Big thanks to all Half Day School supporters!
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,
DEPDC Education Director