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.
Apr 28, 2014

April 2014 CLC Update

Some of our CLC students with birthday cakes !
Some of our CLC students with birthday cakes !

Since our last report in January, Community Learning Centre (CLC) classes have been going really well at our Mae Sai centre. Our two current CLC teachers for intermediate English classes, Eléa and Genevieve, were happy to welcome new students to their classes! Having a new student in class is always a reward for our teachers, since the classes are mostly advertised by word of mouth.  Eléa, from France and who lived in the United Kingdom for 5 years, says: ‘A new student in class means that our students have talked to their friends about our English lessons and have convinced them to study as well.  For us, it is great feedback and proof that our students have a positive experience with their CLC classes. I am always excited to get to know a new student in class and have fun together.’ 

Community Learning Centre classes are also currently taught by Genevieve, who is from the United States. Genevieve has been teaching for a month and has already developed a close relationship with her students. Last month, she turned 22 and we all celebrated her birthday together. The students brought her two birthday cakes that were shared and thoroughly enjoyed.

Some students of our intermediate English classes have been coming to the Community Learning Centre for a long time. Seoul, 17, is a student who has been coming to CLC classes for over a year and a half.  He says: ‘I really enjoy my classes because it isn’t just a class, it also feels like family. The atmosphere here is friendly and there is no pressure to fail. We can all exchange knowledge and ideas. I come to CLC classes to improve my English skills and to gain confidence to speak.  My English has improved a lot.’

Another Community Learning Centre student, Pam, who is 16, has been coming to CLC classes for 4 years. Pam says: ‘I like this class because our teachers like to play games to teach us English. I think CLC classes are useful for everyone now and in the future, because we use English regularly and it is important for everyone to speak the language a little bit.’

Our students come from various schools around Mae Sai and also have different nationalities and backgrounds. The CLC ‘open door’ policy means that our classes are open to anyone in the community and that no one is ever turned away. Students come to class to learn more vocabulary and grammar in order to enter highly-rated universities or simply to have a bit of fun in class.

Thanks to the generosity and support of Global Giving donors, all other Community Learning Centre classes (Thai, Burmese, and Computer classes) are taught every week and provide a fantastic opportunity for members of a community in need.  CLC provides free literacy and human rights education to members of ethnic minority hill tribes, undocumented migrants, Buddhist monks, and other community members living along the Thai-Burmese border.

On behalf of our teachers, volunteers, and students, we would like to humbly thank you for your support which helps maintain this important project. We invite you to visit the DEPDC blog to read recent updates and information about the Community Learning Centre and other DEPDC projects.

Finally, we would like to wish you a very happy Thai New Year from all of us here at DEPDC!

Thank you so much!

Links:

Mar 24, 2014

HDS Lunch Program Update

Watering time!
Watering time!

 

At DEPDC/GMS we believe that nourishment and physical health is essential to optimal learning. The HDS lunch program was created so that students would be provided with at least one healthful and nutritious meal every school day. The unfortunate reality for many HDS students is that the school lunch will be the only nourishment that they will have all day. This is true for approximately 25% of HDS students. This program also Two programs within the lunch program that have been particularly impactful are the agricultural and cooking training.

The cooking program increases students responsibility, self-sufficiency, and life skills through hands-on training. Students are given the opportunity to share their skills from home with their peers as well as expand their own skillsets. Although many students already have basic cooking skills, these skills are sharpened and built upon. Through the agricultural program students are taught about the growing seasons, which vegetables are the most nutrient dense, and other horticultural skills.

One student that has been particularly affected by our lunch program is Aran. Aran (15 y/o) is in many ways a typical teenage boy. He loves to play sports and often will make jokes in class. He is described by his teachers as a conscientious student with a gregarious personality. Unfortunately, Aran has many responsibilities and burdens that a typical Thai boy may not share. Aran is Akha, his family lives in the Jong village by a Lychee Plantation. His family works very hard but they cannot grow all of the food that they need. They are able to make a small profit from corn and tobacco which covers few of their minimal living expenses. The lunch program has been a huge help to Aran and his family. Through the program Aran has been able to get at least one nutritious meal a day, learned many new skills, and best of all has been able to take home some of the produce that he grows in the garden! He says that his favorite vegetables to grow are onions and lettuce and that it makes him happy to work in the garden before and after school.


We thank those who have donated so far to the program!

Feb 28, 2014

Half Day School Update February 2014

The Half Day School (HDS) has continued smoothly since our last project report. The school has been abuzz with fun, laughter and learning thanks to generous people like you who help us to provide the children with the critical things they need to attend school. In addition to the always important basic necessities for students, your contributions have helped to provide good food, clean water and a safe place for children to be, learn, develop and spend time with friends. Below are some recent events that the Half Day School students have been involved in, some ongoing activities in which they continue to participate, and some upcoming events and activities we are looking forward to.

In November, the children celebrated the famous Loi Krathong Festival. About 100 students worked together to make the famous ‘krathongs’ which they float gently down rivers to celebrate Thai and Buddhist history and pay respect to their beliefs. It was a great bonding time during which the students had lots of fun and felt a sense of connection with each other and with the broader society celebrating alongside them. For children from vulnerable and often marginalised communities, this kind of event empowers them and lets them feel a sense of community that is important for people’s core well-being.

On the 10th of January, more than 100 children at the Half Day School spent Children’s Day, ‘Wan Dek’, playing games, winning awards and having fun with friends, Thai staff, and International Volunteers. Everyone brought something which they could give to someone else so that everyone received a present on the day, and if any children couldn’t afford to bring something, the Half Day School staff made sure they were given something which they could use as their own gift to give. With a speech about children’s rights, empowerment and futures from our founder, Khun Sompop, to close the day’s activities, the children received and left with a deep sense of belonging, self-worth and gratitude, which is DEPDC’s aim to provide.

Likewise, Sports Day on February 7 gave more than 100 children the opportunity to compete, exercise and have fun with friends and go home with full stomachs and big smiles. And lastly, on February 14, which was a Buddhist holiday called ‘Wan Makha Bucha’, HDS teachers led a study tour to the Opium Hall in Chiang Saen, the Golden Triangle, and two different Buddhist sites to learn about Buddhist, Thai and Greater Mekong Subregion histories. The students learned about the dangers of the Golden Triangle, crime, drugs and ways they can remain safe, all the while enjoying themselves. The children love these occasions and we love hosting them, so we must thank our generous supporters for helping us to continue to provide the students with events and activities such as these.

Other activities at the Half Day School have remained very much normal. Classes and the vocational and life-skills training continue to help the students develop their skills and build towards safe and self-sufficient futures. The Little DJ programme that trained the children about how to use radio for outreach and as a platform for them to communicate with others and to express themselves also continues, as does the agriculture programme that becomes more impressive every day and continues to teach growing numbers of children about sustainable, self-sufficient techniques to meet their basic needs.

We are currently on the verge of final exams for the 2013/14 school year and the graduation of our oldest class of students at the Half Day School ahead of our summer break. It is an exciting time and, although it is always sad to say goodbye to our sons and daughters, we are extremely proud that they have successfully completed the programme and will take their skills on into the future. And as they continue to create lives for themselves, they will always have a home at the Half Day School if they want to come and help teach children the way that they were once taught themselves. Besides that, we look forward to summer break activities at the centre, welcoming back students when the new school year begins, and adding new members to the family when new students arrive through our gates.

Thank you so much to everyone who has made and continues to make it possible for the Half Day School to do what it does. With support from you and others like you, our programmes will continue to make important differences in the lives of vulnerable, underprivileged children and to give them futures of which they might otherwise never have even dreamed.

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