Happy Thai New Year from the children of DEPDC’s Half Day School in Mae Sai! In Thailand, the Buddhist New Year is celebrated every April, during the summer break from school. At the middle of March, the Half Day School completed a very successful 2011-2012 school year. We had three students graduate this year from the HDS, completing their G.9 education. Please read about the Graduation Celebration on our blog. Thanks to all of your generous assistance, the Half Day School provided vital education, vocational training, and material support for over 150 children from vulnerable communities in Thailand’s northern border areas.
Our blog documents the diverse range of learning opportunities and fun-filled activities that the children of the HDS partake in, which is made possible by generous donors like you. Please follow the links in this document to read the relevant articles and view pictures.
Recent end-of-the-school-year activities in the Half Day School include:
- Sports Day: students competed in team sports, relay races, and fun activities in this all-day event. Every athlete was awarded a medal for participation!
- Valentine’s Day: some of the activities include knitting roses made out of yarn, exchanging chocolate and flowers with other students and staff, and constructing Valentine’s Day cards!
- Children’s Day: was filled with many fun activities for the students at the HDS. Children from the surrounding community also came to join in with the fun.
- Stop Violence against Women’s Day: the students took to the streets with placards along with students from other schools to raise awareness on the issue. Some of the HDS students also performed a play called “Leung law jak kang ban,” translated as stories about next door neighbors which can be viewed here.
All HDS students are also provided with lunch every day along with an afternoon snack. Besides their academic education students at the HDS also rotate through four major vocational workshops including:
- Culinary Arts: Students get an opportunity to learn how to make different types of traditional Thai snacks, desserts and entrée dishes. HDS believes that it is important to instill a healthy idea of food and the importance of establishing healthy eating habits.
- Art and Culture: This workshop provides both an academic and hands-on component for students to get exposed and to actively engage in Thai culture and heritage for example by studying various traditional Thai and ethnic decorations and learning how to make paper lanterns, lamps and lampshades using locally made paper.
- Handicrafting: Here students express their creativity and artistic ability by learning how to make small, sellable goods such as cotton used to create mobile phone holders, crocheting dolls and other small decorative items as well as re-think creative ways to recycle leftover materials and turn them into something both useful and beautiful.
- Agriculture Studies: Students learn how to plant and grow vegetables in a designated plot of land on-site, and then maintain the area as an organic farm. From tilting the soil to planting seeds to maintaining the farm by themselves, students have the opportunity to experience first-hand the whole process of farming.
During the summer break, teachers are still busy—not with teaching, but with home visits to the house of students when needed. In this important service of Half Day School, teachers assess the students’ living situations and provide assistance to the families when needed. Half Day School provides students’ families with clothing assistance, medical care, and other material assistance to ensure that children’s living environments, in addition to their learning environments, are safe and stable.
On behalf of the Half Day School students and their families, I extend my most sincere thanks to you for making it all possible. We are looking forward to receiving new students when the new school term starts in min-May. From the special contributions of so many friends, we are demonstrating that even the children most at-risk for sex and labor trafficking can learn, can thrive and grow!
Thank you so much,
DEPDC Director of Projects