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.

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  • 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 

Harvest our organic rice

Last week at the Half Day School, the all students and teachers came together and harvested our organic rice crop.

15356716_1272578382764342_5476025180768527935_nThis harvest activity is providing children with access to nutritious, high quality local foods at the same time enriching their connection to local cultures by learning traditional farming techniques. Also, children had been learning about the rice plant and its growing cycle, the advantages of following a simple nutritious diet as well as working on art projects to gain a deeper appreciation for the beauty of the plant. Next year we are hoping for a better harvest.

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Loi Krathong

This past Monday, November 14, on the evening of the full moon of the 12th lunar calendar month, Loi Krathong was celebrated. 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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To learn more about Loi Krathong and Yee Peng, read more here.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

End of Term at HDS

Last Friday marked the end of term here at HDS. After a full semester the students spent the week taking their exams and enjoying their last week.

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Since studying, and playing, hard since May, all of our students passed their mid-year exams and are taking a well deserved break. Our teachers corrected their exams and are also taking a holiday as well during this month. This past semester has been filled to the brim. From concerts, to guests, to new volunteers arriving and old volunteers leaving, there has been no shortage of excitement this term.

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On October 31st the new term will start up and we are looking forward to see all of our students back and hope that they will be as successful during the second part of the year as during the first part.

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We would like to thank all that have helped and supported during this past term. 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.

What is the Marshmallow Test?

Did you ever hear about the Marshmallow Test? This is one of the most influential psychological experiment about self-control by Walter Mischel. The test is quite simple. A small child was served a marshmallow and was given two choices: you can eat one marshmallow now or, if you can wait, you get to eat two marshmallows later. If you were that child, could you wait for that tortured moment? The research found that that the children who were able to wait longer for the two marshmallows were more likely to have better life outcomes and more successful life styles. The study emphasized that delayed gratification and self-control are major factors for a successful life.

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Then, what about our children in the Swimming Home shelter or at the Half Day School? Although I have yet to conduct the same experiment so far, but I bet all of our children would eat the marshmallow in a second. It is not surprising at all. According to recent psychological research, a children’s attitude can be different depending on the financial circumstance. The children in a poor environment tend to take action to get a certain reward immediately instead of waiting for an uncertain future reward. In other words, the effects of poverty, hunger and homelessness on children may lower self-control and patience for delayed gratification.

Why talk about this boring psychology research now? Because this research is associated with us here at DEPDC directly. While we are teaching children about English, music or dance, the children cannot sit on a chair more than 20 minutes and want more games, want to listen to music and play recklessly. As this is a struggle for many a new volunteer here, Ajan Sompop brought forward some good advice. He suggested to understand the children instead of only focusing on teaching them. It makes us here at DEPDC remember that the children are our teachers as much as we are their’s and we must learn everything from them. As a second recent research study said when poor children may have low self-control, children’s learning attitudes may be influenced by their poor families and bad risky environments. Therefore, our children may have a bad educational attitude based on external factors. Suddenly, we recognize that we should learn understanding above all to become a good teacher.

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DEPDC has had many teachers this term, from our new international volunteers to all of our International Student Volunteers, and all have learned just as much from our students as they have taught. All of our teaching here at DEPDC is about more than just teaching a subject, it is about teaching our children to understand, and in turn, learning to understand ourselves.

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