have returned safely with happy faces, excited to get back to their studies with their friends and proud teachers.

            We welcomed two new students this semester, a brother and sister. Being a new student at the Half Day School can be just as challenging as it is exciting. Many of our students come to us speaking little to no Thai, the language in which all instruction is provided, and typically no previous education. Many of our students speak Burmese, Shan (Tai Yai), Akha, or Karen before learning to speak and write in Thai at the Half Day School. Lovingly, our students assist the teachers in supporting their new classmates to learn Thai in both a natural and formal manner. Once comfortable in Thai, our students quickly dive into studying the English language. English classes are offered as part of the weekly curriculum and in the evenings for students who cannot attend the HDS or would like to improve their speaking abilities through additional classes.

            This semester, the students at the Half Day School returned with a surprise waiting for them. Their former teacher and International Volunteer, Katie Crosman, came all the way from Oregon to visit. In addition to seeing a familiar face, the children began English studies with a new teacher, Kristin Moreau. DEPDC/GMS relies on volunteers like Kristin and Katie to assist with multiple areas within the organization, including the rewarding experience of teaching English and extracurricular activities to the children at the Half Day School.

Students gather together on the first day of school with their former teacher, Katie Crosman

            Please see our webpage for more information if you are interested in an international volunteer or internship position which would allow you to gain valuable experience in the areas of education, migrants and refugees, youth empowerment, and human trafficking prevention. We currently have an immediate need within the DEPDC/GMS International Department and at the Half Day School. Kindly, spread the word!

Kristin Moreau, MS, CCC-SLP

DEPDC/GMS International Volunteer

 

 

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SIM Democracy’s educational workshop was a success at DEPDC/GMS! The children had a blast AND learned about what it means to be both a leader and a citizen in a democratic society. During a time when most schools are taking a short break after exams, the students here at DEPDC/GMS continue to learn and grow!

If you are unfamiliar with SIM Democracy, here is a little bit of background information. SIM Democracy is an educational board game designed to simulate a democratic society. This teaches children and young adults about how a democratic system works in a fun and creative way while encouraging problem solving skills and collaboration.

Want to learn more about SIM Democracy? Follow this link!

Shortly after arriving to school, the students gathered on the floor in the main auditorium. The team at SIM Democracy began by introducing the main elements of a democratic society in a meaningful way to the students. This involved an interactive learning approach which included encouraging the students to discuss what they already know and to think about questions they would like to have answered. As always, DEPDC/GMS provided a safe learning environment for students to ask questions and expand their knowledge in an open and friendly atmosphere.

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The students were then divided into small groups. Each group was provided step-by-step directions on how to play the game by a SIM Democracy team leader. Team leaders remained with the student groups throughout the game, providing guidance and asking thoughtful questions to enhance the children’s learning experience and encourage problem solving. The children had the opportunity to elect a leader to their country, play a variety of leadership and citizen roles, and allocate funding into four sectors: education, public health, environment, and security.

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After about an hour of playing SIM Democracy, the student groups rejoined each other to discuss what they had learned from their decisions. Students talked about what choices resulted in positive changes within their community and, in contrast, what choices resulted in decreased funding for education and health care, limited economic growth, and/or increased poverty.

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On behalf of all the students, parents, staff, and founder of DEPDC/GMS, I would like to say thank you to the all the team members who brought SIM Democracy to our school. Thank you for such a wonderful learning experience! It would be our pleasure to welcome your return to DEPDC/GMS!

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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

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.

Thank you for your donation and support to DEPDC/GMS in 2016

Someone once said that whatever we possess becomes of double value when we share it with others. Looking around us at the difference your support and donation have made to our projects, We know that to be true.

We really appreciate your support and donation in 2016
Wish that the new year bring to your warmth of love, and a light to guide your path towards a positive destination.
Happy New Year!

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Happiness U Can Give: A Photo Blog

This week we had Happiness U Can Give, a foundation based in Chiang Rai, come visit us at the Half Day School. They came and performed all afternoon for our students and children from Baan Doi and Baannana. All the students also each performed a song and Ajan Sompop sang to close out the show! 

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All of our students enjoyed the show and were thankful to Happiness U Can Give for joining us! Well, maybe not all of our students…

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Travelling Film Maker Visits DEPDC/GMS, Mae Sai

On Thursday 12th and Friday 13th July DEPDC/GMS was visited by Liam Davies, a travelling film maker, studying Global Media studies in the UK.  He has been travelling around Asia, making promotional documentary videos for charities, free of charge.

There was great excitement when Liam arrived on Thursday to teach six students from the youth group about filming and editing their own news reel. The morning consisted of the students researching news stories for the film they made which consisted of world news, entertainment news, a report on DEPDC/GMS and a look at Wat Doi Waw on of Mae Sai’s tourist attractions.  Thanks to Liam they were able to try their hand at writing a script for the news reel, learning how to present and researching pictures and videos relating to their news story.

On the second day Liam taught the students how to use the professional video camera and set up the news room. The students then proceeded to take shots from around the DEPDC/GMS Mae Sai centre and Wat Doi Waw to use in their film.  The afternoon was spent in the media room filming and putting all the pieces together.

Liam said that these were a great bunch of students to work with and that their filming and researching skills were excellent!

DEPDC/GMS and the students would like to say a big BIG thank you to Liam for sharing his skills and time with us! All children should be given the chance to have new and exciting experiences that challenge and inspire them.

This link will take you to our MYUTC youtube page to view the DEPDC news reel they produced!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xz7by-J9rns&feature=youtu.be

Check out our album on facebook for more pictures!
http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.449986158367248.90130355.122922991073568&type=3 

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DEPDC/GMS Hosts Annual Sports Day

At the end of this Half Day School (HDS) term, the  students were able to participate in a  DEPDC/GMS tradition – Annual Sports Day! Sports Day only happens once a year, and it is a day where the HDS students are broken up into teams and are given the chance to partake in some friendly competition. This year, Sports Day happened to occur while DEPDC/GMS was hosting two volunteer organizations. Volunteers from Generation Peace Academy (GPA) and Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) were able to participate, which provided the Half Day School students with even more fun than usual.

Team Light Blue fighting at tug-of-war

The day started out with an opening ceremony where some of the HDS students performed a skit and the GPA members performed an original dance number. Then there was an exchange of speeches and kind words from the directors of all organizations involved. After the opening ceremony had finished, we broke off into our teams. This year we had four teams competing: red, yellow, light blue, and dark blue. DEPDC/GMS staff and volunteers, GPA members, and WFWP volunteers were evenly split among the teams and allowed to participate in the events!

The teams were actively participating in competition for the entire day; students were either running around the field, partaking in events, or on the sidelines cheering on their teammates. And even towards the end of the day during the final competition, tug-of-war, no one seemed to tire or give up. While the yellow team did end up winning Sports Day, I think that it is safe to say that every team won! Snacks and prizes were handed out to all the participants after each event and again at the closing ceremony. Overall, it was a successful day for the students, GPA, WFWP, and the DEPDC/GMS staff! 

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Generation Peace Academy visits DEPDC/GMS!

At the end of February, DEPDC/GMS welcomed the Generation Peace Academy (GPA) – a Christian-based volunteer organization from the U.S. in cooperation with the Thai branch of the Women’s Federation for World Peace. We were delighted to host these groups along with Mr. John Gehring, GPA’s project coordinator, here with us for a week.

The group of 30 young people, aged 17-21, were here to help build a plant nursery along with planting seedlings as a part of an agricultural project. The nursery will be a great addition to the centre because it will be used to sprout seedlings and grow trees that will be planted for DEPDC/GMS’s use. The GPA group, along with the help of some of DEPDC/GMS staff, built the nursery in only a few days! The rest of GPA’s time, was spent working with the Half Day School (HDS) students. They spent a whole morning cooking a lunch and snacks with the children at the HDS. The food was delicious! The kids also enjoyed a whole day of activities taught by the GPA group including  Frisbee, hip-hop and ballroom dancing, Taekwondo, English, origami, bracelet making and hair-braiding.

GPA strives to help build a better world by preparing the leaders of tomorrow through character development, service work and developing faith. As an educational and leadership training program, GPA has worked in many countries across the world.

GPA spent their last day participating in DEPDC/GMS’ annual sports day. It was a great opportunity for the HDS children, GPA and DEPDC/GMS staff and volunteers to get to know each other a little better by competing and having fun. All the teams actively engaged in the competition, running their hearts out and cheering their teammates on throughout the day, tiring but never giving up.  At the end of the day, everyone reaped the rewards of their hard work taking home many tasty snacks provided as prizes for the games.

DEPDC/GMS would like to thank GPA for their hard work and participation and hope that they had a great time while visiting our headquarters here in Mae Sai. On behalf of everyone at DEPDC/GMS, we would to extend a warm thank you and wish you the best of luck in your future projects.  Please come visit us again in the future!

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