DEPDC/GMS operates in areas of Thailand where children are most at risk of being trafficked and exploited. Its strategies for protecting children from trafficking mainly include prevention through education, life-skills and vocational training. Additionally, it provides protection and rehabilitation for rescued and escaped victims of trafficking and exploitation. On top of individual development, helping children understand their rights and building the children’s sense of self-worth, DEPDC/GMS also works on family and community development in order to create an environment in which child exploitation does not occur.
One essential aspect of the work conducted at DEPDC/GMS’ is the Half Day School Lunch Program, which was implemented to provide all of its students with at least one meal during the day; so the children can be healthy and strong in order to focus on their education. Unfortunately, some of the students are not lucky enough to have breakfast in the mornings and dinner during the evening. In approximately 25% of cases, this makes the lunch provided by the Half Day School their main source of nourishment.
The day starts early to make sure that the program runs smoothly, in order to provide lunch for all of the 106 students at the Patek Half Day School. A typical day has a schedule similar to the one below:
06:30 – 07:30 The teacher in charge makes their way to the market to purchase the fresh vegetables, tofu, eggs and vegan substitutes which are required for the day.
08:00 – 09:00 Produce arrives at the school and three students (different each day of the week) help unload the groceries and take them to the kitchen. All of the cooking equipment is then cleaned and the vegetables are washed, sorted and cut, in preparation for cooking.
10:00 – 10:30 Cooking starts for all of the students at the school.
11:30 – 12:00 The kindergarten students eat lunch.
12:00 – 12:30 The rest of the students at the school eat.
12:30 – 13:00 Three students (different from those who helped prepare and cook in the morning) clean the dishes and kitchen, ready for use the next day.
Each day of the week is led by a different teacher, to provide the kids with a variety of cooking hints, tips, and styles. The dishes the students cook are as varied as their backgrounds (97% of the students coming from ethnic minorities). However, the favorites include: or a type of noodle salad dish, or fried vegetables and a kind of mild curry soup.
Another project conducted as part of the Lunch program is a small agriculture site. This project was designed to help supplement the food requirements of the program, which can cost upwards of 10,500 (approximately $320 US) per month; solely on the core ingredients of rice, seasonings and gas for the stoves.
The students are heavily involved in the cultivation and in the daily maintenance of the garden. Activities such as seeding, fertilization, watering and harvesting the crops, all the way through to the preparation of food for the school, helps provide the students with a sense of ownership and empowerment which they may not otherwise receive.
This garden contains crops which have been chosen by the students to include a variety of organically grown vegetables, such as: lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, and chilies. Currently, 80% of the garden is earmarked for the poorer children to take away and have as meals later in the evening or for their families to sell on the market stalls to supplement their earnings. The remaining 20% of the crops are for the use of the lunch program which helps reduce the overall costs encountered by DEPDC/GMS.
We thank those who have donated so far to the program and here is a breakdown of how your donations will help the studnets:
$10 Will provide lunch, for one student, for a whole month.
$16 Will provide lunch, for two students, for a whole month.
$35 Will provide fresh fruit, for every child, for three days out of the week.
$230 Will provide the ingredients needed for every student’s lunch, for one week.
$920 Will provide the ingredients needed for every student’s lunch, for one month.
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Director of Mae Sai Projects