Bangkok Field Trip - Students Pose
Dear Kind Supporters of the INEB Institute,
We hope you all have been doing well, and are in good spirits!
We share with you an update from the field. The entire period covered by this report has been one of intensive work by all members of our work team. This report covers key aspects of the work we undertook.
During the period just before the three months covered in this report, Director of the SENS program, Ted, traveled extensively for teaching, workshop leading, attending INEB-related meetings, and raising interest in the School of English for Engaged Social Service (SENS) program for 2019. This meant that we entered the period of this report with a rather large number of applications for the SENS 2019 course. These came from India, Indonesia, Myanmar, and elsewhere. The challenge was to work to select the very best of the applications, then to secure funding for as many of them as possible.
Our target for SENS 2019 was to select 18 students to join the course and to provide funding sufficient to support all those who needed support. In the end we were able to meet our goals. This involved -
a. Interviewing a larger number of students than usual, and selecting those students who would stand to benefit the most from the course as well as contribute the most to the learning community. Ted was assisted in this process by Assistant Directors Anuja of India and Soeui of Hong Kong. In the end we selected approximately 21 students.
b. Finding funding for the students selected involved very intensive work on the part of all members of the work team for the full month ending on our opening date (January 6,, 2019). This work involved the Director, Assistant Directors, Logistics Coordinator, and the Fundraising Coordinator.
c. Concretely, the work involved producing a document with bios and photos of each of the students who still needed funding. This document we then sent out in a number of ways, including through GlobalGiving. Following this, members of the work team gave very generously of their time to speak with friends and family members and to encourage them to donate. Motivations were high as our brief profiles of each of the students made clear the quality of the students we would be able to bring in if we had adequate funding. The GlobalGiving platform proved extraordinarily helpful during this process in two ways. First, family members and friends spread out across the globe could easily donate because of the simplicity and accessibility of the GlobalGiving platform. Second, our GlobalGiving page URL was displayed prominently as one of two or three important avenues through which people could donate. It thus gave options to those wishing to donate.
Once funding was guaranteed for each student, then work began on submitting visa applications and securing the necessary visas. Our Logistics Coordinator Topsi worked tirelessly for many weeks to make this happen, until all 18 students had arrived at our campus.
The Opening Ceremony of our SENS 2019 program was held on January 6, 2019. Students were welcomed, and talks were given by INEB General Secretary Somboon, Dr. Pichai, Dr. Greg, and Academic Director of the SENS program Ted. Students were also given the opportunity to express their aims, motivations and expectations from the SENS course.
The first class was held on January 7, 2019. There was steady work on English, and on creating a supportive and appreciative environment, in which students learnt not only with greater joy, but also more quickly and more deeply.
Our students embarked on their first field trip to Bangkok from February 9 - 12, 2019. The trip included a visit with Ajahn Sulak, Founder of INEB, paying respects to Lodi Gyari, a strong supporter of INEB programs (who recently passed away), a talk by Phakchok Rinpoche as the annual lecture of the Spirit in Education Movement (SEM), interviews with Ven. Dhammananda at her temple in Nakhon Pathom, and interviews with local rights activist Kon-uma of Bo Nok in Prachuap Khiri Khan. Each of these visits provided the course group not only the chance to meet outstanding leaders but to learn from their experiences and perspectives on working in the specific social contexts of the Thai sangha and Thai models of development.
The second field trip was held from March 2 – 4, 2019, to visit conservationist monk Phra Paisal at Wat Pa Mahawan in Chaiyaphum. Students learnt about the work of monks to conserve forests as well as to conserve the higher values of inner freedom and inner peace in a context of rampant materialism and consumerism. Students and the course group also had a chance to experience the forest first hand. Each such field trip provides a chance to see many styles of leadership and to understand the components of leading with integrity.
We have another one month left until our SENS 2019 program completes its 4th cycle. The program till now has been throughly fulfilling for the students, who have gained valuable learning exchanges with renowned activists and Buddhist monks during the field trip visits, and through their own interactions with one another in the classroom environment at Wongsanit Ashram.
That’s all we have to report to you for now. Stay tuned for some very exciting updates in our next report, as we will share with you about all the great things that happened in the last month of our SENS 2019 program.
Wishing you all a great year ahead!
The INEB Institute Work Team
SENS 2019 Program Opening Ceremony
Students Discuss During a Classroom Session
Bangkok Field trip - Meeting Ajahn Sulak
SEM Annual Lecture with Phakchok Rinpoche
Students Visit Ven. Dhammananda's Monastery
During a Field Trip
Students Listen on to Phra Paisal
Alms Round With Monks During a Field Trip
Students at a Forest Temple - Chaiyaphum, Thailand
Students Meditate with Monks