At last, the end of 2022 saw some normality resume to education institutions around the world, allowing our community programme to run classes consistently, increasing impact through our local schools and providing our students with some stability and structure to develop their language skills and confidence without interruption.
The delivery of our English education and health awareness classes in our local community has continued to run consistently and with huge improvements in students' English level and confidence. The benefit of a prolonged period of time with uninterrupted class schedules, (e.g. the end of the COVID-19 pandemic) has really begun to show. Classes and year groups across the board have shown high marks in end of semester exams and dramatic differences in confidence levels since the start of semester.
In our local community, conversational English classes have continued to be a huge success as participants attend classes regularly and new students join every week, as feedback from our classes spreads by word of mouth in the community. One member of our adult class programme has recently opened up her own business in the local community, owing to the confidence gained from her English classes and her new ability to communicate clearly with passing tourists during the busy high season. This is a great new opportunity for this student who is very grateful to our teachers for her greatly improved level of English.
In the last months of the year we piloted a new style of adult English education, upon request of a local business wanting to improve their employees' English level. This 10 week block with 20 hours of teaching has been a huge success showing positive feedback all round from students, volunteers and the employer. As requested by the business owner, we have started the next 10 week course to build on the progress made in the initial classes.
At the end of the year we celebrated with one of our local schools through a special alumni/reunion event. Past students from the school joined together with teachers new and old to share stories and catch up on old memories. It was a pleasure to hear that so many of our past students have gone on to continue their education further or have successfully gained employment in stable jobs in the tourism industry and now have access to a better quality of life.
During this quarter we have been able to support our wider community with over 400 health checks completed alongside health, hygiene and wellbeing workshops at three different schools. We have covered topics that include dental hygiene, nutrition and diet, wellbeing, hand washing and exercise.
Challenges and Solutions for 2023
With the continued support of our partners and donors there are several challenges we would like to address as we move into the start of 2023.
To improve our impact in 2023 our community programme would greatly benefit from the addition of access to better resources and equipment for both our English classes and health awareness workshops. This would include more scales, health monitoring equipment and classroom resources (crafts, pens, whiteboards, flash cards and lamination).
This year we would also like to launch an IT literacy programme, to improve employment opportunities and access to further education. Additional laptops and workshops would provide our local community with equal access to these opportunities.
Finally we would like to increase the number of field trips we can run to all of our educational projects, broadening the horizons of all our students.
We are grateful for your ongoing support to continue our work in our local community in working towards SDG Goals 3 and 4 at this critical time. This year has seen some huge milestones accomplished within our long term project plan, something we hope to expand on in the coming year.
We respectfully ask for your continued support towards the Quality Education and Public Health in Thailand projects.
September 2022 at the United Nations General Assembly, UN Secretary-General António Guterres declares: “Let’s move forward together, so that everyone can learn, thrive and dream throughout their lives. Let’s make sure today’s learners and future generations can access the education they need, to create a more sustainable, inclusive, just and peaceful world for all”
As the world starts to make cautious steps towards recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, good health and wellbeing (SDG 3) and quality education (SDG 4) are reaffirmed as being of the upmost importance as we work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
As COVID-19 restrictions have reduced in Thailand, this has resulted in less school closures allowing us to consistently deliver English education and health awareness classes as part of the school timetable in our two village schools.
With the easing of restrictions, community events and celebrations have started once again and we were proud to be a part of the CDC end of year graduation ceremony to celebrate our students’ achievements. One graduating student who excelled in English gained 98% in his final English exam. The school thanked GVI for their ongoing support and strong involvement with the school.
At CDC our focus has been on conversation skills and confidence in speaking. In the end of year English exam we found that the exam marks in all our classes consistently increased since the students last exam 3 months earlier, reflecting the achievements of students from regular, undisrupted English classes. At Ban Nam Khem school we have focused on delivering the school English curriculum through interesting and interactive lessons. The Deputy Headteacher of the school is very pleased with the progress of the students across all year groups. Her attendance allows her to take notes and ideas from GVI lessons which will further support English teaching in the school.
Our healthcare program has delivered healthy living workshops at CDC and after school groups including healthy and unhealthy foods, food groups and exercise. Students have taken part in practical sessions and have created work that they can take home and share with their families to further communicate important messages of good health and wellbeing. They have also collected height and weight data from Kindergarten students as well as researching assessment techniques to measure fine and gross motor skills development of children. Once further refined, these can be used to support developmental checks for children in early years education across our partner schools.
In our local community, conversational English classes have continued to grow as participants are starting to feel more comfortable in group environments again. We have regular students who attend twice a week and through word of mouth about the quality of the lessons, we have increased the number of students. Regular attendance demonstrates great commitment and enjoyment of classes from our students and they have reported back the practical application of their new English skills and confidence. English language skills are particularly important in our local area due to a high level of tourism. Some of our students have been able to use their skills as part of their occupations in the tourism industry as hotel employees, guesthouse owners and massage therapists. Other students are currently at college and their development of English skills will give them a great advantage when seeking employment opportunities in the future.
During this quarter we have been able to support our wider community with 4 weeks of beginner English classes and basic hygiene practical sessions (handwashing and teeth brushing) at Montessori school, Khao Lak and a whole day camp at Bannokna School, Koh Kho Khao which focused on English, Healthcare and Conservation.
We are grateful for your ongoing support to continue our work in our local community in working towards SDG Goals 3 and 4 at this critical time of COVID-19 recovery.
We respectfully ask for your continued support towards the Quality Education and Public Health in Thailand projects.
As we strive to make a difference throughout these challenging times. We are ever grateful to our donors for their support and understanding.
The pandemic challenged our education projects. Schools were closed for extended periods. Teachers, parents and students worked tirelessly to continue to provide quality education throughout.
Local schools implemented systems for the collection of assignments and for lessons to be taught remotely. Teachers remained accessible for support and advice.
Home visits supported families both in learning and welfare. Reopenings were staged to provide classes at different times. Yet despite these best efforts, for some, a return to education has not been possible.
Following the extended Covid-19 closures, many schools made the decision to shorten their holiday periods to enable students to continue their education and make up for some lost time.
These disruptions over the past couple of years mean gettin back to the routine of learining is crucial. Our project has supported these efforts, integrating a new curriculum including; basic first aid training, sanitation, healthy eating and nutrition.
Teeth brushing and oral care has been especially effective and these practical classes and workshops have enabled students and teachers to share their learnings throughout the community, teaching both family and friends the importance of oral hygiene.
Following the success of these projects, we are seeking further educational resources to support these classes. Resources we seek include; toothbrushes, toothpaste, sanitary products and basic first aid items, to allow our students and community to continue their learning and skills at home.
Recently we were very proud to be invited to our partner's school opening ceremony, where we had spent time developing activities and teaching students during their vacation time. The ceremony was a momentous occasion for the school and we were delighted to have supported their learning programme knowing that the skills the students have developed will improve their future opportunities.
We have also taken many of our programme activities out to the community to encourage engagement not only in the classroom.
Our adult education students have relished the opportunity to visit the local markets with our project leaders to facilitate shared learning. Site visits have enabled real-life learning opportunities to practice English language skills.
We thank you for your ongoing support and we are looking forward to keeping you up to date with our our health education projects.
We want to take this opportunity to thank all of our donors for their continued support throughout this difficult time. The world over has been affected by the pandemic, young and old have suffered. Thailand was very quick to react at the start of COVID-19, travel was restricted and lockdowns put into play.
For education, the pandemic has caused severe disruption. Schools were closed with immediate effect, initially for a minimum of 5 months. The local schools set up a system where the parents collected the week's work from the school on a Sunday and returned the completed work the following Friday. The teachers were available for help and support throughout this time. The school also provided home visits to see how the children were and check on the families welfare. However you can imagine the impact this has had on the children's education. The reopening was staged with different classes at different times, and some of our students have still not been able to return to their education.
One of the main issues that local schools face is children leaving education below the age of 16. When the school breaks for the holiday in April, they always see much fewer students return to the next school year. The extended time at home was a real concern, though engagement and ensuring that the families and students had good support we were pleased to see a good number of children returning to school. However many are still to return. This may be due to people moving due to parent’s work, that the children are needed at home, or living outside of the village with them unable to make the journey to school. We are hence in discussions with the schools to see how we can help them meet the transportation needs of the children who live outside of the village to allow them continued access to a quality education..
We were really honoured to be invited to our partners end of year celebrations, where the students showcased their English skills along with the work experience projects they completed. With the skill they have developed they are empowered to improve their opportunities and living standards and it was great to see the fruition of all of their hard work under such challenging conditions.
One of the many reasons why Thailand had such low numbers of COVID-19 was due to the local community healthcare volunteers. The volunteers are made up of local members of the community, each responsible for around 10 houses. It is their responsibility to monitor the health of specific families and visitors. Ban Nam Khem had a checkpoint at the entrance of the village, counting everyone entering the village. Everyone was checked for wearing a mask and their temperature checked. Thanks to previous donations we were able to loan the healthcare units equipment. A local Burmese foundation installed handwashing facilities around the village. We helped educate the community on the risks and protection needed for the pandemic. Vaccinations have now started, community healthcare volunteers have had their first dose, and are awaiting their second. We are however still unsure of how the vaccinations will be distributed, especially as many of our community are Burmese and Moken so are without Thai Identification.
Without your support we would not be able to support the community through this difficult time, and your ongoing support is essential to allow us to continue to support the community. With your support we will continue to support the community and help them achieve quality education and public healthcare in Ban Nam Khem, Phang Nga.
This year has been extremely challenging for everyone, however its the children that have suffered the most with schools remaining closed in Thailand for nearly 18 months. They opened briefly at the start of the year, but had to be closed not long after due to the pandemic. In 2020 Thailand's COVID-19 were low. In 2021 they increased, gradually at first then after the Thai New Year in April the numbers started to grow steadily and have increased daily since. The roll out of vaccinations was a slow starter, daily number of vaccinations have increased and now record numbers of people are vaccinated daily. Thailand has an amazing network of community health volunteers, who are responsible for on average up to 10 households. They monitor the health and wellbeing of the community as well as who is there and where they have come from. So any visitors are known, with interprovincial travel restricted this has been key to ensuring the numbers have remained relatively low. Quick action taken by the authorities has also kept numbers low, anyone testing positive or known to have been in contact with a positive case have been quarantined for 14 days, restricting the transmission of the virus.
This quick response and restricted travel has been great to keep numbers low, however this and the lack of tourists has led to an economic decline. Many families are struggling to feed themselves and are turning to others for support. This is leading to additional health problems as well as an increase of mental health issues. Being based in village hit hardest by the 2004 Tsunami, the community has had so much to deal with already. This additional stress and strain is not good for their overall health and wellbeing. Currently we are unable to work with the community due to local restrictions, but we are planning and preparing workshops ready for when we can. We have also been supporting the community with equipment and tools to help fight the pandemic, such as thermometers, masks, PPE and man power at the local checkpoints.
Whilst we are unable to teach at the schools, we are able to teach online, we have a number of students, school age and adults who we have been teaching via Zoom. This is a great way to be able to keep in touch and engage with the community. It has also increased their mental wellbeing.With your donations we are able to support the community by supplying them with more ipads and computers so more of them are able to join the classes. We have also been working with the teachers to see what help and resources we are able to supply. We dont want our children to suffer any more than they have to during or post pandemic. We want them to have the same opportunities as others we want them to thrive even though the situation is hard. The community is resilient and will once the pandemic is over will thrive once more.
Thank you for your generous support which has allowed us to continue our work with the community.
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