Sandalwood Flowers in Honor of King Bhumibol

Sandalwood Flowers in Honor of King Bhumibol

The Royal Cremation Ceremony for King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IV) took place on October 26th, 2017. Millions across Thailand offered traditional sandalwood flowers in homage to their late king.


Students from DEPDC/GMS, with a little help from their teachers and families, hand-made a total of 739 sandalwood flowers to be used in the Dok Mai Chan (sandalwood) flower-laying ceremony.


Traditional sandalwood flowers can be made in seven unique variations with each signifying a different set of values. The Dararat flower was chosen by DEPDC/GMS, as this signifies unconditional love, honor, hope, and courage. The name of the flower comes from the Thai word “dara” meaning “star” and “rat” meaning “of jewels”.


Furthermore, the use of the Half Day School’s bus and truck were donated on the day of the Royal Cremation Ceremony. Typically the school’s transportation is dedicated entirely to the students of DEPDC/GMS; however, the month of October was an important time for all of Thailand and many others across the world. As the school was closed and the children on break, DEPDC/GMS was honored to be able to provide transportation to the community to access the ceremony free of charge.




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

Education is the key

Last week we had many special educational activities and classes for our children.

Aside from our regular classes, our children have creative and special classes such as creating and playing musical instruments and art & drawing classes. Each of these unique classes aimed to inspire their creative entitlement and help creating an emotional rounded person with a deeper sense of identity. As this organization aims to prevent children to fall victim of sex-traffickers, it is important to talk about this subject. This starts with basic understanding of another subject that we have to teach, namely ‘Sexual and reproductive health’.

  • Sexual and reproductive health

A specialized organization came to teach sexual and reproductive health education. The sexuality education class taught our students the names of the sexual parts of the body and bodily functions in order to help them to communicate more clearly and thus contributes to their safety and wellbeing. But also more difficult subjects have been discussed, such as intimate relationships, sexual orientation, abstinence and contraception. And most important, the children were thought reproductive rights and responsibilities, to help prevent and reduce the risks of adolescent pregnancy, HIV, and sexually transmitted infections. Hence, ultimately they will be able to protect themselves from human trafficking in Greater Mekong Region.


  • Music class with Khlui

Since our children got their own traditional Thai bamboo flute, the Khlui, they have learned note reading and finger placement. So they are able to not only make beautiful sounds, but also play simple music completely. As they found their own voices and practice it patiently, we will soon hear beautiful traditional Khlui songs.

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  • Art & drawing Class

The photograph class finished successfully and we are so proud of the amazing accomplishments and grateful for the amazing volunteer teachers. Through their camera lenses, they would understand their worlds, its people and they have learned how to communicate this to the outside world through a different form of communication. After the photograph class, our children have started the mural painting of some of their pictures. The students will select their favorite photos and paint on the wall their own story and view.


Check out the below video clip how they made great photos.

Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese artist, philosopher and writer said that education is a bow, and child is a living arrow which can be sent forth. We have a strong faith in that our education will decide a major part of our children’s future lives and their quality of happiness. Education is the key to prevent human trafficking and it can cut the link of poverty in this generation. Therefore, as the archer, we will target at the path of infinite, shot our precious arrows to go swift and far, and admire the trajectory of arrow silently and patiently.


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.

We get our own Musical Instrument, Khlui

Last week, Khun Sompop made a traditional Thai bamboo flute for the all  students and teachers in DEPDC/GMS.

Khun Sompop Jantraka is well-known for being a great leader and educator, not only for fighting against the sexual exploitation and trafficking of women and children, but also for protecting the rights of the child. But many people do not know he is a great musician too. He was a musician in a band and he used to sell a traditional Thai bamboo flute, Khlui that he made to make a living (More Information about Khlui).

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Still now, he is a great musician and both encourages and inspires HDS students to learn music. Based on his experience, he made Khlui with more than 10 year old bamboo for all of the students and teachers in DEDPC/GMS. Many researches have revealed music education can help children relax, develop emotional intelligence, understand complex emotions related to specific events or situations, and enhance adolescent brain development. But above all else, our children were so happy and excited to have their own musical instruments to play their own melodies. You can see their happy faces below in the pictures.  

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Jazz saxophonist and composer Charlie Parker once said, “Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn.” Khun sompop may understand that inspiring quote better than anyone. All children deserve to have music in their lives! Thanks to his great lesson and his Khlui, we are sure that our children will have a better quality of life.


We would like to thank you for all your support and help. Us here at DEPDC would not be able to continue our work of educating our students without your support. If you would like to support the HDS or any other project at DEPDC, please visit our project page at GlobalGiving.

The YALL Art Project begins

Danny DeBlasio and Catherine Hart, cofounders of The YALL Art Project came to DEPDC/GMS in the last week and start their project from this week. 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. (More information and donation about The YALL Art Project )14249890_1225611620824826_6985526399771123205_o

They are teaching and guiding our students taking photographs and ends with a collective mural inspired by their images for six weeks. Each student will be given their own camera and guided through a series of exercises. After the group of students will be challenged to collaborate on a mural inspired by the learning from their photographs. Not only we are highly looking forward to see our marvelous artistic achievement, but also we are expecting our students to find their authentic voice and individual self-expression as well as to know each other’s voices, perspectives, and ideas.

Please check out their first Video clip 

The New Term has Begun!

Our second term began at the Half Day School last Monday, October 31.

dsc01422This beginning of term was a beam of light in this dark time the nation is facing. Seeing the smiling faces of all of our students coming back showed the joy that there is for the future. With three new students joining us, we have 42 students this term.


Our students were re-divided into four classes, A through D. The teachers are hopeful that these smaller classes will help our students to learn more. Their vocational training classes also became smaller and the students have been able to have more one on one attention in their afternoon activities.


The students also had some added activities in these past two weeks to allow for mourning and reflection on the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Last Friday afternoon, all the students and staff joined together to honor His Majesty in a ceremony. Some of the older students have also spent a few afternoons viewing old videos of His Majesty and are still deeply saddened by his passing.


We would like to thank all of our supporters for their kindness and generosity. This new term would not have been possible without you and we are forever grateful. If you would like to support the Half Day School, please check out our GlobalGiving page here.

The Swimming Camp

From 22nd to 24th of October, the Swimming Camp was held at the Swimming Home Shelter in Mae Chan with 150 children from five NGOs in the nearby Mekong region including students of DEPDC.


According to recent research, drowning death rates in the Mekong area are on the rise during the annual monsoon season due to rapid climate change. And three-quarters of the drowning victims are children. Therefore, Mekong regional organizations and NGOs took this issue seriously and decided to work together in a cooperative way to host the Swimming Camp in order to prevent drowning of children.

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During the three days of swimming lessons, the students were separated three groups depending on their swimming abilities and learned from basic swimming skills to advanced swimming techniques. The beginner group practiced how to float on the water, flutter kicks and dives into the water. The intermediate group had learned efficient flutter kicks with a swimming kick board and basic freestyle form. Lastly, the advanced group did skillful swimming drills and learned how to dive off a starting block. Although some of the children could not dare to dive into the water on the first day, they were enjoying swimming on the last day.

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Not only did the the children have a chance to learn basic swimming safety skills, but also they had valuable time to learn proper social ethics, how to use the internet and smartphones properly and effectively, as well as how to handle emergency situations such as earthquakes, floods and tsunamis. They also learned about children rights, sexual abuse and child labor through various interesting experiments and funny games. Moreover, they sang popular Thai songs together in the evening. Their songs were so energetic, so it was enough to make us happy and joyful.

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In the camp, all of students were always well organized, cooperative, and showed community friendly behavior. The children also participated in every learning session with passionate engagement, they were able to grow in a short period of time. Thanks to their remarkable decent attitude, the camp ended successfully without mishap.

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This Swimming Camp was so meaningful and worthwhile for everyone. Above all, the children will be able to save their own lives in a water-based emergency as they learned vital lifesaving skills. Also, NGOs and organizations in the nearby Mekong area were able to create strong bonds and move beyond mere cooperation and engage in true collaboration to solve problems and reach common goals against human trafficking. Despite everyone’s efforts, this swimming camp would not be able to continue without your support. If you would like to support the HDS or any other project at DEPDC, please visit our project page on GlobalGiving.



Impressed: Shan Life Skills & Family Issues

“Shan Life Skills and Family Issues”

Sound clip from the Shan programme on Child Voice Radio, our very own radio station at DEPDC/GMS. ‘Shan Life Skills and Familie Issues’ airs daily from 5.00 to 6.00pm on our local frequency FM 90.0 MHz.

The Shan are a Tai ethnic group of Southeast Asia. They live primarily in the Shan State of Myanmar (Burma), but also inhabit parts of Mandalay Division, Kachin State, and Kayin State, and in adjacent regions of China and Thailand. Though no reliable census has been taken in Myanmar since 1935, the Shan are estimated to number approximately 6 million.

Child Voice Radio (CVR) broadcasts to Mae Sai and the surrounding area. Alongside the issues of human trafficking and forced labour, the shows cover everything from AIDS awareness to Thai cooking and cater for a wide range in musical tastes, from local traditional music to Thai and Western artists. CVR provides a unique opportunity for our children and youth to have their voices heard in the community. Most shows are call-in shows where DeeJays and DeeJanes take calls from the community live on the show.

#11 in our series “ImPressed by DEPDC/GMS” featuring impressions from our children, youth and staff.

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