Wow - what a journey this has been! Years ago we had the vision to build a second classroom on our property in Northern Thailand. We are SO thrilled that we can now officially announce that it is complete.
The Resource Center in Northern Thailand acts as The SOLD Project's Thailand headquarters, offering office space to our dozen Thai National staff as well as acting as a community center and after school program to the community. As SOLD has continued to expand - giving scholarships to more students, developing programs through our sustainability project to reach the community, and organizing community prevention awareness campaigns, the Resource Center is a catch-all for these programs and much more. The need for this second classroom has been great - especially since we've outgrown our first classroom.
The second classroom offers a large and inviting space for our staff to work, a bright and well lit classroom for students to learn in, a computer lab, and a private counseling room with a separate entrance to ensure privacy when families want to meet with our counselors. The first classroom is still thriving as well - the top floor has been converted to a guest house to provide housing to volunteers and visitors. The downstairs has been converted to a library and is where our after school program manager hosts art activities, tutoring, and much more.
This new space has provided a new energy and monentum to our staff, students, and the community at large. We are so incredibly grateful to all of our donors for their generous support. I want to give a special thank you to LUSH Cosmetics and Cultural Care Foundation for providing generous grants as well as to the key individuals (you know who you are) for giving so self sacrifically to support it's completion.
From the bottom of our hearts - thank you. Our next project will be to fundraise for new computers for our computer lab to outfit the new room!
We are so excited to be settling in to the new classroom and are already wondering how we ever handled operations and activities at the Resource Center before it! We have furnished the new office for our expanding staff with new desks that are created to withstand the humid temperatures of Thailand, a large meeting table made by a local villager and recycled from a tree, and storage space to organize student profiles, receipts, etc. The new classroom is also being put to use - fans were recently purchased to keep it cool and a large whiteboard is a much needed new addition. The few working computers have been moved over to the space designated for a computer lab, and fundraising for new computers will be our next endeavor! On the back of the building is a private entrance to a counseling room, where our Prevention Program Director meets with our students and their families on a regular basis.
We are so close to completion: the only things left to purchase are air conditioning units and a few new printers. Each air conditioning unit will be high powered to be able to cool the large rooms and costs roughly $1,500 a piece. We'll be putting one in the office, counseling room, computer lab and classroom. This will be extremely helpful during hot season, when students and staff are unable to work because of the sweltering heat. The AC will allow for a respite from the heat, encouraging productivity, focus and attendance (since it's so hard to find a place to cool down!).
Thank you so much to everyone who has given to support the building of this new space! We are so thrilled to not only have an office that actually fits all of our staff but also to have a designated space for classes, freeing up the (old) classroom to be used as a Library and creative arts center.
We are so appreciative!
We are SO very excited to announce that the second classroom is OFFICIALLY done with construction! In the last three months we have installed windows, doors, bathrooms, ceilings and completed the staircase. Now all we have left to do is furnish it. This includes the air conditioning units (which will be a huge boost in productivity during the 110 degree weather days), and furnishings for the office and classrooms.
We are thankful to have finished construction just before the rainy season kicked in, and for the extra cover for our students and staff to stay dry during these months. Our staff have moved a few pieces of furniture over from the current (and much too small) office to be able to function in the new space. Our weekend volunteers and after school program manager have begun utilizing the new classroom but are still in need of furnishings to make it fully functional.
The remaining amount to be raised will be applied towards the air conditioning units as well as furnishings. We're hoping to hire a local carpenter to construct tables and desks from wood, will purchase chairs for both the office and classroom, white boards, classroom supplies, etc. If we have any extra funds, they will be applied towards building out the 'first classroom' which will be converted into a library.
One of the rooms which is difficult to photograph and has yet to be mentioned is a small room with a separate entrance on the back side of the building to be used for counseling. This came as a suggestion from our prevention program director, who identified a need for a private room with a subtle entrance to meet with students and their families. We're especially grateful for her foresight to be able to incorporate this into the structure and it will be one of the first rooms to be furnished since it's such an urgent need.
We are so thrilled that the building itself is done and are looking forward to outfitting it to create a stimulating and inspirational environment for both our students and staff.
Thank you so much for all of your support!
Since our last report three months ago we have made so much progress! The second classroom is nearing completion with last minute touches being made to the building. We will then be in our final step: furnishing it!
We are thankful for the strong infrastructure of this building. Earlier this week, Chiang Rai experienced a 6.2 earthquake. Thanks to your donations we were able to build an earthquake safe foundation and the Resource Center (this second classroom included) saw very minimal damage. Only a couple of shingles broke. You may remember that early on in the Second Classroom campaign we set our budget higher to be able to absorb the cost increase of earthquake proofing the facility. Thank you for standing with us in that decision - we are thankful to be able to provide a safe office to our staff, classroom to our students, and place of refuge in times of need.
With our upcoming parent meeting this Saturday, we look forward to sharing with the entire SOLD community the progress that's been made on it! The upstairs has been designed as an office space for our eight staff (insulated and air conditioned for the extreme heat that Northen Thailand experiences) as well as a conference and private meeting room for counseling services and private meetings with students/parents. The downstairs is designed as a classroom for our students to participate in after school programs and educational classes. The original (first) classroom will then be converted in to a library.
Thank you so much for all of your support!
We made so much financial progress toward our goal at the end of 2013 and beginning of 2014! Thanks to grants from Cultural Care Au Pair, LUSH Cosmetics, and all of your individual contributions we have nearly reached our target. Not to mention that because of your support, we've been able to make some serious headway on the classroom progress. We've finished the bottom level walls and are working on the second level. Once those are complete, we'll begin to work on the roof!
We've been saying all along how needed this second classroom is. So much so that we're already using the first level of this building! We recently hosted an art camp with 20 volunteers and 75 students in the shade of the first level of this new classroom (see photo attached). Our staff are also very excited to each have a desk (currently eight staff are sharing two desks and a couch) in their new second level office!
Thank you so much for each contributing to this much needed classroom (and office!) and helping to make it a reality. We are very grateful!
Rachel Goble & The SOLD Project Team
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