DEPDC

DEPDC is a non-governmental, non-profit community-based organization that provides education and full-time accommodation to children in prevention and protection of being trafficked into the commercial sex industry and other exploitative labor conditions.
Aug 5, 2014

Safe Shelter & Education Program_August 2014 Update

Team-building Activities at the Girls Shelter
Team-building Activities at the Girls Shelter

Since our last report in May 2014, life in Northern Thailand goes on with the Southeast Asian monsoon season bringing rain nearly every day. The 15 girls of the safe shelter are back to school and the director of the project in Chiang Khong, Ms. Puangthong Takan, recently received a visit from three International Volunteers who work at the DEPDC / GMS Mae Sai site to explain the main human trafficking issues and processes in the region. So, this an occasion to give further explanation about our organization's effort to fight against child trafficking in the region, which is not limited to this safe shelter project.

The location of this safe shelter for vulnerable ethnic minority girls was chosen strategically. International border areas are often critical areas for all kinds of trafficking. The Thai – Lao border is especially sensitive for human trafficking, because of the difference of economies between Thailand and Laos and because of the ease to cross the Mekong River which separates the two countries.

The recent increase in Thailand's national minimum wage to 300 baht (about 10 USD) per day has led to an increase in the recruitment of cheaper labour from Laos, since most businesses cannot afford to pay local (Thai) labourers at this rate. Furthermore, this region is not as developed as other parts of Thailand. It is mainly rural and many different ethnic groups live there, such as Thai Yuan, Leu, Lao, Kamu, Yao, Lahu, Mong, Chinese Hor, and Akha.

The Chiang Khong safe shelter is home to 15 girls, who are at very high risk of being forced or lured to into exploitative work, especially the commercial sex industry. This solution is envisaged when a girl’s environment (family or caretakers) is unsafe for her. The protection project provides them with a safe place to live and grow, an opportunity to study in public school (scholarship, uniform, educational supplies…), healthcare, food, and an on-going variety of vocational and life-skills trainings.

The work of this project is not limited to shelter protection of the 15 girls, however. Despite its limited capacity to host these children at risk, project staff also oversee a wide range of field research and intervention work. They first identify the children who are most at risk of being trafficked in poor, vulnerable villages and then conduct prevention work through awareness-raising workshops directly to their communities. There is also provision of financial assistance to vulnerable non-resident children to cover their school fees, because the project's mission aims to provide access to education as the first critical step in the prevention of child trafficking.

The Chiang Khong protection project is also the origin of an efficient prevention and protection network that involves governmental and non-governmental organisations, schools, health and social services, and concerned village residents. The network collaborates with the children's families and communities on many issues related to human trafficking such as HIV/AIDS prevention and care, drug addiction awareness and treatment, statelessness, child and labour rights, and child abuse prevention.

We would like to thank you so kindly for your help and generosity, which allows the safe shelter protection project to have a deep, long-term. and responsible impact at all stages of the child trafficking prevention process.

A Successful Life Skills Camp
A Successful Life Skills Camp
Safety and Friendship at the Shelter Home
Safety and Friendship at the Shelter Home

Links:

Jul 25, 2014

Interview with Nin!

Nin at a CLC Dinner
Nin at a CLC Dinner

For this report, we are pleased to highlight one of our most dedicated and diligent Community Learning Center upper-level English language students. Nin has been studying English for the past 6 years. Although she has not always been able to come regularly, she is very dedicated to learning English. She aspires to own her own business and believes that gaining fluency in English will help her achieve that goal.

Although Nin grew up in Patek Village and was always aware of DEPDC/GMS and its variety of programs, she became aware of the CLC English classes after participating in the DEPDC/GMS Border Youth Leadership Training Program. Through the program, she lived one year at the Mae Sai center and assisted the organization's Director of Administration with administrative tasks. During this time, she learned about administration, was involved with other DEPDC/GMS projects. Nin worked for the Child Voice Radio project and taught Thai language at the Half Day School. This also gave her the opportunity to work with international volunteers at DEPDC/GMS whom she spoke English with.

After the Training Program, Nin was inspired to continue her English language studies through the Community Learning Center program. She credits her English level as helping her towards achieving her goals. Nin was able to get a position as a barista at an upscale coffee shop where she interacted with English speaking tourists regularly. She is starting university in Chiang Rai next month and we wish her the best! 

Nin says, “I love CLC because I love learning. I have so much fun playing games and practicing my conversational skills."



Nin with some of her CLC classmates
Nin with some of her CLC classmates
Jul 16, 2014

Programs That Make a Difference- A Visitor's Views

Children practice Thai language in the morning
Children practice Thai language in the morning

The following is a postcard from Charissa Murphy, GlobalGiving's In-the-Field Representative in Southeast Asia, about her recent visit to DEP-DC in Thailand.

Approaching DEP-DC's campus in Mae Sai in northern Thailand, I saw a collection of children with workbooks and engaged questions filling the outdoor classroom area. Although they were on their school's break after the end of the school year, the children and the teacher were studying together for extra help on their Thai language skills. The age ranges of the children varied, and each child had a language workbook suitable to his or her specific language level. I was captured by how engaged they were in practicing, collaborating, and asking the teacher questions when they needed it. It was clear from the beginning of my visit how dedicated DEP-DC is to supporting these children, allowing them opportunities for not only language development, but also for personal empowerment to feel confident in asking questions and understanding the value of education.

Since its beginning 25 years ago, supporting children and communities who are at-risk for human trafficking, DEP-DC has grown into an organization that not only provides support to the children and families in the surrounding community, but also to groups and organizations who want to learn from its strong model of programming. The staff shared that they host visitors often who are eager to learn from them, which has also allowed the organization to grow strong relationships with other support organizations in Thailand.

During my visit, I toured the Half-Day school, which really is a full day school with educational, as well as life skills and personal development teachings. I also saw the community learning facilities where they run programs for the entire community, including Thai literacy courses, English as a Foreign Language courses, and vocational trainings. Due to funding limitations, some of these courses have temporarily stopped unfortunately.

One of the volunteers, Matt, has been working with DEP-DC now for over 8 months, and he plans to be there for about a year in total. His enthusiasm for the organization was contagiously inspiring, and he hopes to return there for his research studies or after he finishes his university studies. Matt enthusiastically shared his experience working with the children at the Mekong Regional Indigenous Child Rights Home, which currently houses eight children, providing them opportunities for rehabilitation, reintegration into society, and educational and skills training. I could almost feel him glowing from across the room as he shared some of the agricultural and training experiences the children share daily!

Though it was extremely motivating to hear about the many programs that it currently runs, it was disappointing to hear that it has stopped various programming due to lack of funding that supported the children and community in more non-traditional teachings. One such program is its Child Voice Radio, which helped the children learn about reporting, journalism, developing research and sharing it to an audience, and overall confidence and practical writing and speaking development.

As I left and smiled and waved my farewells to the students who were still at the school, I felt really thankful to meet an organization that is not only dedicated to its beneficiaries, but that also has developed programs that truly make a difference here.

Upcoming Event on GlobalGiving - TODAY, this Wednesday, July 16th, is a Bonus matching day!:

Today, July 16th (Wednesday), beginning at 9AM EDT, GlobalGiving will match 50% of any donations (of up to $1,000 from any individual donor) to DEP-DC. There are $130,000 in total funds available for matching today for all of GlobalGiving’s partners. To ensure your donation is matched before the funds run out, please consider donating early today shortly after 9AM.

I want to thank DEP-DC for allowing me to visit!

each student had a workbook based on his/her level
each student had a workbook based on his/her level
students practice Thai language together in the AM
students practice Thai language together in the AM
empty class hallways b/c exams recently finished
empty class hallways b/c exams recently finished
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