Self Sufficiency Store for Prostitution Prevention


DEPDC Self Sufficiency Store Update, March 2008 By DEPDC - , March 18, 2008 12:58 PM We are steadily increasing donations for the construction of the DEPDC Self Sufficiency Store – thank you for your donations and support. While we still don’t have enough funds to begin construction, our vocational students are laying the groundwork for opening the store and continuing their vocational activities.

Vocational training for youth Our vocational training program for Half Day School graduates is going quite well. DEPDC noticed that some of the Half Day School students were graduating from sixth grade and then working in the market. Several were facing pressure from their families to earn money. This group of 14 girls currently enrolled in the vocational program are at high risk for entering the sex trade. The girls, now in their early teenage years, are facing pressure to make “easy money” for the family and many families see sex work as a viable option. Other exploitative forms of labor are also real risks for this target group. The children did not, however, qualify for the DEP program. To keep these children in school, DEPDC introduced a vocational training program and integrated the government’s non-formal education curriculum. DEPDC saw this as a cost effective way to provide a more promising future for this group of teenagers working in the market. The price of non-formal education for one child is only about 1000 baht ($29.50) per term, including books and uniforms. DEPDC also signed contracts with the students and parents to commit to this program for three years, through ninth grade.

Several of the vocational students have already expressed a need to work in Bangkok. Education is DEPDC’s strategy to keep them safe. DEPDC has met with the parents two or three times, depending on the case, because some of the children want to leave the program. DEPDC has stressed the importance of education with parents, as well as the importance of parental support because the children feel pressure to earn money for fashionable items. About 30% of the vocational students already plan to use their skills as a career. Vocational groups for adults In 2008, DEPDC will launch five new community vocational groups to provide sustainable economic opportunities for members of the Mae Sai community. In September 2006, DEPDC’s Community Learning Center held a training session for community members on how to make organic dish soap. A year later, 10 community women have turned this skill into a flourishing business. After taking the course, the women decided to take a risk with their own business, so they set up shop at the village elder’s house. Each woman contributed 100 baht of her own seed money, and they bought the equipment and supplies they needed. They then gave out free supplies to the whole village and asked for feedback on their product’s foam, cleaning ability, and scent. Village members used the soap and offered their input. The women then took the suggestions and went back to work, carefully re-calibrating their formula. When they had it just right, they started selling their product to the community. They carefully priced the soap lower than that of the local superstore and surrounding markets to be competitive. They decided to sell the product out of the village leader’s house and bring it to any local village events both as a gift to the host and for sale. These strategies proved very strong marketing tools, and the women now have a full monopoly on their village soap market. Village members are actually looked down upon for buying any other type of soap. And why would they? Organic dish soap that comes in strawberry and lemon scent, made right next door! This project has proved so successful that the women are trying to invest money in auto-mixers so they can expand and supply surrounding villages. Another village has even caught onto the idea and is trying to copy their business using shampoo.

This year, the dish soap group will train another village group to make the same product. DEPDC also plans to launch vocational groups making chili dips (a very popular snack), bamboo household items, sewing, and organic agriculture. The Self Sufficiency Store will provide a central marketplace for their goods and offer practice in selling, marketing, and business skills. ----- These activities show the progress of DEPDC’s vocational activities for children and adults who will benefit from the Self Sufficiency Store. Your support to make the Store a reality is extremely appreciated.


Happy holidays from DEPDC! Our newest project on GlobalGiving, the Half Day School for Migrant Children in Thailand, is off to a good start this term. All of the children (204) returned from the mid-semester break to begin classes in November. Thankfully, none of the children has been affected by the political turmoil in Burma, even those that commute to school from villages in Burma daily (DEPDC picks them up in the bus once they reach the Thai side). The school break can be a risky time for students, as they sometimes travel and do not have the stability of school.

Project activities are going according to plan. The children continue with their academic studies in the mornings and various vocational shops in the afternoons, including cooking, agriculture, music, traditional dance, and arts. The staff are helping the children learn about taking care of their environment, putting garbage into rubbish bins, and keeping the place clean, which is no small task for over 200 primary school students.

The weather is beginning to get colder, and this can be difficult for many poor families, especially those living in bamboo houses and without enough blankets, shoes, and clothes for the family. Some of the teachers have been visiting families on both sides of the border to see if DEPDC can help them prepare for the winter months.

The last month has also brought some special activities and holidays particular to Thailand. In late November, the Half Day School children celebrated Loi Kratong, an ancient holiday where Thais create small rafts from a section of banana tree trunk and decorate them with natural materials: flowers, leaves, incense, and candles. The rafts are released on a river or other body of water, symbolizing letting go past mistakes, grudges, and defilements. People will also cut their fingernails and hair and add them to the raft as a symbol of letting go of the bad parts of oneself. Many Thai believe that floating a krathong will create good luck, and they do it to honor and thank the Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha (Wikipedia).

The children also celebrated the 80th birthday of His Majesty the King of Thailand, which is also the national Father’s Day. The children participated in a contest to draw portraits of the King, which have been posted around the school.

During this season, consider giving to the Half Day School project on GlobalGiving as a gift — to a friend, a colleague, or anyone you would like to honor in this unique way. You can choose from several different designs and send a beautiful card (including project details) via email or post. When you find a project you'd like to give to, simply choose "Make this a Gift" when you're completing your donation! With your support, we can continue our work and you can spread the word about what we do and give some good for the holidays. Thank you again for your support. Every dollar help and goes a long way. Best wishes for a Happy New Year.

With gratitude,

The children and staff of the Half Day School

The DEPDC Self Sufficiency Store still does not have enough funds to begin construction. But the students continue their vocational training and making products that will be sold once the store is finished. The following are updates of different DEPDC programs closely related to the Self Sufficiency Store.

1. Vocational training A special full-time vocational training program began earlier this year for graduates of the DEPDC Half Day School who finished sixth grade. The students could not afford to study at the high school and were facing significant pressure from their families to find work to contribute to the family income. The students also saw their friends and peers working in the market and making spending money. To encourage these vulnerable teenagers to continue their studies and learn a trade, DEPDC opened the full-time vocational training program. The students agreed to study for two years; their parents also agreed to allow them to study instead of forcing them to find work. The students in the vocational training program study six days per week. They learn skills in sewing, hair cutting and various marketable handicrafts. In addition, the students are enrolled in the Thai government’s non-formal educational program to learn academic subjects along with vocational skills. Most recently, the students learned how cut patterns and sew pajama shirts and pants for children. These pajamas were given as gifts to the children at DEPDC’s rehabilitation safe shelter to prepare for the cold weather. Over 50 items made by DEPDC vocational training students were on display at a local community fair, including handbags, hand-crocheted shawls, clothing, and accessories.

2. Community Learning Center DEPDC’s Community Learning Center is a free educational opportunity for adults in the Mae Sai area. Most CLC students are migrant workers from rural areas and did not have the chance to attend school as a child. The CLC offers various vocational activities throughout the year for adults to learn from a range of simple to complicated skills that will contribute to the family income.

3. Training on sewing and weaving Sewing students have learned techniques for making Thai-style skirts and a variety of shirt styles, including short-sleeved collared shirts, T-shirts, Hawaiian-style shirts, Chinese-style shirts, and V-necked shirts. Class content focused on: - Creating designs for cutting and sewing round necked shirts, drawing on the necks - Drawing models and sewing necked shirts, tight and loose waist shirts - Principles in designing and sewing

Weaving students focused on improving their basic skills: - Threading the loom - Weaving striped cloth - "Snake" stripes - Mixing colors for cloth weaves - Weaving scarves - Weaving napkins - Weaving placemats

The first two groups of students have finished the sewing course and are currently looking to start their own business operations in the Mae Sai area. DEPDC would like to use the Self Sufficiency Store to assist them with start-up costs.

4. Field trips to observe occupation activities Sixty students visited and observed various local vocational co-ops, asking questions about how to set up a strong vocational enterprise, concepts of setting up occupation groups, labor distribution in each group, and the policies of and support from the Thai government. Students visited an agriculture co-op, a group making synthetic-fiber blankets, a group making decorative home products from local grasses, and a group that manufactures bedding.

These activities show the progress of DEPDC’s vocational activities for children and adults who will benefit from the Self Sufficiency Store. Your support to make the Store a reality is extremely appreciated.

Smiling Children
Smiling Children

Our organization participated in the GlobalGiving FilmFest and we would like to share with you the video produced by filmmaker Nikole Lim (check out link below). This video tells our story and that of the people who are impacted by our work.

Take a look at some attached photos and our new photos in the project photo gallery.

Thank you for your support and we hope you share our report with your friends and family!

Studying Hard
Studying Hard


Dear friends and supporters of the Development and Education Programme for Daughters and Communities (DEPDC),

Greetings from Mae Sai, Thailand! We are pleased to announce a recent update to DEPDC homepage, announcing Alinda Wettasin as the new director of DEPDC.

The latest addition of our newsletter is also available by clicking the link below.

Thank you for your continuing support and interest in the work of DEPDC to combat human trafficking in Thailand and the Mekong Sub-region.

Please direct any questions or comments to

With thanks and warm regards,

The staff of DEPDC



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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

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