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.
Dec 30, 2015

Semester 2 progress and achievements at HDS

A lot of exciting things have happened at Half Day School (HDS) since our last report. Our crops have been harvested to support the lunch program, Carol House has been refurbished to prepare for a new community development program, and the kids have been studying hard and welcomed two more English teachers to the centre – one new and one old. We’d like to let you know more about them all and what they mean for HDS and the children it takes care of.

In the last report, we told you that HDS’s rice fields had been cultivated with the help of the kids. We waited 4 months for the rice to grow, and in November we successfully harvested 300kg of rice. This rice will support HDS’s lunch program by providing meals for the kids, and will also provide a great opportunity for the kids to develop life skills that will help them live safe, independent lives in the future. Importantly, this achievement also builds on HDS’s ability to be self-sustaining. This is especially critical since, although we are deeply grateful for everyone’s generous support, we know that we can’t be overly dependent on outside support, and want to use people’s generosity to build for the future as well as maintain for the present.

The kids have been working really hard in their classes, and have welcomed 2 new English teachers to HDS in the last month. They’ve started giving the kids weekly pop quizzes, and although the kids weren’t ecstatic about the idea at first, they’ve done extremely well so far, with lots of scores in the 90s and not a single fail! The kids have also been doing a pen pal project, coordinated by one of the new volunteers, and have been sending letters with people from Australia, the US, Mexico, Panama and England. Everyone has really enjoyed the experience, especially the kids, many of whom have never had the chance to speak with anyone so far away before. One girl, using very polite Thai language to convey respect and indicate that they think of their pen pal as their older brother, even said that they “think about and miss [their pen pal] a lot between receiving and sending letters each week, and really love that [their pen pal] speaks about real things and tells them about themselves.”

With Christmas already past this week and New Year’s Eve almost upon us, the kids and the centre are preparing for a short break during which everyone will spend time with their families. We’ll all be back into the swing of things at HDS on Monday the 4th of January, and we’re looking forward to what the next year has in store. We know that there remains a lot of work to do, and we’re more grateful to our supporters than we can fully describe, but we here at HDS feel very optimistic about the future and hope you’ll be with us to take it on together. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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Dec 28, 2015

It's getting cold here, but we're still enjoying life - an update from our volunteer Linn

It gets cold in Thailand, too. As we speak, I am wearing woolen underwear, a thick sweater and a scarf while sitting inside. We don’t have the luxury of heaters inside, thus 15 degrees Celsius feels really cold. The children dread taking their daily showers, as I fully understand. You can imagine how cold it is after a cold shower, with no possibility to warm up again. That might also be one of the reasons why they like to sleep close to each other. This way, they keep each other warm.

Even though they would skip the showers if they could, they come running to me afterwards, smiling from ear to ear. The bad part is out of the way, it’s time to concentrate on what’s good! They have a place to stay, they have food and they have people who care surrounding them. And this is so crucial. All children need to feel loved, but these children might have a greater need than others. That’s one of the main reasons working with these kids is so rewarding. The little you give, you get back ten fold.

Lately, the older girls have been visiting me in the evenings. Mainly because they want to listen to some music, like most teenagers do, but also because it is a little bit warmer at my place than in the shelter. Even the younger, active kids are cold nowadays. The plan is to renew the shelter soon, making it more livable there. Through the donations given so far, it seems like we will soon be able to start the work. This is something that is highly appreciated by all the users of the shelter.

Just before Christmas, we watched some Christmas movies together. One of the children asked me if Santa is real, and I honestly didn’t know what to answer. To let children live with their fantasies is one thing, but this fantasy is just cruel to children that rarely get any presents at all. Luckily, one of our private donors sent us money to support the children’s spare time activities and we decided to buy them some personal gifts.

Your generosity has made all of this possible. To all of the supporters of the Mae Chan sites and DEPDC/GMS, thank you so much for your kind attention and generosity. We are forever grateful for all your help and hope you will continue following us.

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Dec 28, 2015

Merry Christmas and Thank you for funding HDS's irrigation system

Merry Christmas to everybody! We would like to thank everybody who supported us in funding a new irrigation system for DEPDC's Half Day School's (HDS) rice field. In June 2015we started the rice growing project by ploughing the field and shaping the single ponds. For the four months from July to November the rice grew in the fields. By mid-November we harvested the rice with the help of all our students and staff at DEPDC's Mae Sai site. Now our first season's rice harvest is over and it's time for its conclusion.

 

  • We harvested an overall amount of about 10 bags of unhusked rice. That's about 300kg.

  • Considering 600-800g of edible rice per 1kg of unhusked rice, we expect an overall harvest of about 180-240kg of edible rice.

  • We suffered major losses from grubs eating the pith of the rice plants, causing them to die.

  • Spraying herbal pest repellent stops the grubs from damaging the rice plants, but needs to be applied immediately.

  • Another risk for the harvest are birds eating the grain shortly before reaping. For which we have some solutions but are still developing better ones.

 

The overall harvest was a bit lower than hoped and expected, but we are optimistic that we learned from this season's mistakes and are able to improve the results during the next growing season.

For the upcoming cold and dry season the rice fields will be used to grow vegetables, because of the lower need of water. During that time we will build the irrigation system and hope that the next rice growing season will be more successful.

DEPDC's staff, volunteers, and especially the students would like to thank everybody who helped us to fund this project. THANK YOU!!!

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