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Tai Yai language lessons at HDS

The newest development at DEPDC’s Half Day School (HDS) is Tai Yai language lessons on Friday afternoons. Thanks to the new cooperation between DEPDC and the Tai Origin Network (TON) HDS can now offer regular Tai Yai language classes on two different levels every week.

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Teacher Nogyungkham teaching the beginners class

This school year children from seven different ethnic group visit HDS. This are Tai Yai, Tai Lue, Akha, Tai Khün, Burmese, Thai, and Lawa. Currently the biggest group at our school are students from the Tai Yai group. They make up for nearly 50% of our current students.

The Tai Yai, in Myanmar often called Shan, are the biggest ethnic group in Myanmar’s Shan State and many refugees and labor migrants along the Thai side of the border belong to this ethnic group as well. Tai Yai people have their own language and script and as language is an important part of ones culture and origin there are increasing efforts to promote the language in all situations of live.

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Teacher Kaysaeng teaching the advanced class

Tai Khün and Tai Lue language are closely related to Tai Yai language and together this three groups stand for more than ⅔ of HDS current students. For this reason we were very happy when two teachers from TON offered to come to visit HDS ever Friday afternoon to teach Tai Yai language to our students. This classes include spoken and written language. DEPDC believes that literacy in the students own language is a valuable addition to literacy in Thai and some cases Burmese language.

Unforgettable Student Volunteers

Everyone at DEPDC/GMS would like to extend a warm thank you to the ladies and gentlemen of International Student Volunteers (ISV) who, earlier this year, worked so diligently to remodel the kindergarten, and organized so many activities for the children at DEPDC/GMS. You did a fantastic job and everyone still fondly remembers the spirit you brought to all of us. Let’s hear from Kyle, one of the volunteers, about the volunteers’ experiences while at DEPDC/GMS!

“This summer, our group of fourteen volunteers and our team leader Carole Ketnourath, dedicated our time to help DEPDC/GMS remodel their kindergarten building as well as aiding the longterm volunteers and staff in teaching the children English, life skills, and teamwork through sports and games.

“When signing up as volunteers, we understood that we would be challenged physically, due to the labor that was needed at the center. However, we did not know to what extent our emotions would be challenged, too, as we learned about human trafficking and caught a glimpse of the difficult circumstances under which many children in the region grow up.

“Our daily tasks varied from labor to having direct interaction with the kids. First, we scraped off the old paint off the kindergarten building and took down its old tiles. Next, we painted the building’s exterior, before we decorated the new tiles in a garden theme.

“All the tiring work was quickly forgotten when we would teach English to the children or created arts and crafts with them. We also held two field days with all grade levels, where we played a wide variety of games and created special activities for the kids.

“Doing all this in two weeks was an extremely rewarding experience for all of us and my fellow ISV group member, Kelsey, summed up our group’s sentiments when she said

“There is no way I could have ever imagined how much I’d learn and do in such a short period of time. These children, along with the staff who left me with invaluable knowledge of the issues of trafficking and community development, have reminded me to never give up my dreams of improving the lives of those around me.”

“In helping DEPDC/GMS, we knew that we did our part to help prevent these children from falling victim to exploitation by human traffickers.

“I would like to use this opportunity to also highlight the work that another ISV group did before we arrived. They did a great job of painting the interior walls with many visually stimulating images. The ‘new’ kindergarten at DEPDC/GMS is thus a collaborative effort of our two groups.

“Being able to see the children smile and blissfully play with one another even on a rainy day, made the hard work all the more enjoyable and rewarding. This is what my fellow group member Erica had to say: 

“We came willing to do whatever ISV and DEPDC/GMS wanted us to do. However, after getting to know the children, and seeing how happy they were to have us there, the project became much more personal. I believe the other volunteers will agree when I say that we came to really care about the children and wanted to give them a beautiful place where the kindergarteners would have a space to learn for years to come. I believe we succeeded.”

“After our two weeks of hard work and teaching the kids, I feel that we have made a positive impact on DEPDC/GMS and the students there, yet at the same time, the children and staff have made a huge impact on our group as well. Through the children’s smiles and willingness to learn and the staff’s genuine desire to help the children, I feel that our group has learned a lot about the kindness and dedication in human nature. On behalf of the two ISV summer groups, I give a huge ‘Thank you’ to DEPDC/GMS for letting us come and help them and be a part of something that contributes to the goodness in this world.”

The children and staff at DEPDC/GMS would like to thank both visiting ISV groups for your hard work and dedication and for your creativity and joyousness! We all greatly enjoyed your visits. The kids miss you and send their hellos!

DEPDC/GMS recruits international volunteers who would like to work in human trafficking prevention in northern Thailand. Click here to find out more!

Click here to read about other volunteer experiences at DEPDC/GMS!

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