Help To Provide Lunch For Half Day School Students

by DEPDC
Help To Provide Lunch For Half Day School Students
Help To Provide Lunch For Half Day School Students
Help To Provide Lunch For Half Day School Students
Help To Provide Lunch For Half Day School Students
Help To Provide Lunch For Half Day School Students
Help To Provide Lunch For Half Day School Students
Students preparing lunch for HDS
Students preparing lunch for HDS

Another three month have passed by and there are some interesting news about our Half Day School's (HDS) Lunch Program. DEPDC is going to grow its own rice at the school's agricultural site!

This year DEPDC's HDS will grow its own rice for the first time to support the school's Lunch Program. For that purpose we relocated the vegetable fields to a formerly unused plot of land and converted them into three rice fields.

After the ground was broken and the fields were brought into shape, we started to pump water onto the fields until they were completely flooded and ready to make the ground absolutely level. As it is the first time we use this fields to grow rice, field preparation took a long time and we were really happy when we could finally sow the rice on a small part of the fields.

The rice saplings had to grow for one month until we could finally replant them into the main fields. As task that is a lot of work, but could be done within very short time because of the help of all students, volunteers, and staff from DEPDC's Mae Sai site.

We now hope that we will be able to harvest rice for our Lunch Program in about three month and will be able to cover huge parts of the program's rice consumption with our own organic rice.

One side effect of the new rice fields is that DEPDC is planning to improve its field irrigation system. That will also benefit the school's vegetable fields as the improved availability of water will make us more flexible to grow according to our needs and it will also improve the food security for our Lunch Program.

When I asked a group of students while cooking, what they think about the Lunch Program; I got a whole list of food they like and another list of food they don't like, but asked what they like best, the common answer was Khao Pad Sai Kai (fried rice with eggs). Asked what they would like to change in the Lunch Program they said: 'We would like to change the menu and have more Khao Pad Sai Kai and we would like to have more sweets and snacks to the meals'. Wishes like these are not easy to handle, because we also need to take care about a balanced nutrition for our students, but we will try to follow our students wishes to a reasonable extend.

Finally all students, staff, and volunteers from DEPDC would like to thank all former, current, and future donors, whose kind donations made DEPDC's work possible and allowed us to provide the students at HDS with at least one nutritious meal per day.

Preparing the fields for replanting
Preparing the fields for replanting
Replanting the rice saplings
Replanting the rice saplings
Replanting the rice saplings
Replanting the rice saplings
The new rice fields under bright sunshine
The new rice fields under bright sunshine

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Lunch at the assembly hall during renovations.
Lunch at the assembly hall during renovations.

After a lovely summer break, the students returned to the Half Day School (HDS) one month ago and along with the students, the lunch program has returned, to feed the hungry stomachs of the children who have been studying hard!

We are incredibly thankful for the work of the International Student Volunteers (ISV) who provided some new cooking / eating equipment and spent two weeks in May working hard helping with cooking as well as doing some clean up and renovation work in the kitchen and dining area.

The water well that was put in place in March has been of great use during the dry season, and is will be incredibly helpful in the future as it ensures that DEPDC is now entirely self-sustainable in terms of water production. This will become increasingly more useful during the driest months of the coming years, ensuring that the Lunch Program’s fields have constant access to water, allowing for larger agricultural production.

Before the students went on their summer holidays, work began on refurbishing the water system for the kitchen, during the summer this work was completed and there is now a working water system in place in the kitchen.

All of these changes make a huge difference to the children here. Eating a good meal at lunchtime ensures that they are better able to concentrate and we can see bigger smiles and more enthusiasm to learn after a good lunch.

We at DEPDC and all of our students are incredible thankful for the generosity and continued support of all of our donors, and thank you for enabling us to provide healthy lunches for all of our children.

*Please note that funds given to DEPDC via this GlobalGiving project are exclusively used for the daily purchase of fresh, local ingredients to make healthy vegetarian lunches for our students. The three described projects above are funded from other sources.



New sinks at HDS's kitchen.
New sinks at HDS's kitchen.

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Lunch at DEPDC's refectory
Lunch at DEPDC's refectory

Another term has passed by and HDS's students left into their holidays on 13 March. That also means that during the time of the holidays the Lunch Program gets a break as well. It will resume on 11 May when the new term at HDS starts and again provide a healthy lunch for all our students.

Please note that funds given to DEPDC via this GlobalGiving project are exclusively used for the daily purchase of fresh, local ingredients to make healthy vegetarian lunches for our students. The two described projects below are funded from other sources.

The time of the holidays will be used to finish a new water well that DEPDC has started to build in early March and to start planning a refurbishment of the Lunch Program's kitchen and refectory.

DEPDC started to build a new water well on its compound starting in early March to secure the water supply during the dry season. The old water well on the compound usually fell dry during late dry season and DEPDC was dependent on water supply from the public water system. When the water well this year fell dry as early as February, it was time to take action.

The groundwater under DEPDC's compound lies as deep as 10m. Within three days construction workers dug the new well by hand and reached the water level at a depth of 7m. After a sufficient depth was reached a concrete ring casing was installed.

During the next month the new well will be equipped with a pump and be connected with the water systems of our school building, our kitchen and refectory building, and the Lunch Program's fields.

The year around water supply will enable DEPDC to supplement the Lunch Program with homegrown organic vegetables during all seasons of the year and help us to provide a healthy lunch to our students.

The second project that is planned for this summer, is a refurbishment of DEPDC's kitchen and refectory. Nearly twenty years after being build, the building requires major restoration. It is planned to repaint the building, to fix the water system permanently, to overhaul the electric system, and to replace the kitchen equipment.

This is necessary to maintain safety and hygiene for our students and to keep the quality of the Lunch Program at its current level.

We hope that our students will have a happy holiday and we will resume to provide them with a healthy lunch every day again as soon as the new term starts.

Finally, DEPDC and its students would like to thank everybody for their generous donations that helped us so much to provide healthy food to our students.

Digging the new water well
Digging the new water well
Pumping the first water!
Pumping the first water!

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Preparing the ground for sowing!
Preparing the ground for sowing!

The midyear break passed by and school restarted in November. The Half Day School's (HDS) Lunch Program (LP) also restarted to provide a healthy and nutritious meal for all of the students who may not be able to receive such meals at home.

Many students are not able to have a proper breakfast in the morning, and some come to school without having eaten breakfast at all. A Student complaining that he or she is hungry in the late morning is common, and they are really looking forward for their first meal of the day. Lunch is served at two different times. It is served at 11:30 for the younger students and at noon for the older students.

The LP costs approximately 10$ per student per month to pay for lunch throughout the school month. Additionally, the LP provides the students with fresh fruits and snacks during the afternoon.

HDS has its own school garden to grow vegetables and fruits on the school compound to cut the costs for vegetables and fruits. All farming done in the school's garden is following organic farming principles to provide high quality vegetables. The fields are mainly maintained by the teachers of HDS, but are also used to give the children the chance to have a small patch of land for themselves where they can grow whatever they like. Teacher Pawina teaches the students how to grow vegetables. She instructs them how to sow, manure, control pests, and how to harvest their vegetables.

At the moment, teachers and students of HDS are growing banana, papaya, corn, water spinach, garlic, yardlong beans, kale, cucumber, climbing wattle, peas, chili peppers, gac fruits, and tomatoes.

Knowledge about growing vegetables and fruits is a valuable skill for the children. They can use their knowledge to supplement the diet of their family by growing crops in their own gardens and pass their agricultural knowledge forward to relatives and friends. The usage of organic farming principles reduces cost by replacing chemical pesticides and fertilizers by natural ones.

We would like to thank everybody for their help and generosity given, thus allowing the Lunch Program to provide all of our students with at least one proper meal a day. The money donated insures the permanent provision of a nutritious meal to our students and enables them to learn new skills for their future.

Watering the garden!
Watering the garden!
Harvesting Pak Gaad!
Harvesting Pak Gaad!

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Preparing the vegetables for cooking
Preparing the vegetables for cooking

The first half of the Half Day School year is set to end in the second week of October after term exams are completed. The children have a holiday for the rest of the month, and then school resumes again in November. When the second term begins, the Half Day School (HDS) Lunch Program will also resume, and students will again be provided with healthy daily meals. Oftentimes, our Half Day School students do not eat three nutritious meals a day and suffer from malnutrition, which adversely affects their ability to learn.

The problem of malnutrition caused by poverty and lack of awareness about nutrition is especially prevalent in this region. We at DEPDC thus continue our efforts in order to help combat and wipe out malnutrition in the community. The HDS Lunch Programprovides the students every day with a lunch that includes all of the nutrients that a child needs to grow and develop.

Every day of the school week, the Half Day School teachers take turns to prepare lunch for the children, with an alternating group of students present to help and learn. Here is a look at a typical day:

    On Tuesday, 9th of September, our teacher Ming, a Thai youth volunteer Mai Phai, and three Half Day School  students shared in preparation of lunch for the all HDS students that day.

    In the early morning, the ingredients for Phad Phak Ruam (fried mixed vegetables) were bought fresh at the local market in Mae Sai. After morning classes began, the small group of teachers and students began to prepare the lunch.

    The ingredients of Phad Phak Ruam included cornlettes, bell peppers, cauliflower, napa cabbage, carrots, mu-err mushrooms, tofu, chilies, garlic, vegetable bouillon, sugar, thin soy sauce, mushroom soy sauce, and salt.

    The preparation of all the vegetables took a long time, because each vegetable needed to be cleaned and chopped into small pieces. After all ingredients were prepared, the vegetables were fried in a huge pan and seasoned to taste.

The benefits of our Lunch Program reach many different levels. Every day, a teacher organizes the lunch preparation. The children learn how to make many different dishes, and they learn about traditional foods from different ethnic groups. Finally, the children can eat a healthy meal, giving them the energy they need to succeed in school!

Huaifong, a recent graduate of the Half Day School and current youth volunteer at DEPDC, commented on the lunch program: “The lunch program is very important for some children from very poor families. They have a chance to have one proper meal a day, and if there is food left after lunch, they are allowed to take it home.” She thinks that: “Cooking foods under supervision of a teacher is a good opportunity to learn about the different kinds of foods and their preparation. Learning to cook healthy food is a valuable skill for future life.”

Ready to cook!
Ready to cook!
Phad Phak Ruam ready to eat!
Phad Phak Ruam ready to eat!

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Organization Information

DEPDC

Location: Mae Sai, Chiang Rai - Thailand
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @DEPDCGMS
Project Leader:
Alinda Suya
Director of Mae Sai Projects
Mae Sai, Chiang Rai Thailand
$11,752 raised of $15,000 goal
 
227 donations
$3,248 to go
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