Putting the finishing touches to a krathong
As 2012 draws to a close, we want to share some of our recent achievements and news. Successfully passing the Global Giving Challenge in September was one highlight and we’re delighted to report that we’ve been working on a number of activities using those funds. Our focus is on making the school more sustainable in the future and at the same time, developing the skills of our girls.
We have 2 vegetable garden areas at Monsaengdao. The main garden is used for food production and teaching activities, and the girls (students) have their own separate veggie garden. Over the past month we’ve been busy installing a new water pump, and laying pipes and sprinklers in the main garden and we’re hoping that we can afford to extend the irrigation system into the girls’ area in the near future. But in the mean time they are getting plenty of exercise with the watering cans!
The girls have their own vegetable plot to trial what they have been taught and essentially ‘do it their own way’. And the results have been impressive! Not only have they harvested enough organically grown, leafy greens over the past 6 weeks to feed everyone at the school, but they also had enough excess produce to sell to visitors attending a conference at Monsaengdao last weekend.
We’ve also been busy collecting some of the left over waste (stalks etc.) from the rice harvest at the surrounding farms. This waste is usually burnt after the harvest, a practice that is widespread in our region but one that we actively discourage. We use the leftover waste as mulch on our veggies and to make compost. We want to demonstrate that this organic material is too valuable to simply go up in smoke. Both the soil and the atmosphere will benefit by putting a stop to post-harvest burning.
But it’s not all work, we’ve also been in celebration mode. In late November we joined in the festivities of the annual Loi Krathong Festival on the banks of the Mae Kok (Kok River) in Chiang Rai. The festival is held on the full moon night of the 12th lunar month. Beautifully decorated krathongs (round lotus-shaped objects) are released, with a wish, to float down river. The girls made some really stunning krathongs from natural materials collected from around Monsaengdao. You can read more about the festival and see photos of the girls beautiful creations on our blog.
And just 10 days ago our organisation, ACED, celebrated its 25th year of operations. We’d like to pay tribute to our Director, Mr Thewin Akkharasilachai, for his commitment and vision in establishing the organisation in 1987. The anniversary event was held over 2 days and a highlight was the celebration of the completion of the Monsaengdao Dharma Park. Monks from Thailand, Myanmar (Burma) and Laos lead the ceremony, which saw over 500 people attend to pay respect.
And we are especially proud of our students who spent the weeks leading up the anniversary getting the grounds looking absolutely beautiful for the event. The girls also worked from before dawn and into the night during the 2 day celebration to ensure that the hundreds of visitors were well fed, entertained and happy! The photos on our website show our fantastic girls in action!
As the year draws to an end, it’s good for us to take a moment to reflect on the achievements over the past 12 months. The students and staff of Monsaengdao are grateful to each and every one of you, who have shown your support for our school in so many ways. We’re looking forward to being able to share many new activities with you in the months ahead.
I hope 2013 will bring you happiness and peace.
Unloading rice waste to be used as mulch
The new irrigation system in action
Monsaengdao organic greens
On rubbish duty at the 25th anniversary event
Kiki and the girls in environmental ed class