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/
This past Monday, November 14, on the evening of the full moon of the 12th lunar calendar month, Loi Krathong was celebrated.
Loi Krathong is an annual celebration taking place in November. Originating as a Indic festival, it was around 150 years ago that it was adopted by Buddhists under the ruling of King Mongkut (Rama IV). In this version of the festival, people make various lanterns and other vessels to float lights down the rivers, symbolizing the release of bad luck and misfortune.
These vessels are known as krathongs. They are traditionally made from banana leaves and wood, and are decorated with flowers, a candle and incense. It is also known to put a coin, or even some hair or a nail clipping, in the krathong.
Another tradition here in Northern Thailand is Yee Peng. Very similar to Loi Krathong, Yee Peng is the celebration of the full moon of the second month of the old Lanna calendar. With this festival, people hang or send off beautiful illuminated lanterns. As with the krathongs, these lanterns are a way to discard bad fortune.
Here at the Half Day School, the students spent the afternoon Monday making krathongs out of paper. By taking 12 pieces of paper, by folding them intricately, the students created flower shaped krathongs to send down the river with their families later that night.
To learn more about Loi Krathong and Yee Peng, read more here.
The Buddhist Project is one of our most beloved and successful projects here at DEPDC. Started in 2010 by the initiative of Ianic Camirand a Canadian from Montreal, it is still going strong. Classes are held all day every Friday by two Buddhist monks who travel up from Chiang Rai to teach the Half Day School Students. Recently we welcomed another monk to The Buddhist Project – Phra Ajarn Somsanit, who will join in teaching our students of the benefits of Buddhism.
Every Friday a cloud of calm settles over the students at Half Day School. Instead of their regular classes, such as Thai, English, maths and science, they receive classes about the philosophy of moral and ethical thought, speech and action. The project teaches students about personal discipline, responsibility, and how to exist harmoniously in society. The monks use various different teaching skills in their classes, everything from video media to serious seminars to fun activities. This year they have also begun to teach some of the concepts of democracy.
The monks teach Buddhism in a sensitive and gentle way, this is necessary in an environment such as ours here at Half Day School, where the student’s religious backgrounds vary. This allows for students of all faiths to take part and learn how to utilize the concepts of human kindness and compassion in their daily lives.
Meditation, although often associated directly with Buddhism, does not require one to be Buddhist to practice and gain knowledge of this skill. All students can and really do benefit from building concentration and peace in the mind. The Buddhist monks will also teach Buddhist mantras to those who are Buddhist and wish to learn them. Those who are not Buddhist do not have to participate, but can use this time to simply sit quietly and practice their meditation.
In the coming weeks some our of our students will have the opportunity to attend a meditation camp of two days and three nights. Here they will be given the opportunity to learn more about meditation and put their skills to use. The Buddhist project builds a solid moral foundation for these students and continues to bring confidence, guidance, hope and peace into the their lives.
DEPDC and all the students here would like to thank Ianic Camirand who brought us the Buddhist project and thank everyone who has generously supported the project.
Donations to the project are welcomed and can be made at our donation page.
This year the Buddhist project turns three! Started in 2010 by the initiative of Ianic Camirand a Canadian from Montreal, the Buddhist project is still going strong. Classes are held all day every Friday by two Buddhist monks who travel up from Chiang Rai to teach the Half Day School Students.
The Buddhist project teaches the philosophy of moral and ethical thought, speech and action. The project teaches students about personal discipline, responsibility, and co-existence in society. The monks also like to use a variety of teaching skills from seminars to activities and video media. They also like to bring new things to class, such as this term they have begun teaching concepts of democracy. After lunch the monks have been using agricultural activities as an opportunity for the students to learn about agriculture but also to practice working together.
As a school with students from different religious backgrounds, Buddhism, Christianity and local traditional beliefs the monks communicate Buddhist philosophy in a way that is sensitive to this fact. Teaching in such a way that allows students of all faiths to participate and learn about what some would say are the basic and shared concepts of human kindness and compassion which are relevant to a diversity of beliefs.
Meditation, although often associated with Buddhism does not require one to be Buddhist to practice this skill of building concentration and peace in the mind. All students can and do benefit from this. The Buddhist monks will also teach Buddhist mantras to those who are Buddhist. Those who are not Buddhist do not have to participate, but can use this time to simply sit quietly and practice their meditation. The Buddhist project continues to bring confidence, guidance, hope and peace into the student’s lives.
DEPDC and all the students here would like to thank Ianic Camirand who brought us the Buddhist project and thank everyone who has generously supported the project. We wish you all a Happy New Year in this holiday season. May you all have the best of luck and joy for the upcoming year.
The Buddhist Project started in June 2010 and is still going strong! Since January 2012, monks from Chiang Rai’s Somsak Somphet temple in northern Thailand come to DEPDC/GMS every Friday and teach an entire day of Buddhist classes to the children at the Half Day School.
The goals of the Buddhist classes are to help underprivileged children, orphans, and children at risk of human trafficking. The idea behind teaching Buddhist philosophy is to bring confidence, guidance, hope, and peace to their lives. The Buddhist classes are having a positive impact on the children, especially in regards to their self-esteem, confidence and their outlook on life.
This year, the project had expanded to include all children from Kindergarten to Grade 6. The children are divided into two groups to provide separate classes for younger and older students in the mornings; in the afternoon, a group session is held. Buddhist classes are now provided to all 150 students at DEPDC/GMS’ Half Day School!
To keep the youth engaged and open to the topics of the workshop, the monks use various means of media as well as interactive games, including educational cartoons and songs that stress self-awareness and self-confidence.
For the younger group, lessons focus on explaining karma and how to be a good person. The monks incorporate songs and dances into these classes – a great way to learn in a fun and interactive environment!
For the older group, lessons focus on Buddhist formalities, such as teaching the proper way to wai – a Thai greeting which consists of placing the palms together in a prayer-like position and bowing one’s head – and other general rules. One common rule is a rule of passing: it is acceptable for a man to directly pass something, such as a donation or food, to a monk, whereas a woman cannot, unless she is holding a piece of paper and doesn’t directly touch him, for example.
Afternoon sessions include all grades plus the Kindergarten and cover the story of Buddha and a more general background on Buddhism, including the way of life for Buddhist people. These larger group sessions are also geared towards self-esteem building for all students. The children are greatly enjoying their weekly visitors!
This project is funded exclusively by donations. A small donation will make a significant difference in the life of each child.
Thank you for your support and interest in the Buddhist project.
If you are interested in supporting the Buddhist Project you may make a donation through our Pay Pal account with your credit card or Paypal account.*
*Please note that DEPDC/GMS receives donations for different projects. Once you have made your donation for The Buddhist Project, please email your donation details to depdc.gms(at)gmail.com. Please include your name, the amount you donated, the email address you used for the donation, and the email address that you would like the Buddhist project’s biannual updates to be sent to, if different from the previous.