Send Migrant Burmese and Thai Children to School

DEPDC students
DEPDC students

GlobalGiving and donors have helped DEPDC fund many projects like a clean water source for the center and the education building that provides a free school in the day and a community-learning center in the evenings. Additionally, funds have helped provide education grants to send Burmese children to school, provided a computer classroom, is currently fundraising to send 200 at risk children to school, and offering community learning center classes including English and business training.

Hannah,  the International Volunteer Coordinator, guided me on a tour of the DEPDC education building.  First I saw Child Voice Radio – a DJ training facility where students can learn how to DJ a radio station and speak on issues.  Then we went over to the broadcasting area – complete with stage, couches, and lighting as if ready for a talk show. Here DEPDC creates YouTube videos and provides opportunities for students to create alongside as well. Among these vocational training opportunities students can learn agriculture, weaving, and even intern through a youth leadership program. This is part of the Half Day Program where students receive formal education for half the day and vocational training of their choice the other half.

During my tour, I witnessed students in class, learning everything from math to teamwork and trust.  One of the classes for the older students occurred only on Fridays and focused on peace, self-confidence, and Thai culture. DEPDC provides a completely free education as opposed to the local Thai schools that are “free” but require students to pay for uniforms and books, which many families cannot afford. DEPDC also offers the opportunity for students who start kindergarten at 12 years old (because they could not attend before for many various reason) to learn at their level, comfort, and ability.  In addition to supporting youth in the day, these facilities host evening, community courses open to all community members. 

What is the impact? A majority of DEPDC students have no documentation or identification, are migrants that face poverty and discrimination, are unprotected and targeted by traffickers, and unaware of trafficking dangers. Now over 4000 children have been helped by DEPDC and provided an educational opportunity, vocational training, and self-empowerment to make informed decisions when facing dangers of poverty and trafficking.

DEPDC students in class
DEPDC students in class



Dear Friends,

Greetings from the children of DEPDC’s Half Day School!  The 2010-2011 school year is in full swing, with nearly 140 enrolled students in kindergarten through 6th grade.  The first school term is already complete, and as usual it was packed with activities for holistic learning.  The vital education, vocational training, and material support from the Half Day School make all the difference for the marginalized, impoverished migrant children who come to study here. 

 This year, we are adding a multi-media dimension to showcase and document the diverse range of learning opportunities and fun-filled activities made possible by generous donors like you. To begin, writers at our DEPDC blog describe a typical, happening day at the Half Day School at this post, complete with a colorful photo slideshow of our students’ daily routine.

 Besides classroom education, the Half Day School also recognizes the need for vocational training so that our students get to learn marketable skill sets to make an independent living safe from exploitation. Last month, the Half Day School held a series of vocational training workshops for 40 students where they learned about a variety of skills, from the basics of electrical work to making beautiful crafts. With some help from our technologically savvy staff, we invite you to watch these short video clips, where one student proudly demonstrated his electrical masterpiece while others channeled their creativity into making marketable flower arrangement and fragrant doll decorations.

 Field trips are another important component of education at the Half Day School, as we believe that the children learn best by hands-on experiences. To give an example, in this video, our students learn about the true value behind a grain of rice by farming in a rice paddy themselves – a combination of fun, exercise and engaging learning indeed! And speaking of exercise, this blog post gives a fun account of how our students uncovered their hidden talents for self-expression when they participated in a dance class organized by two of our dedicated international volunteers. To further inspire our students to explore their artistic and athletic abilities and to help them develop self-confidence, our teachers organized the first annual Half Day School Singing and Dancing Contest! I encourage you to read more about this memorable activity day in this post. As a reward, the winners from the contest got a chance to be special performance guests on Parents’ Day to perform in front of all their parents.  Watch this video and see for yourselves how the Half Day School got talents!

 Needless to say, none of these educational opportunities would have taken place without your generosity in the past years. Your contribution is what proves that even the children most vulnerable for sex and labor trafficking should be entitled to education and a safer childhood, and that they can learn, thrive and grow to face a brighter future.

 I hope that our new approach of multi-media presentations above gives you an interesting glimpse into our students’ world at the Half Day School. As always, I welcome your feedback and suggestions on improving our students’ learning experiences. Once again, on behalf of the Half Day School students and their families, I extend my most sincere thanks to you for making it all possible.

 Thank you so much,

Alinda Suya

DEPDC Directing Team Executive


Embedded Hyperlinks:
(DEPDC blog)

(A full day at HDS)

(Vocational – electrical)

(Vocational/crafts – flowers)

(Vocational crafts – dolls)

(Working in the field)

(Dance classes)

(HDS Singing and Dancing Contest)

(Performance for Parents’ Day)


Big thanks to all Half Day School supporters!
Big thanks to all Half Day School supporters!

Dear Friends,

Happy 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. Just last week, the Half Day School finished the very successful 2009-2010 school year. 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.

Among these children are 9-year-old Lek and her 6-year-old sister, Nam (not their real names), who are students in 1st grade and kindergarten. The oldest of five children from an indigenous community, Lek and Nam would not be able to attend another school due to their family’s poverty and ethnic minority status. From your ongoing support, they receive primary school education—including uniforms, books, school supplies, lunch, and transportation—free of charge and without discrimination on the basis of citizenship status.

Recent end-of-the-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!  Agricultural Study Tour: Students spent a full day learning about agricultural products and methods at an organic farm near Chiang Rai.  Drama and Dance Performance: Parents came to the Half Day School for a special morning event with traditional Thai dance, funny skits, songs, and the play Peter Pan (in English!), all performed by Half Day School students.  Camping Trip: Students and teachers went on a three-day camping trip, complete with hiking, swimming, evening bonfires, and cooking over a fire!

During the summer break, teachers are still busy—not with teaching, but with home visits to the house of every student. In this important service of Half Day School, teachers assess the students’ living situations and provide assistance to the families when needed. After teachers visited Lek and Nam’s house, they learned that the family’s only income is their father’s job in construction. Sometimes he faces periods of unemployment, and during those times there might not be enough food to feed everyone in the family. Since learning of this need, Half Day School regularly provides Lek and Nam’s family with rice and other nonperishable foods so that they will not go hungry anymore. 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 most sincere thanks for your support. 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,

Alinda Suya DEPDC Education Director

Gathering for registration
Gathering for registration

Dear friends,

Once again, the children and staff of DEPDC want to say a really big thank you to everybody who has helped us with their generous donations.

We realize that the world is currently in an economic crisis which is affecting everybody, including us. Despite this, you have still helped us and we would like to stress that it’s your help that allows us to continue helping these children and their families.

The children we are targeting with this project are those who are unable to attend a government school for various reasons. Some of them simply cannot afford the fees or the uniform, others have lost their parents to HIV/AIDS and have nobody to guide them or take care of them, let alone fund them for school.

These children are often forced to beg for money on the street so they can eat and help feed their families. This puts them at a significant risk to be trafficked and exploited.

Our Half Day School provides free education, (both academia and life skills training), food, transportation to and from home or help with accommodation in a safe and caring environment. Children who attend the half day school are safe in our care thus the risk of them being exploited or trafficked is reduced significantly.

Most recently since the economic crisis struck, your support via Global Giving has been paramount to the continuation of our work for the children currently studying here, as well as the new children who we are currently being introduced to our program.

It is often the simplest of things that can make the children happy, such as being able to have their first school uniform, (which they wear proudly and with a huge smile on their face!) or being given new stationary whilst being able to learn new things. Both the uniforms and stationary are funded by your donations via Global Giving.

Please take a look at the new pictures uploaded on our Global Giving page, these were taken recently of the children who have benefited from your help.

We are getting closer to our goal, but we are not there yet, there are still children out there who need your help. So we ask you to please keep up your good work and be assured that your donations are truly appreciated by everybody here, especially the children you are saving.

Remember that just one Dollar or Pound buys a good meal for 2 children, imagine what more can do.

Again, from all the children and staff at DEPDC, thank you for your help and please feel free to add any comments or questions.

Happy friends at the school
Happy friends at the school

Dear friends,

Firstly, we would like to sincerely thank everybody who has donated to this project.

Every single donation has proven to be such a huge help to the children and staff at the half day school and has made us come ever closer to our target!

At this moment in time, we are only 2,304 pounds away from hitting our intended goal of providing free primary education and vocational skills training to 200 Burmese and Thai hill tribe children who could otherwise not attend school and are at risk of being trafficked.

With YOUR continued help, i am positive we can achieve this goal.

Currently, we have 142 children attending the half day school which is an increase from our previous update back in March.

The donations so far have enabled these children to have a new supply of work books, note books, educational posters and stationary. Not to mention the many activity days the children attend including the recent visit to the science fair at the Rajabhat University in Chiang Rai which the children thoroughly enjoy and learn a great deal.

Donations have ensured the school can continue teaching Maths, English, Science, Computer skills, Handicraft, Cooking, Sports, Environmental training, Gardening and many more subjects, all of which are free of charge and contribute greatly to the childrens future of a full and healthy life.

All this is sponsored by Global Giving and would not have been possible with out your help.

Again from all the children and staff here at the school, thank you very much for your continued donations and please feel free to leave comments or questions.


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Organization Information


Location: Mae Sai, Chiang Rai - Thailand
Project Leader:
Alinda Suya
Director of Mae Sai Projects
Mae Sai, Chiang Rai Thailand

Funded Project!

Thanks to 194 donors like you, a total of $32,289 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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