Another term has passed by and HDS's students left into their holidays on 13 March. That also means that during the time of the holidays the Lunch Program gets a break as well. It will resume on 11 May when the new term at HDS starts and again provide a healthy lunch for all our students.
Please note that funds given to DEPDC via this GlobalGiving project are exclusively used for the daily purchase of fresh, local ingredients to make healthy vegetarian lunches for our students. The two described projects below are funded from other sources.
The time of the holidays will be used to finish a new water well that DEPDC has started to build in early March and to start planning a refurbishment of the Lunch Program's kitchen and refectory.
DEPDC started to build a new water well on its compound starting in early March to secure the water supply during the dry season. The old water well on the compound usually fell dry during late dry season and DEPDC was dependent on water supply from the public water system. When the water well this year fell dry as early as February, it was time to take action.
The groundwater under DEPDC's compound lies as deep as 10m. Within three days construction workers dug the new well by hand and reached the water level at a depth of 7m. After a sufficient depth was reached a concrete ring casing was installed.
During the next month the new well will be equipped with a pump and be connected with the water systems of our school building, our kitchen and refectory building, and the Lunch Program's fields.
The year around water supply will enable DEPDC to supplement the Lunch Program with homegrown organic vegetables during all seasons of the year and help us to provide a healthy lunch to our students.
The second project that is planned for this summer, is a refurbishment of DEPDC's kitchen and refectory. Nearly twenty years after being build, the building requires major restoration. It is planned to repaint the building, to fix the water system permanently, to overhaul the electric system, and to replace the kitchen equipment.
This is necessary to maintain safety and hygiene for our students and to keep the quality of the Lunch Program at its current level.
We hope that our students will have a happy holiday and we will resume to provide them with a healthy lunch every day again as soon as the new term starts.
Finally, DEPDC and its students would like to thank everybody for their generous donations that helped us so much to provide healthy food to our students.
The midyear break passed by and school restarted in November. The Half Day School's (HDS) Lunch Program (LP) also restarted to provide a healthy and nutritious meal for all of the students who may not be able to receive such meals at home.
Many students are not able to have a proper breakfast in the morning, and some come to school without having eaten breakfast at all. A Student complaining that he or she is hungry in the late morning is common, and they are really looking forward for their first meal of the day. Lunch is served at two different times. It is served at 11:30 for the younger students and at noon for the older students.
The LP costs approximately 10$ per student per month to pay for lunch throughout the school month. Additionally, the LP provides the students with fresh fruits and snacks during the afternoon.
HDS has its own school garden to grow vegetables and fruits on the school compound to cut the costs for vegetables and fruits. All farming done in the school's garden is following organic farming principles to provide high quality vegetables. The fields are mainly maintained by the teachers of HDS, but are also used to give the children the chance to have a small patch of land for themselves where they can grow whatever they like. Teacher Pawina teaches the students how to grow vegetables. She instructs them how to sow, manure, control pests, and how to harvest their vegetables.
At the moment, teachers and students of HDS are growing banana, papaya, corn, water spinach, garlic, yardlong beans, kale, cucumber, climbing wattle, peas, chili peppers, gac fruits, and tomatoes.
Knowledge about growing vegetables and fruits is a valuable skill for the children. They can use their knowledge to supplement the diet of their family by growing crops in their own gardens and pass their agricultural knowledge forward to relatives and friends. The usage of organic farming principles reduces cost by replacing chemical pesticides and fertilizers by natural ones.
We would like to thank everybody for their help and generosity given, thus allowing the Lunch Program to provide all of our students with at least one proper meal a day. The money donated insures the permanent provision of a nutritious meal to our students and enables them to learn new skills for their future.
The first half of the Half Day School year is set to end in the second week of October after term exams are completed. The children have a holiday for the rest of the month, and then school resumes again in November. When the second term begins, the Half Day School (HDS) Lunch Program will also resume, and students will again be provided with healthy daily meals. Oftentimes, our Half Day School students do not eat three nutritious meals a day and suffer from malnutrition, which adversely affects their ability to learn.
The problem of malnutrition caused by poverty and lack of awareness about nutrition is especially prevalent in this region. We at DEPDC thus continue our efforts in order to help combat and wipe out malnutrition in the community. The HDS Lunch Programprovides the students every day with a lunch that includes all of the nutrients that a child needs to grow and develop.
Every day of the school week, the Half Day School teachers take turns to prepare lunch for the children, with an alternating group of students present to help and learn. Here is a look at a typical day:
On Tuesday, 9th of September, our teacher Ming, a Thai youth volunteer Mai Phai, and three Half Day School students shared in preparation of lunch for the all HDS students that day.
In the early morning, the ingredients for Phad Phak Ruam (fried mixed vegetables) were bought fresh at the local market in Mae Sai. After morning classes began, the small group of teachers and students began to prepare the lunch.
The ingredients of Phad Phak Ruam included cornlettes, bell peppers, cauliflower, napa cabbage, carrots, mu-err mushrooms, tofu, chilies, garlic, vegetable bouillon, sugar, thin soy sauce, mushroom soy sauce, and salt.
The preparation of all the vegetables took a long time, because each vegetable needed to be cleaned and chopped into small pieces. After all ingredients were prepared, the vegetables were fried in a huge pan and seasoned to taste.
The benefits of our Lunch Program reach many different levels. Every day, a teacher organizes the lunch preparation. The children learn how to make many different dishes, and they learn about traditional foods from different ethnic groups. Finally, the children can eat a healthy meal, giving them the energy they need to succeed in school!
Huaifong, a recent graduate of the Half Day School and current youth volunteer at DEPDC, commented on the lunch program: “The lunch program is very important for some children from very poor families. They have a chance to have one proper meal a day, and if there is food left after lunch, they are allowed to take it home.” She thinks that: “Cooking foods under supervision of a teacher is a good opportunity to learn about the different kinds of foods and their preparation. Learning to cook healthy food is a valuable skill for future life.”
At the Half Day School, the teachers and staff understand that proper nutrition is key to physical health and positive educational outcomes. The Lunch Program was created to provide students with a healthful and nutritious meal every school day. This meal is often the sole form of nourishment that students will receive all day. Approximately 25 of the 100 Half Day School students are reliant solely on the lunch program for their food. Last school year, 21 students could not bring their own rice to have with the dishes provided by the school.
The head of the Lunch Program, Teacher Ming, is especially attuned to the situations that many of the students face as a former Half Day School student herself. Ming is now 25 years old, but remembers well her childhood and time as a student. Here is her story.
Ming had to move in with her aunt when she was seven. Shortly after, she came to the Half Day School as a student. She was stateless (without official identity papers), which greatly limited her educational opportunities. Ming was unable to go to a government school and the Half Day School program gave her the ability to pursue an education. The Lunch Program is very close to her heart, because she benefitted from the program when she was a student there.
Ming was able to bring rice from home to have for lunch, but she relied on food from the school’s Lunch Program. Ming completed Grade 5 - the top grade at that time - and then, at age 14, began leadership training through the Mekong Youth Leadership Training Program for one year. After completing the leadership training, she did vocational training for 3 months at the Mekong Regional Indigenous Child Rights Home (MRICRH), our program in Mae Chan District. Ming then worked for our organization's Child Help Line project for one and a half years, where she saw many sad cases. She then worked for our Child Voice Radio program, to deejay programs and train Half Day School students.
Ming has been an Half Day School teacher now for 3 years and she loves teaching. She says that the students are curious to learn, the way that she was at their age. She knows that they need to learn academic subjects, but believes that it is equally important for them to learn life skills that will protect them from trafficking and labor abuses. Ming notes especially that the Lunch Program is key to achieving these goals. The nourishment that the food provides improves the childrens’ abilities to focus on their academic subjects. The vocational training that the lunch program provides through its cooking and agricultural aspects increases students responsibility, self-sufficiency, and life skills through hands-on training.
We sincerely thank those who have donated to the program so far. Please help us reach our goal!
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!
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Director of Mae Sai Projects