Jacqueline Lee is an InTheField Traveler with GlobalGiving who is visiting our partners’ projects throughout Southeast Asia. Her “Postcard” from the visit in Thailand:
GlobalGiving and donors have helped DEPDC fund many projects like a clean water source for the center and the education building that provides a free school in the day and a community-learning center in the evenings. Additionally, funds have helped provide education grants to send Burmese children to school, provided a computer classroom, is currently fundraising to send 200 at risk children to school, and offering community learning center classes including English and business training.
Once within the facilities – I was greeted with children playing and bright colored buildings. At the front of the main building, immediately I saw a big sign over a door thanking GlobalGiving for the computer lab. I was then guided on a tour of the DEPDC education building. First I saw Child Voice Radio – a DJ training facility where students can learn how to DJ a radio station and speak on issues. Then we went over to the broadcasting area – complete with stage, couches, and lighting as if ready for a talk show. Here DEPDC creates YouTube videos and provides opportunities for students to create alongside as well. Among these vocational training opportunities students can learn agriculture, weaving, and even intern through a youth leadership program. This is part of the Half Day Program where students receive formal education for half the day and vocational training of their choice the other half.
During my tour, I witnessed students in class, learning everything from math to teamwork and trust. One of the classes for the older students occurred only on Fridays and focused on peace, self-confidence, and Thai culture. DEPDC provides a completely free education as opposed to the local Thai schools that are “free” but require students to pay for uniforms and books, which many families cannot afford. DEPDC also offers the opportunity for students who start kindergarten at 12 years old (because they could not attend before for many various reason) to learn at their level, comfort, and ability. In addition to supporting youth in the day, these facilities host evening, community courses open to all community members.
What is the impact? A majority of DEPDC students have no documentation or identification, are migrants that face poverty and discrimination, are unprotected and targeted by traffickers, and unaware of trafficking dangers. Now over 4000 children have been helped by DEPDC and provided an educational opportunity, vocational training, and self-empowerment to make informed decisions when facing dangers of poverty and trafficking.
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Director of Mae Sai Projects